Ace Tennis Previews: US Open Tips

Ace is providing US Open Tips throughout the tournament with the final Grand Slam of the year now upon us.

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Medvedev v Nadal

Two of the form players of the North American hardcourt swing now come face to face in the final of the US Open, less than a month after their previous meeting.

Daniil Medvedev is the first playing of the NextGen group to reach a slam final and hasn’t lost since August 11 (to Rafael Nadal). His only two losses since Wimbledon have come against Nick Kyrgios and Nadal, both in finals, with the Russian stamping his authority on the ATP tour with his unique style.

He has the big serve and the ability to cover the court and defend quite well. He has beaten name after name over the last couple of weeks, so how will he stack up today against Rafael Nadal?

The question mark over Nadal on hardcourt over the last couple of years has always been his fitness and ability to manage a week or a fortnight on hardcourt with his body holding up from start to finish. In the past, more of his struggles have come when longer matches have come back-to-back, as we saw last year with his matches against Thiem and Del Potro.

This year at Flushing Meadows, Nadal has only dropped the one set to Marin Cilic, and backed that up by only dropping 3 games across the next two sets. He has looked relentless in his quest for another slam, and it is incredibly hard to fault him on his run this year.

I could sit here and write about each player and their run to the final, however I don’t think that needs to be the focus today. The focus today is purely how the styles of Nadal and Medvedev match up, and what we may come to expect today in the final.

The key to this run from Medvedev has been the patience of the Russian. If you go into a match-up with Medvedev, there are a few things you need to work in your favour:
– The Russian needs to have a poor service match, missing a lot of first serves.
– You need to play lights-out tennis to hit through the Russian.
– You need to be more patient than Medvedev.

You don’t need to hold the advantage in each of those areas. If you have the edge in point 2 or 3, then the first point is just a bonus. Kyrgios got over the top in his recent meeting with Medvedev thanks to playing lights-out tennis, and Nadal got the edge over the Russian thanks to a very patient performance in Montreal.

Medvedev started all guns blazing in Montreal, earning a break point in the first game of the match. It was all one-way traffic from there, with Nadal losing only 6 more points on serve for the match. Medvedev clearly ran out of gas in the second set, with his busy schedule getting the better on him in the end, however it did show up the difficulties that Medvedev will face given the patience of Nadal.

For Medvedev to stay close in this match he will need to serve incredibly well. I am fascinated to see what the Russian does on serve, as the best way to tackle Nadal returning serve from a different postcode is the ability to use angle incredibly well, be it standing out a touch wider on the Deuce side or utilizing the slice serve a touch more. Regardless, the advantage that Medvedev has owned against most opponents, the edge in patience, disappears today.

Medvedev has been able to overcome the time he has spent on court over the last week by playing some incredibly clutch tennis in first set tiebreaks in 3 of his last 4 matches. He has only found himself down on the scoreboard once in the tournament, and that was against Koepfer, who probably didn’t have the experience to capitalize on the situation.

The -6.5-game handicap is widely available, and I like its chances to cover in a 3 or 4 set match. Nadal should have too much for Medvedev over the best of 5 set format, and his patience will be the key. Medvedev will need an incredible serving performance to keep this close, however, I am happy to play the percentages and take the Spaniard to win and cover the game handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Nadal -6.5 games for 3 units

Andreescu v S Williams

After a week of upsets and courageous performances has led us to the final many were hoping for, as Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu look to square off in the US Open final. For the second year in a row, Serena will come up against a player looking to win their maiden title. It will be fascinating to see how the crowd responds to this match, given the positive response Williams will always receive on Arthur Ashe. Andreescu has certainly won over many fans in North America over the course of 2019, including her Indian Wells and Toronto titles, though today is a very different story.

We thought we were going to get a taste for the potential in this match-up in Toronto, before Williams had to retire after 4 games due to back spasms. The odds today are favouring Williams moreso than Andreescu – is it warranted?

Outside of a scratchy first set against McNally, it has been an incredibly composed performance from Williams throughout the tournament. She has taken the bull by the horns in all the key moments, with straight set wins over Muchova, Martic, Wang and Svitolina. The key was the assertiveness in clutch moments early in matches, especially the first two games against Svitolina in the semi-final. The Ukrainian had break points in the first game and game points in the second game, yet after 16 minutes found herself trailing 0-2. A few more chances came and went, and from there it was nearly one-way traffic for the American on her charge to the final.

Whilst Williams has been challenged at times, she has been able to steady the ship and get the job done in straight sets in her last 4 matches. The same cannot be said for Andreescu, with three set wins over Townsend and Mertens, then needed to save a set point in set 1 and trailed 2-5* in set 2. What has been crucial to this run of Andreescu has been her ability to step up and assert her authority in the key moments, be it break points or when down in the count on serve (multiple 0/30 saves over the last few matches), that has helped her reach the final today.

It is one thing to step up and assert authority against the likes of Townsend/Mertens/Bencic, it is a different story on the biggest stage against arguably one of the best players to have ever picked up a racquet. The missed opportunities in finals over the last 12 months will only motivate Williams further. After the semi final she did admit she probably shouldn’t have played Roland Garros and didn’t have a lot of training leading into Wimbledon. This is the best she has looked over a tournament since the birth of her child, and on the biggest stage with the crowd at her back, I cannot find myself opposing her today.

This will be the first slam final of many for Andreescu, however I am siding with the American today. If Andreescu finds herself in similar situations throughout this match as her previous few, I don’t see her coming out on top as consistently today. A small play of 1.5 units on the -4.5 games at plus money, in what should be a great match to cap off a terrific fortnight of tennis

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Williams -4.5 games for 2 units

Medvedev v Dimitrov

The run of Daniil Medvedev through his exceptional North American hardcourt swing has continued, with the Russian assuming the role of ‘Flushing Meadows villain’ on his way to the semi-final.

Whilst he has seemed to reach the point many anticipated, I do feel the US Open aspect of his run has quite charmed considering the opponents he could have faced along the way.

Whilst much of the news around Medvedev this fortnight has been his antics on court, we do need to dig a little deeper into his opponents across the fortnight.

He faced Gunneswaran in round 1, traded to an underdog position in round 2 against Hugo Dellien due to cramping, needed 4 tight sets to defeat Feliciano Lopez in round 3, 4 sets against Dominik Koepfer in round 4, and faced an unwell Stan Wawrinka in a quarter final.

That run in 2019 is more of an ATP250 type of run, however we find ourselves in the final 4 of the US Open instead. Based on everything seen over the fortnight, the strength of opponent today is a significant step up.

Grigor Dimitrov has put together a very impressive US Open run, and I am comfortable to admit my opinion of him has shifted with the news that he is now playing tennis pain-free. This isn’t the same Dimitrov that couldn’t win in the lead-up, and even lost to Kevin King in straight sets.

This looks to be a Dimitrov that trusts his body, and in turn trusts his game as well. You cast an eye over his last two wins, and they are two of the better wins from anyone in the US Open, given the form of the opponent and general situation.

Whilst Federer did start to labor in the fifth set with his back issue, Dimitrov still had to show enough mettle to force the fifth set.

His ability to break back for 6-4 in set 2 and hold serve from 0/40 at *5-4 in the fourth set helped turn the match in his favour, as did his 74% of points won behind his first serve.

The confidence that Dimitrov was able to gain from his win over De Minaur, with the Australian’s style assisting the Bulgarian to turn his form around in a brilliant straight set win.

Whilst Medvedev has been able to show over his variety in his game, and ability to adapt to the conditions and how he is feeling physically, I really do like the match-up here for Dimitrov.

He looks to be moving as well as I can remember, and the confidence that has been generated off his last two matches is worth noting. There is a recency bias element to it, however you just need to look at how Dimitrov has projected himself on court over the last few days to notice the change.

The conditions look bleak for Flushing Meadows tomorrow, and there is a possibility this match may be played indoors in some slightly humid conditions. I don’t think this favours either, or if anything I would give the edge to Dimitrov.

The extra day off helps Medvedev, who looked as though his body was starting to fail him against Wawrinka in the semifinal, fortunate that Stan was unwell. He has looked to be on the brink a couple of times through the first 5 matches – can he go a best of 5 battle against someone as fit as Grigor Dimitrov after all he has encountered in the North American hardcourt swing?

I will be happy to put my hand up and admit that I was wrong if Medvedev is able to maintain his form against a Dimitrov-type based on what I have seen this fortnight, however the price on the Bulgarian is far too good to pass up in my opinion.

The longer this match goes, the more it favours Dimitrov, and I am looking to confidently attack the head to head price that is on offer today.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 4 units Dimitrov to defeat Medvedev at $2.60


Nadal vs Berrettini

The main factor preventing this from being a stronger selection is the question marks surrounding Nadal’s health given his admission after his quarter final victory.

Nadal mentioned he had been ill in the lead up to his match with Schwartzman, and it may explain why he was a touch off in patches of the match.

Such is the level of Nadal, he was still able to win in straight sets even whilst below his best, thanks to strong starts to sets 1 and 2. Diego fought his way back into the first two sets well, however was never able to edge in front and convert points to take a lead on the scoreboard.

Matteo Berrettini has done a fantastic job of reaching the semi final given his recent injury issues, and it is nice to see him enjoying the game on the big stage.

Whilst others could have dropped their game significantly after dropping serve at *5-3 in the 5th set in the biggest match of your career, including a double fault on match point, Berrettini responded incredibly well, going on to claim the final set tiebreak over Gael Monfils to progress.

Whilst it was great on day 10, I do worry for Berrettini today. This has the makings of a Berrettini-Federer Wimbledon situation, as this match-up against a big name on the big stage is a tricky prospect.

What makes it more difficult is the fact Nadal will have the game plan of attacking the Berrettini backhand at all costs.

The left-handed forehand of Nadal into the backhand of Berrettini is where this match becomes incredibly one-sided in my opinion.

Unless Berrettini can serve lights-out tennis, the pendulum swings in favour of Nadal as soon as the ball is in a general rally. With Berrettini coming off five sets, and Nadal still physically looking solid, the -7.5-game handicap looks the play for this semi-final.

If Berrettini can play the best match of his life on his backhand I am happy to accept it, however with Nadal ripping the topspin into that win consistently, or hitting into the open court if the Italian runs around to his forehand, this looks like one-way traffic in my opinion.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 3 units Nadal -7.5 games

Williams v Svitolina

There are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself when looking at a play on this semi final.

The first is: how much can we take from Williams’ demolition of Wang in the quarter final? Whilst Williams was dominant, Wang didn’t handle the occasion overly well, and was unable to muster a winner for the entirety of the match.

It was as one-sided as you will see a quarter final at a slam. It can be tricky when you haven’t had the experience of beating a player like Williams in the past, so combining that with the situation seemed to get the better of Wang.

The second is: can we trust the improved serving of Svitolina to hold up on the biggest stage with the crowd against her?

We know what Arthur Ashe is like with Serena on court, and Svitolina has certainly generated some fantastic performances against big names in Keys and Konta, and the catalyst has been the consistency on serve across both matches.

When broken twice by Konta in the quarter final, Svitolina did a terrific job of steadying the ship on both occasions by breaking back instantly.

It is all well and good to be able to hit your spots against the likes of Keys, however you need to do some more with it against Williams. Since Wimbledon, we have seen a far more aggressive Svitolina at times, and she has looked more confident when needing to re-direct the ball during rallies.

This has the makings of an incredible match in my opinion, and given how Serena looked against Halep in the Wimbledon final, this match could be tight for long periods.

I was hoping for something in excess of $3.50 for Svitolina, however it appears that neither head to head price is great value at present. The appeal again lies with the total games over 21 in this match.

Svitolina will be able to control aspects of this match, and I would be surprised to see this match ending one-sided for either player.

This is a significant step up in level of opponent for both, and will be must-see viewing for anyone that enjoys the WTA in my opinion. 2 units on the total over 21 games looks reasonable.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 21 games for 2 units


Bencic v Andreescu

I am personally finding it very difficult to split these two given their form leading into this semi final coupled with the time off court between their previous match and this scheduled semi final.

These two players are two to have had success when it comes to challenging the top players on the bigger stages this year, and have looked their most comfortable on the hardcourt.

Belinda Bencic has been impressive on her way to the semi, and will benefit from the extra break between matches given Andreescu went three sets in the night session on Day 10.

Bencic looked very solid on serve throughout her match against Vekic, and looked very strong through the second set in particular. She won 84% of points in first serve, whilst limiting her unforced errors to 21 for the match.

Attacking the second serve of Vekic ended up being a key factor, winning 20/35 points returning her second serve. She looks primed for a decent showing today, and the first serve will be crucial.

Bianca Andreescu continued her very impressive winning record in 3 set matches, coming from 3-6 *2-2 0/30 down to win 3-6 6-2 6-3 against Elise Mertens in her quarter final.

She continues to attack, nailing 40 winners against the agile Mertens, and save for poor break point conversion (4/16 for the match) could have had a more one-sided victory.

Whilst she is a power hitter, her placement and ability to construct points cannot be underestimated, as is her ability to turn a match on its head in quick time, as we saw in the last 10-15 minutes of set 2 against Mertens.

I think the odds for the head to head look about right given the form and situation, however in a similar fashion to Bencic vs Vekic, I do lean towards the over here.

Both players have been serving well, and neither has the temperament to fall away when trailing. I am comfortable making a 2 unit selection on the over 21.5 games.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 21.5 games for 2 units

Andreescu vs Mertens

Whilst the Canadian is a justified favourite, the +3.5-game handicap for Mertens does look quite generous today.

Whilst we have moved into unfamiliar territory for Bianca Andreescu – a grand slam quarter final – Mertens has the experience edge by quite a way. She has been there before, a semi-final in fact, at the Australian Open in 2018, so the experience of that run will be invaluable today. I have made a note a couple of times over the fortnight regarding the benefit of previous deep runs at a slam, such as Svitolina at Wimbledon, and this could play a role in the outcome today. The draw has opened for Mertens to build some much-needed confidence, with a run of comfortable straight set victories over Teichmann (6-2 6-2), Kristyna Pliskova (6-2 6-2), Andrea Petkovic (6-3 6-3) and Kristie Ahn (6-1 6-1). It is a huge turnaround in confidence at just the right time.

There is always going to be that first deep run at a slam for top ranked players, and there has been nothing to suggest that Andreescu hasn’t been handling the pressure this fortnight. She did double fault down set point to Townsend, however her overall performance in key moments and third sets of late is impressive. She is digging herself little holes quite regularly, then climbing out of them with authority. On paper, a path of Volynets, Flipkens, Wozniacki and Townsend would be a path you would sign up for before the tournament. She has handled the draw well, dropping only one set along the way.

Whilst the Canadian is the deserved favourite, the +3.5-game head start does look to be quite decent given the circumstances. Mertens should be able to carry her confidence over from the first four rounds to make this a genuine contest. The Belgian has the consistency to cause Andreescu to have to beat her, and for me in the current form that is enough for me to take the game handicap for 2.5 units. I have Mertens as a head to head winning chance, so I will take the 3.5 game buffer.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Mertens +3.5 for 2.5 units


Bencic v Vekic

I don’t think this match is a clear cut in the favour of Bencic as the odds currently suggest, especially as I mentioned the other day a preference of Vekic facing larger strikers of the ball.

Belinda Bencic continued her very impressive run at Flushing Meadows, defeating world number 1 Naomi Osaka 7-5 6-4 to reach the quarter finals. Osaka certainly wasn’t at the top of her game however, and the carry-over to the odds today look a little short.

Donna Vekic did a fantastic job of saving match point during her fourth-round win over Julia Goerges, prevailing 6-7 7-5 6-3. She faced only 5 break points across the match and was able to win 58% of points behind the second serve of Goerges, converting 4 of 12 of her own opportunities. She was certainly the better player after facing that match point and finished the match off strongly. Statistically, Vekic has been serving larger than Bencic on the first serve this week which is interesting to note.

Whilst Bencic got the better of their first two meetings in 2014, Vekic was able to win their third-round clash 6-4 6-1 at Roland Garros this year. The increase in pace that comes with the transition to hardcourt will help Bencic, however I feel the logical play to make here is total games over 21.5, as both players are likely to find their groove at some point within this match. The confidence of Bencic on hardcourt in 2019 is high, and although I do rate Vekic here, I have a preference to side with the total going over for 2.5 units.

A tiebreak wouldn’t surprise me, nor would a three-set match given how these two are playing.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Total games over 21.5 for 2.5 units

Williams v Wang

As an Australian it was obviously disappointing to see Ash Barty knocked out in the 4th round of the US Open, however the story of Qiang Wang is exceptional, and worth noting. Can she cause another upset on Arthur Ashe against Serena Williams?

Serena has looked pretty solid in parts of her first four rounds, and a touch patchy in others. It is always going to be the case as she transitions into the latter part of her career as one of the best to ever pick up a tennis racquet.

She looked solid against Petra Martic on Day 7, who just didn’t have enough weapons to consistently trouble Williams. Williams did roll her ankle in the match, and didn’t look as comfortable in the latter part of the match.

There could be some residual discomfort carrying over to today, and this looks to be a tricky opponent if that is the case.

You can only imagine what must be going through Wang’s mind given the events of the last couple of months.

Although they had split, the recent loss of Peter McNamara, the coach of Wang during her best career run to date, will no doubt have had an impact over Wang over the last couple of weeks.

She has displayed some solid tennis, going within a swing of the Bronx final last week, before winning through to the quarter finals of the US Open without dropping a set.

Her opponents have been Dolehide, Van Uytvanck, Ferro and Barty, so she will be more than used to the ball coming onto the racquet at pace this week.

Part of the appeal of Wang at the price today is her ability to accept and take on risk when necessary against bigger strikers.

We saw the other day that playing defensive, risk-averse tennis from Martic will only get you so far against Serena, whereas Wang’s ability to step in and hit down the line could be the difference in potentially exploiting the movement of Williams.

Worth a play at the price.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Wang to defeat Williams for 2 units


Svitolina v Konta

The more I look at it, the more it feels like Svitolina’s breakthrough to the semi-final at Wimbledon was a pivotal moment in the year of the Ukrainian, as well as her future chances of winning a slam.

Svitolina had a down patch earlier in the year; however the lack of tennis then may be helping her significantly now. Can she back up against Konta?

I cannot fault the form of Svitolina in the first four rounds, with straight set wins over Osuigwe, Venus Williams, Yastremska and Keys. Whilst Keys was poor on the return of serve, it should be noted that Svitolina didn’t trail at any stage in any service game, and didn’t face a Deuce for the entirety of the match.

She looks confident on serve, and for Svitolina that is huge for her overall game. The key aspect for today is the fact that if Svitolina continues to hit her spots on serve, and is able to keep her errors low whilst maintaining a slightly more aggressive mindset, will be a very tough combination to beat for Konta.

Konta is delivering another very solid slam result, producing her most consistently successful results at the top level tournaments in a calendar year.

After an early struggle against Kasatkina in the first round, Konta has looked more consistent over the last three rounds, defeating Gasparyan and Zhang, before coming from a set and break down to defeat Pliskova in round 4.

In the slower hardcourt conditions, Konta was able to exploit the movement of Pliskova, and snuck over the line 7-5 in the third set. One of Konta’s bigger struggles for the week came against Kasatkina, and to me that doesn’t bode well for the match against Svitolina.

Svitolina comes into this match with a 4-0 head to head lead over Konta, and given the consistency and form this week, I see that becoming 5-0.

The -2.5 game handicap looks to be a fantastic prospect, and worthy of a 4 unit selection.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Svitolina -3 for 4 units

Vekic v Goerges

Whilst I didn’t like Donna Vekic in what I perceived to be a less favourable match-up against Yulia Putintseva in the previous round, she looks to be great value today.

As mentioned, the other day, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Vekic on her way through to the 4th round. Wins over Hogenkamp, Kanepi and now Putintseva has filled the first week for Vekic, with the Croatian looking progressively better with each passing match.

Whilst her first couple of rounds were littered with a couple of tight periods, it felt as though the way she worked through those early struggles ended up helping her in almost every key moment against Putintseva.

Winning 86% of points behind her first serve and facing only 1 break point for the match, Vekic was dominant in her 6-4 6-1 victory. Her serve speeds were up on her second-round match against Kanepi, and it looked as though everything was clicking quite well for the Croatian.

Julia Goerges certainly wasn’t coming into the US Open with any exceptional form, however, has certainly done what is required to take care of her section of the draw in the first week. It was one of the easier groups of three rounds, defeating Vikhlyantseva, Di Lorenzo and Kiki Bertens on the way to the fourth round.

Whilst it does sound a little critical on Bertens, I don’t think her form in the last couple of months has been exceptional, including struggling to capitalize on some weaker draws at some lower-ranked tournaments.

It wasn’t smooth sailing to start the week, dropping the first set 1-6 and needing a final set tiebreak to defeat the Russian in the first round. Di Lorenzo was quite outmatched in the second round, and the fact that Bertens could only generate a first serve percentage of 38% against the German certainly made things easier for Goerges.

To be receiving nearly coin-flip odds today does surprise me a touch. Vekic won’t afford Goerges some of the opportunities that others have provided over week one. She looks most suited against the larger strikers of the ball on the medium-slow hardcourt and looks to be handling the conditions quite well.

I like Vekic to progress here and it looks worthy of a 3-unit selection, as I do think the Goerges form is a touch overrated.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Vekic to defeat Goerges for 3 units


Schwartzman v Zverev

In a similar fashion to Kiki Bertens’ and her poor first serve costing her in her third-round meeting with Julia Goerges, Alex Zverev was well and truly saved by his high first serve percentage against Aljaz Bedene.

The German landed 70% of his first serves in play, however, still didn’t look entirely at home on the Flushing Meadows hardcourt.

Whereas the Zverev forehand had been causing some problems in leaking unforced errors at times in the early rounds, it was the 29 unforced errors from the Bedene forehand that also helped split these two at the end of the day,

Zverev prevailing 6-7 7-6 6-3 7-6. What we do know however is Zverev will be given absolutely nothing for free today given the style and tenacity of his opponent.

Diego Schwartzman continues to fly under the radar in his section of the draw, knocking off decent opponents in convincing fashion. His last conquest was Tennys Sandgren, with the Argentine grinding the American into the ground in straight sets.

He looks to be moving as well as we have seen, and at the same time is hitting his spots exceptionally well on serve. He looks to be the type of opponent to give Zverev a lot of grief on current form given his exceptional returning ability and consistency on both ends of the court.

Schwartzman currently sits as a slight underdog, and I am happy to take that for 2 units. I would suggest higher if able to post closer to match start, however I don’t want to find myself with a larger selection here if the rain that is forecast eventuates and turns this match into an indoor battle.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Schwartzman to defeat Zverev for 2 units

De Minaur v Dimitrov

If there was an example of a relatively comfortable ride through to the fourth round of a slam, then the 2019 Grigor Dimitrov US Open edition is a perfect example.

Whilst still not looking anywhere near his best, Dimitrov defeated Andreas Seppi in the first round, was the beneficiary of a Borna Coric withdrawal in the second round, before encountering a tired Kamil Majchrzak in the third round.

Dimitrov has been a tad patchy through his two matches on court, and statistically he hasn’t been setting the world on fire of late.

The forehand wing of Dimitrov was a touch vulnerable in his match vs Majchrzak, committing 9 forced and 13 unforced errors off that wing. His second serve is looking a touch better this week, however, the pressure that will come in round 4 with one of the best returns of serve standing across the net may be a different story.

Against less mobile players, Dimitrov can get away with some of the current deficiencies in his game, however today may be a different story.

Alex De Minaur has looked exceptional through the first week at Flushing Meadows. The Australian has comfortably defeated Herbert, Garin and Nishikori on the way to the fourth round, dropping only 2 sets along the way.

When he finds a rhythm on his serve, it really does compliment the rest of his game. The win over Nishikori was the first top-10 victory of De Minaur’s career, and it turned out to be quite emphatic.

His ability to retrieve forces his opponents to try and dig in and grind longer than the Australian, or force the issue and end with a higher unforced error count. You won’t see Nishikori with 60+ unforced errors too regularly, such is the court coverage of De Minaur.

The -3.5 game handicap for De Minaur looks exceptional today. He won’t be giving anything cheaply to Dimitrov, and the Bulgarian will need to lift his game significantly to be a chance today.

Dimitrov admitted that he didn’t expect to find himself in the 4th round, and I don’t expect to see him in the quarter-final.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – De Minaur -3.5 games for 3.5 units


Svitolina v Keys

Those who read the draw preview for the fortnight will know that I have come into this fortnight with an incredibly high opinion of her chances, and nothing I have seen through the first three rounds has made me think otherwise.

Elina Svitolina has put together back-to-back-to-back straight set wins over Osuigwe, Venus Williams and Yastremska.

The scores have been quite one-sided (especially Yastremska), however her win over Williams could have been more dominant had she converted more break point opportunities at a rate higher than 4/17. She looks to be moving incredibly well, and herself and her partner Gael Monfils look to be in quite a groove at Flushing Meadows.

The aim of the game with Svitolina against Keys is retrieval and counter-punching to the best of her ability, and we have seen a couple of those very performances already for the week.

36 of the 55 points won against Yastremska were unforced errors, but given the nature of Svitolina’s game there isn’t truly an error that is entirely unforced.

Svitolina got the edge over Keys for the first time in her career at the Australian Open earlier this year, and that needs to be acknowledged.

Keys has had a couple of slow starts in rounds 1 and 2, and got the job done against an out-of-sorts Sofia Kenin in round 3. Although Keys won 6-3 7-5, it is worth noting that Keys converted 2/3 break point opportunities, whilst Kenin converted 0/8. Given those stats, and given Kenin only produced 9 winners for the match, I think Keys may be a touch overrated in the odds leading into the match today.

Svitolina as an underdog looks to be a great position to take on these courts. Keys will need to lift her game significantly based on the first three rounds, given the confidence and groove Svitolina is playing with right now. 3 units on Svitolina at the underdog price looks very solid.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Svitolina to defeat Keys for 3 units

Putintseva vs Vekic

This is a really fascinating match, with the favourite Donna Vekic not coming into the third round with the best form she displayed in 2019 to date. Whilst it is a funny thing to say about a player that has won through to the third round with two straight set victories over Hogenkamp and Kanepi, however she has certainly had her moments along the way.

Hogenkamp served for the first set in round 1, and Kanepi had a set point in the first set in Round 2 as well. Neither were able to convert, and the Croatian was able to use the momentum as a heavy favourite to go on with both matches in set 2.

Yulia Putintseva delivered one of the upsets of the tournament to date in the second round, defeating Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets. She continues to thrive off the ball coming onto her racquet at pace – something she will be sure to receive again today given the game style of Vekic.

I like the total games to go over the listed total in this match. Whilst Vekic is the better player and deserved favourite, she hasn’t shown me enough consistency from start to finish this week to consider her in a line or total under sense.

Putintseva will keep her honest, frustrate her, and have ample opportunities to impact the match as well. Worth a 2 unit selection on the total games to go over 21.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 1.5 units total games over 21


Andreescu vs Wozniacki

Now don’t get me wrong, I do rate Bianca Andreescu incredibly highly, however given the fact she is the WTA flavour-of-the-month-and-almost-flavour-of-the-year I don’t think we are going to be seeing any value on the Canadian in any capacity in the near future. We see it again today.

I watched these two battle it out in Auckland at the start of the year, in a match where both women weren’t really at their top level physically. At that stage, Wozniacki looked to still be coming to terms with the conditions and how it impacted her arthritis, whilst Andreescu was in the middle of reeling off a high-volume week, ending with reaching the final as a qualifier. That day, Wozniacki needed a medical timeout as well, and didn’t look to be at her best. As a $4.50 underdog, Andreescu saved 10 of 12 break point opportunities on the way to a 6-4 6-4 win.

Interestingly, a video came out of that match with Andreescu being a touch critical of the Wozniacki forehand whilst the Dane was off court receiving a medical timeout, so Wozniacki will go into the match today fully aware of the game plan of Andreescu and what she needs to be able to do to counter that and perhaps protect her forehand ever so slightly.

Wozniacki looked very solid in her second round comeback against Danielle Collins, winning 4-6 6-3 6-4, losing only 4 points on serve in the final set. Her fitness, the hallmark of her game for the better part of a decade, will be telling, and is part of the appeal today. The heat will be rising towards a top of 28 degrees whilst these two are on court, and Wozniacki will be doing her absolute best to extend this match out as long as possible.

I remarked the other day that Andreescu’s biggest struggles on hardcourt have come this year against players who are either quality retrievers of the ball, or play with a lot of craft. Flipkens was unable to take advantage of an early triple break point against the Canadian, and it came back to bite her in what ended up a tight 2 set match.

I love the price on Wozniacki today. She has the pedigree to cause a bit of damage today, and will thrive on the underdog status that will come with the match. If she can keep the pressure on for long enough, she wins today.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 3.5 units Wozniacki to defeat Andreescu

Dimitrov v Majchrzak

I do feel as though Kamil Majchrzak was fortunate to last just a bit longer physically than Pablo Cuevas in their round 2 match.

I remarked that the initial thought process around opposing Majchrzak in round 2 was to take on the fitness of the Pole, however rain had other ideas and gave an extra 24 hours of rest between round 1 and 2.

What this has resulted in however is Majchrzak having to back up for his round 3 match 24 hours after playing a 5-set match in the heat of the day. These are the scenarios that rarely fall to the big name players, because in the scheme of things it is actually quite unfair.

There will probably be not a lot made of the issue in the media, and it is the same issue for Dan Evans as he is due to face Roger Federer off 24 hours less rest.

What compounds the issue a touch for Majchrzak is the fact that Grigor Dimitrov was the beneficiary of a 2nd round walkover, so will have had 4 days between his first round match and his third round match.

Whilst the lead-up form of Dimitrov has been questionable, he did look solid in his 6-1 6-7 6-4 6-3 win over Andreas Seppi in the first round. His serve appeared a touch more confident, and limiting his double fault tally to 3 over four sets is also a positive sign.

Whilst Dimitrov has had some injury issues of late, there have never been any question marks surrounding his ability to cover the court, and manage across the best of 5 set format.

He is comfortable coming into the net, where he won 20/29 points in round 1, and will be aware of the situation regarding the scheduling of Majchrzak.

This is a golden opportunity for Dimitrov, and the -5.5 game handicap looks an incredibly appealing prospect. Happy to play it for 3 units.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Dimitrov -5.5 games for 3 units


Lopez v Medvedev

Had you asked me at the start of the week if I would consider backing Feliciano Lopez against Daniil Medvedev in the 3rd round of the US Open, I would have had a few responses that are a touch different to my play today.

First of all, I would be shocked that Lopez made it past Fritz and Nishioka, and I would have assumed Medvedev would have no trouble on his way to the third round.

Alas, that is not the case.

Coming from a set down on both occasions, Lopez has looked magnificent in both matches, dropping serve only twice across the 8 sets. The scoreline flattered Nishioka a touch as well, given he was able to save 23 of 29 break point opportunities earned for the match by Lopez.

The appeal with Lopez in this serving groove is the fact he has a couple of ways to shake things up against Medvedev.

He has the slice backhand that will stay low and force Medvedev to play up and over the net with his flatter style of backhand, and Lopez also has the ability to force the issue and come into the net with confidence, as he has done 79 times over the first two rounds.

All looked to be going well for Medvedev in the second round against Dellien before the Russian started cramping in the third set.

This isn’t a fantastic sign for Daniil, considering that like Majchrzak (and Lopez) he will need to back up and play the night session on Day 5. Conditions are expected to be hot again, with the added input of humidity with the night session making things a touch more difficult as well in terms of backing his body up.

He has played a lot of tennis over the last month, and I wonder if the physical impact is taking its toll.

Lopez has shown across his career that he has the ability to handle these conditions and does look the physically stronger. I do believe the $3+ that is available is exceptional value in the circumstance, so I am comfortable making a large stake.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Lopez to defeat Medvedev for 4 units

Thompson v Berrettini

This is a bit of a coming together of an underrating of the current form of Thompson and what in my opinion is an overrating of Berretini off his first win since an injury.

I commented the other day on my thoughts regarding Jordan Thompson and his improved consistency over 2019, and he delivered in spades in the first round, defeating Joao Sousa in a very one-sided battle.

Thompson didn’t lose serve for the match, facing only one break point for the match, whilst converting 4 of 14 on the serve of Sousa. That consistency is very quickly becoming a hallmark of his game in 2019 and will hold him in good stead today against the Italian.

Berrettini was solid in his first round win over Gasquet, without being spectacular. The court conditions did favour the Italian more than Gasquet, as did the longer best-of-5 set format. At the end of the day, break point conversion was one of the more telling statistics, with Gasquet converting 2/11 compared to Berrettini’s 4/8.

The hardcourt statistically is the worst performed surface for Berrettini recently and given such little tennis since a mobility-impacting injury, I think the big man is a touch vulnerable today.

In my opinion, Thompson has always looked very comfortable against the bigger strikers on tour. Results-wise, that has only started to shine through more recently. He is starting to accept that he won’t get a racquet on every serve and to not let that frustrate him in the long run.

His movement today will be crucial, and he looks to be a fantastic value prospect considering they will be playing in the heat of the day.

I will make a selection on Thompson at the game handicap, as well as winning outright. Great value in this situation.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Thompson +3.5 games for 3 units

 BACK – Thompson to Win for 1 unit


Paire v Bedene

Another player flying under the radar, largely due to his form coming at Challenger level is Aljaz Bedene.

Ranked 80th in the world, Bedene made the decision to step back to Challenger level a fortnight ago to gain some form. In the end, he won the title, winning the semi-final and final comfortably in straight sets.

That form was able to translate across the Flushing Meadows, with Bedene defeating Jozef Kovalik 6-3 6-4 7-5 in the first round on the back of 33 winners and 20 unforced errors.

The consistency in the game of Bedene is part of the appeal of supporting him with a handicap head start today, given the track record of Benoit Paire in tough moments over best of 5 sets.

Rarely do things go smoothly for Paire two matches in a row, having beaten Schnur in straight sets in the first round. Paire is also coming off a full week last week, where he dropped the final in Winston Salem to Hubert Hurkacz.

Paire leads the head to head 4-3, however, haven’t played on hardcourt since the start of 2018. Personally, I cannot justify Bedene having a head start of 4.5 games, which would likely rely on the Frenchman to be locked in from start to finish against a player of this quality.

Happy to make a 3 unit selection on Aljaz at the game handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bedene +4.5 games for 3 units

Cuevas v Majchrzak

One of my suggested subscriber selections on day 1 was Jarry to defeat Majchrzak, with a focus of the play being the poor fitness of the Pole over long matches. In the last 12 months, Kamil has an 11-14 record in deciders over all levels and surfaces, including his 5-set victory over Jarry.

Jarry was very poor in a couple of key moments, including from 6-3* up in the third set tiebreak, and in the 9th game of the final set where his forehand completely deserted him in key moments.

Majchrzak was only able to generate 4 break point opportunities for the match, and didn’t convince me enough in general rallying overall to support him today.

I do question how he will manage today against the crafty veteran in Pablo Cuevas, who did what he needed to in a straight-set win over Jack Sock to start his tournament.

Cuevas was ultra-consistent, hitting his spots on serve whilst committing only 24 unforced errors for the match, winning 6-4 7-5 7-6. Whilst Sock isn’t at the top of his game, it did show an element of comfort for Cuevas on this medium-slow hardcourt, and has given me enough confidence to side with Pablo in strong fashion today.

In faster conditions, in best of 3 sets plus off rest, this would be a smaller play, however too many factors favour Cuevas to let this match slip by without a play.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Cuevas -2.5 games for 4 units


Opelka v Koepfer

I think we are getting exceptional value on Koepfer today given his recent form and his overall form in North America. These two met in Dallas in February on indoor hardcourt, favourable conditions for Opelka, with the American prevailing 7-6(9) 3-6 7-6(12).

Fast forward to the slower hardcourt (in comparison and outdoor conditions and I cannot pass up Koepfer at a decent price as well as with a handicap head start.

Opelka got the better of a clearly underdone Fabio Fognini in 4 sets in round 1, however he certainly had the jitters when it came to closing out the match. He hasn’t filled me with as much confidence of late, and the leftie Koepfer should thrive in the conditions again, as we saw against Munar in round 1.

Koepfer looks to be playing high on confidence with his coach Rhyne Williams, and had one of the better qualifying runs of any player to make the main draw. He backed that up in round 1, albeit with a shaky finish, and looks primed for another solid performance today.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Koepfer +3.5 games for 3 units

 BACK – Koepfer to Win for 1 unit

Thompson v Sousa

The Australian Jordan Thompson continues to fly under the radar with his performances over 2019 and isn’t too far off a career-high ranking at present. Thompson’s consistency has been the key factor in his rise up the rankings and looks primed to continue to make a push towards being seeded for the Australian Open in 2020.

Whilst I would have edged towards Sousa a couple of years ago, I think this type of match-up is starting to sway towards the Australian, and I am comfortable to make a play at the odds currently available. Sousa was disappointing coming off travel to play at Winston-Salem last week, and I have more trust in the serve of Thompson at present.

Whilst Thompson was able to get the better of Sousa in hot conditions in 2017 in front of a home crowd, I do think the progression in the career of Thompson will allow a more comfortable result today.

Sousa can grind down some of the bigger players over the best of 5 sets, however Thompson is one of the fittest players in the top 100, and I think we will see today just how far he has come in 2019.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Thompson to Win for 3 units


Albot v Zverev

Whilst others may disagree, I just cannot trust Zverev in his current form over 5 sets. Losses to Khachanov and Kecmanovic in the lead-up is not what you wanted to see from Zverev given his struggles across the course of 2019.

20 double faults against Kecmanovic and 8 against Khachanov isn’t ideal, and until he overcomes the yips on serve I cannot find myself supporting him at this level, regardless of his ranking.

One area of interest that has also shown up as a weakness recently has been the forehand of Zverev. Whilst it was arguably more of an issue on the clay, Zverev looks to be having trouble consistently hitting through his forehand, instead opting for a loopier approach on a more consistent basis.

Radu Albot is one of those players that will force you to play your absolute best to be able to progress to the next round. Personally, I just cannot justify Albot at close to $3 over 5 sets, especially with Zverev sitting 6-4 for his career at Flushing Meadows.

Albot has played some of his best tennis this year in North America, and I am happy to support him again today at the price for 2 units.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Albot to Win for 2 units

De Minaur v Herbert

The Frenchman is on a 6-match losing streak, and I don’t see that streak ending today against the young Australian.

Whilst they have split their previous meetings 1-1, I do think on form this match heavily favours Alex De Minaur, as there isn’t an aspect of the game of Herbert that will give him a lot of trouble over the best-of-5 set format.

De Minaur is proficient on the return of serve, and is able to pass well off both wings, something that is crucial given Herbert’s tendency to come into the net with confidence.

Alex De Minaur was able to pick up another title early in the North American swing. He has looked his best against the bigger, less mobile strikers of the ball such as Opelka and to a lesser extent Fritz.

Herbert falls into a similar category, and if the Australian can continue to hit his spots well on serve, he should be able to cover the -5.5 game handicap. Considering the slightly slower hardcourt as well, all signs point to an Australian victory today. Happy to make this a 3 unit selection.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – De Minaur -5.5 games for 3 units


Fritz v Lopez

For those that have read the tournament previews, you will know that I currently have a high opinion on Taylor Fritz at the moment. Overall, this looks to be a very nice line to take for a couple of reasons.

The first is the overall recent hardcourt form of Fritz, which is my opinion is quite impressive. Whilst uncommon, I am happy to rule a line through the last two losses from Fritz against Hurkacz and Goffin.

The fortnight before those losses involved the American reaching consecutive finals, and overall his game has looked solid. We saw Hurkacz continue his good form with the Winston Salem title, and Goffin went on to reach the final in Cincinnati after beating Fritz in 3 sets.

Couple the above with the poor form of Lopez post grass season and it sets the scene to back the Fritz minus handicap with a bit of confidence.

Lopez has spluttered his way through the North American hardcourt swing, and I was a little shocked to see him drop some very cheap sets (including a bagel to Kecmanovic), drop a set to Andujar and retire last week against Hurkacz.

Fritz has been building his game since mid-June, and I am really bullish about his chances early at home. On a medium paced hardcourt over the best-of-5 set format, I really like his chances to not only progress but cover the -5.5 handicap. I will play it for 2.5 units.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Fritz -5.5 games for 2.5 units

Welcome to the ATP US Open preview. The last major of the year is finally here, and it has been a pleasure to be able to cover the big tournaments for 2019.

It looks to be a fascinating fortnight ahead, with several live chances capable of taking the title.

Below you will find comments on the seeded players, as well as some unseeded threats. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on Twitter.


Quarter 1

Novak Djokovic – Clearly the player to beat. Has the best-of-5 set pedigree, and I wouldn’t be too phased by his loss to Medvedev last week. The conditions suit him incredibly well, and it would take some exceptional tennis to beat him this format. Federer couldn’t beat him on grass, and Nadal hasn’t shown the ability over the last 18 months to be able to nurse his body through a fortnight of a major on hardcourt (although did make the final in Melbourne), this draw looks relatively friendly.

Dusan Lajovic is slightly more suited by the slower hardcourt on offer and does have the potential to take a decent scalp if he is able to redline his game. With three-set losses to Basilashvili and Isner in the lead-up, I won’t be looking to aggressively support him in any capacity this week.

Stan Wawrinka has shown patches of some high-quality tennis in 2019, however, there hasn’t been enough consistency in his game to consider him as an outright selection. If he can get past one of the up-and-coming stars of the game in Jannik Sinner in round 1, there is a potential round 4 clash against Djokovic, a player he has had success against in the past. He can beat the best; however, can he survive the first week and play his way into form?

Kevin Anderson has now withdrawn, replaced in the draw by lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi.

Fabio Fognini has the potential to beat the best on any given day, however, it is hard to see him finding those days for seven consecutive matches. Difficult draw first up, however, should handle the conditions and the slower hardcourt relatively well. Finds himself in a tricky little section, however, with back to back QF’s on hardcourt he is worth keeping an eye on during week one.

Nikoloz Basilashvili is a player that can be difficult to read at times. If only a major was held in Hamburg and you could trust he would be able to produce. Has looked okay in Montreal and Cincinnati, however with 2 wins and 9 losses against Top 15 players on hardcourt in the last 12 months, it is hard to foresee a big run. If he looks solid and survives Fucsovics in round 1, could spring a slight surprise and make the start of the second week.

Taylor Fritz has the potential, as well as the form, with a handful of solid recent results, Fritz can thank the likes of Medvedev that have ensured he stays flying under the radar. Genuine chance of making a very solid push in this section, and I would be fascinated to see him face Medvedev in the third round. Not too phased by his loss in Montreal given the back-to-back finals the previous fortnight. Also appeared solid in Cincinnati, taking eventual finalist David Goffin to 3 sets. One to watch.

Daniil Medvedev is the man of the moment, given his recent form and ability to defeat Novak Djokovic on his way to the title in Cincinnati. You cannot fault the style and game plan, and there is certainly an element of high risk associated with parts of his game, especially around the serve. He does tend to go for his second serve in patches of matches, and I wonder if there will be a period that may be his downfall over the longer format. Tough draw, with a potential meeting with Fritz in round 3, and won’t be getting any easier. Too short odds wise currently.

Of the unseeded, there are a couple of big names and big servers in Sam Querrey, Reilly Opelka, Tomas Berdych are all present, but unlikely in my opinion to make a run worthy of a trading position.

Another couple to keep an eye on given some recent form are Hubert Hurkacz and Yoshihito Nishioka, who has put together some very solid tennis during the North American hardcourt swing. A few of the up and coming names to keep an eye on this week at the top level are Jannik Sinner and Soonwoo Kwon, who all look likely to start to make their mark on the higher levels soon.

Quarter 2

Roger Federer is once again one of the favourites to take out the title, however, there remain a couple of question marks in my opinion. Whilst he came awfully close to winning at Wimbledon, the court and conditions at Flushing Meadows are nowhere near as advantageous for the Swiss maestro. Federer didn’t look to handle the conditions overly well last year in his 4-set loss to John Millman, and you must wonder if the heat, humidity and longer format won’t work in his favour.

Nevertheless, he has a relatively favourable draw early in week 1, unless Pouille or Goffin put in exceptional performances. At the end of the day, there is the likelihood that he will need to beat Novak in a semifinal and then the winner of the bottom section in the final, which could be Nadal, and that sounds like a tough ask unless conditions become a little friendlier.

Lucas Pouille has not been given a friendly draw. He normally saves his best tennis for majors, as we saw in Australia. Puts in very honest performances and needs to be respected. Don’t find any appeal in the outright markets, however, if he can play solidly to start the tournament, could find himself at a decent price against Federer if conditions suit.

Guido Pella surprised a lot of people with his run to the last 8 at Wimbledon and needs to be credited with his ability to get the job done on all surfaces. The slower hardcourt and warm, humid conditions aren’t the worst for Pella; however, his draw is tough. Faces one of the biggest unseeded threats in round one in Carreno-Busta, so there isn’t any appeal from a trading perspective.

David Goffin has rounded into a bit of form, and it comes just at the right time. The Cincinnati finalist has found himself in a portion of the draw with a couple of similar players, all of which he should have the edge over in best of 5 tennis. Has notoriously struggled against Federer over the journey, however, conditions could suit him in a potential 4th round match. One to keep an eye on no doubt.

Borna Coric hasn’t played enough tennis for mine to be competitive over the longer format, which leads to the appeal of some others in this section if you are keen to oppose Federer in some capacity. Starts with a tough little section of the draw, and it won’t get any easier for the fortnight.

Milos Raonic has too many question marks over the last couple of months in terms of fitness to trust his ability to play through seven best-of-5 set matches. Looked good in Canada, before that back pain started radiating down into his leg. Prefer others, and given the slower courts, there is no appeal in supporting in any capacity in my opinion unless a miracle has occurred in the last fortnight.

Cristian Garin is having a career year, however, competing deep into the second week of a major is still a bit much in my opinion. Could challenge Nishikori if he is well below 100%, however, his potential round 2 opponent of De Minaur/Herbert would love their chances against the Chilean.

I feel like I write something quite similar about Kei Nishikori almost every week of the year. He again comes in with some question marks around his form and fitness, having lost his two hardcourt matches in the lead-up to Gasquet and Nishioka. Was unwell against Nishioka, however, he remains incredibly hard to trust. Doesn’t thrive consistently in the hot and humid conditions and struggled in the North American swing earlier in the year as well. Prefer others.

There are some unseeded players in this section that have the potential to make the most of their draw, given the injury concerns over several players in this section when considering the best of 5 set format. One player that certainly stands out in that regard is Alex De Minaur. He has certainly looked a lot better on court recently since his groin issues earlier in the year, and I think this is a great chance for him to capitalise on the injury question marks around Nishikori and try and utilise his draw.

Others of interest include Dan Evans, Pablo Carreno Busta and even those with past Grand Slam pedigree in Grigor Dimitrov and Jack Sock. Dimitrov has struggled with injury so I will not take an interest in him for the fortnight, however, Jack Sock could spring a surprise or two if everything in his game clicks.

Quarter 3

Stefanos Tsitsipas hasn’t completely thrived since Wimbledon, where he lost to Fabbiano in the first round. Back-to-back-to-back three-set losses to Kyrgios, Hurkacz and Struff, two of which finished in tiebreaks, is not sensational form, however, given his performance in Australia at the start of the year, he does need to be respected.

Has shown form over the longer format with the semifinal appearance in January, however, just lacks perhaps the temperament to be able to trust him to go the whole way coming off a long season. Should be suited by best-of-5 if he meets Kyrgios, however, I have him challenged by Rublev in round 1, and unlikely to beat Thiem if they are to meet.

Nick Kyrgios is a player I could write 3,000 words on all by himself, however, it just doesn’t seem to be worth it now. His best can beat anyone, and he has found himself in the best section of the draw given the big names, however, I would rather watch his first couple of matches and perhaps get involved in individual matches instead of trusting him for an outright. Likely needs to beat Tsitsipas/Thiem/Nadal/Djokovic if things fell as expected, which is a big ask over the longer format.

Matteo Berrettini has not played enough tennis recently to be considered a threat for the title. His best tennis is blistering; however, an ankle injury post-Wimbledon has thwarted his chances of a good run here in my opinion.

Roberto Bautista-Agut needs to be respected whenever he steps onto the court. Back-to-back quarterfinals were solid in Canada and Cincinnati and appears to be suited by the longer format. Relatively friendly draw, however, may struggle against the likes of Tsitsipas and Thiem, and just hasn’t shown enough against the big three to consider for an outright.

Gael Monfils has the game and the tools to beat anyone on his day, however, it can be difficult to see it all coming together to win a major. Always hard to know how fit Gael is and I am not too excited by the price on the outright currently.

Felix Auger-Aliassime needs to sort his serve out to be considered a threat in any type of tournament, let alone a major. Cruel draw to start with Shapovalov, who looks to have benefitted early from his coaching setup with Mikhail Youzhny. Cannot have him on his short-term form, however, will be keeping an eye on his performances.

Kyle Edmund just hasn’t played a lot of tennis lately, so it is hard to gauge how he fits into the picture this week. Prefer others in the outright markets.

This could genuinely be Dominic Thiem’s best chance at a major. He has shown on all surfaces that he can challenge the top 3 on his day, and he is fortunate to sit on the side of the draw with Nadal, and away from Djokovic/Federer. Thiem has shown at Flushing Meadows in the past that he has the game to challenge Nadal, you just need to look at their previous epic. Looks suited in most matchups in this section and has shown at Roland Garros that he has the temperament to reach the final. Price looks exceptional for an outright and a trading standpoint.

Of the unseeded, the main names, in my opinion, to stand out are Denis Shapovalov and Andrey Rublev. There are a couple of others who could spring a surprise or two, as the likes of Ugo Humbert, Alexei Popyrin, Jordan Thompson and Joao Sousa amongst others in this group with solid recent best of 5 set performances.

Quarter 4

Alexander Zverev needs to figure out what is going on with his second serve to be considered a threat. In the hot and humid conditions that can come at Flushing Meadows, and with the issues with his game lately, it is hard to confidently back him at what looks to be a pretty short price. Genuinely tricky first round against Albot.

Benoit Paire will be coming off a full week at Winston Salem, and it is difficult to trust him across a full fortnight. I will wait and see how he goes in his first match, and if he looks good, may make a comment during the daily previews.

Diego Schwartzman will have been glad to have taken the Los Cabos title a couple of weeks ago, and I think the conditions at Flushing Meadows certainly suit the Argentine. His form has been sound, and he benefits from the longer format. Had you asked me a couple of months ago, I wouldn’t have been too interested in Diego, however, in this section he could cause some havoc. Khachanov is a worry, however, wouldn’t mind his chances against Nadal if an opportunity presented. Worth a trading position.

Karen Khachanov has found a little bit of form lately, in what has been a bit of a forgettable 2019 by his standards. Started to find form with a quarterfinal at Roland Garros and managed to reach the semi-finals in Montreal the other week. Can lack confidence at times, and I wonder if a meeting against a player like Schwartzman may really test him. Not interested in the outright, however that may change if he can make it to the first weekend confidently.

John Isner hasn’t played enough tennis at 100% for me to be overly interested in him for an outright and has generally found the going tough at Flushing Meadows. Will monitor.

Marin Cilic looks to be slowly building with his form, however, continues to struggle in key moments in matches. A former champion here, he is certainly one to watch. A fourth-round meeting with Nadal would be fascinating, however, I think I would rather watch Cilic to start the tournament and act on individual matches this fortnight.

Fernando Verdasco isn’t one to consider for an outright, as he will likely tighten up as the fortnight progresses. Can take a big name out on the big stage, and I would be fascinated if he were to meet Nadal in round 3.

The biggest question for Rafael Nadal is simply: will his body hold up in these conditions on hardcourt? Looked very good in Canada, however, at the end of the day, there is enough of a question mark to put me off taking his current outright price. Has a tough run with Verdasco a likely round 3 opponent, Cilic in round 4 and potentially a quarterfinal against Zverev/Schwartzman/Khachanov.

From there, two more wins would be required and given his outright price I just don’t see the value at present. Needs to make the semifinal barely dropping a set to ensure he can physically match the best in the final four.

Of the unseeded, the main names to keep an eye on in no particular order are Frances Tiafoe and Jan-Lennard Struff. A couple of other players that could provide flashes of brilliance this week include Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Hyeon Chung and Thanasi Kokkinakis. I don’t think seven best-of-5 set matches is their thing now given their injury histories, however, they could surprise in a match or two.

Summary

Will we see a player outside of the big three finally claiming another title? I genuinely think the odds on Thiem from a trading and outright perspective look fantastic. We saw earlier in the year what he can produce on a slower hardcourt and has the fitness to match it with the best players for five hours if necessary. He has managed his schedule far better this year, and he could reap the rewards over the coming fortnight.

Thiem looks to be the biggest beneficiary of the draw, however, that will likely still require matches against the likes of Bautista-Agut, Tsitsipas or even Kyrgios. Things are starting to level out over the top 30 players, with a lot of talent and potential amongst the group. If Thiem plays his best tennis he can beat anyone, and the fact he has proven it before is what makes his price tempting.

The top half looks to be Djokovic’s for the taking on form, and it is incredibly hard to oppose him in any capacity given his form over the journey at the top level. He has shown in the past that very humid conditions can take their toll on him, so a hot night session may be his undoing at times. He does look a class above though, and capable of winning through the early rounds in convincing fashion. He should be able to reach the final.

From a trading perspective, I am happy to oppose Federer to an extent in the second quarter. I don’t mind Goffin and De Minaur in that section, and they are the two that look the best value from a trading standpoint.

It will be a fascinating fortnight, and I will be interested if someone will be able to challenge the big 3. Only Thiem will tell.

Outright Selections

Dominic Thiem

Novak Djokovic

Trading Selections

David Goffin

Alex De Minaur

Quarter Selections

Dominic Thiem to win Quarter 3

Welcome to the WTA US Open Preview. Below you will find the biggest chances previewed in each quarter, and a summary of outright and trading suggestions. It looks to be a tightly contested tournament again with several chances across the board.


Quarter 1

Naomi Osaka will be facing the pressure of being the defending champion of a major for the first time this fortnight, and I am fascinated to see what unfolds. She better get used to it as she will be having the same feelings in January in Melbourne. She looks to have turned a corner with her recent form, however, this looks to be an incredibly tough section. Blinkova is a very tough first round opponent, and I would rather watch and wait with Osaka before considering a play.

Carla Suarez Navarro has the talent to beat most players below her in the rankings, however, at this stage of her career it is hard to see her making a deep run at the US Open. Happy to avoid in the outright market.

Anett Kontaveit just doesn’t have consistency, in my opinion, to make a deep run at a major at this stage of her career. I have trusted her in the past and she has been unable to deliver on each occasion. In a tough section of the draw, I cannot see her making a deep run in my opinion, especially with question marks in parts of her game when things tighten up on the scoreboard.

Belinda Bencic did have some question marks over an injury coming into the fortnight, so it is hard to gauge where she sits in terms of the rest of the competition. Tough matches from the outset in this section make it hard for me to back her with confidence. If she can win well against Minella and then the winner of Pegula/Cornet, then I may make a play – stay tuned to the daily selections.

Aryna Sabalenka is another who looks to have turned a corner with her recent play. She has been tasked with one of the more dangerous floaters in the first round in fellow countrywoman Azarenka. Still unproven at major level, I would rather focus my attention elsewhere unless she changes my mind in the early rounds. Second serve still needs some consistency.

Donna Vekic has the game to beat most players on tour on her day, it is just a matter of delivering that standard match in and match out. Tough to see her making a deep run in this draw, although does have a couple of matches to start that appear very winnable. Should make the 3rd round as an absolute minimum on form.

Julia Goerges hasn’t played the last couple of months with the same level of consistency that I have come to expect over her career. Losses to Bencic and Kenin in Toronto and Cincinnati respectively aren’t great form leading into the tournament. Prefers the conditions a little faster and may struggle to see the second week.

Kiki Bertens feels to me like she is a player that would benefit from the conditions in Flushing Meadows. Her form leading into the tournament however leaves a bit to be desired. Losses to Andreescu and Venus Williams in her last two matches, and only 28-16 on hardcourt over the last 12 months, with her best performances on the indoor hardcourt, leads me to look elsewhere.

Of the unseeded players in the section, Coco Gauff is the flavour of the month given her Wimbledon run. Alja Tomljanovic and Marie Bouzkova is a fascinating first round match, and Veronika Kudermetova also has some decent form of late. Hard to see any shock runs from this section.

Quarter 2

Simona Halep needs to be respected given the surface and conditions, and I think she is the beneficiary of a very generous draw. I don’t see any real threats until Andreescu in the 4th round, and I would like her chances in the conditions if that match-up were to eventuate. Showed at Wimbledon that she is starting to be a touch more aggressive and benefiting in general play. One to beat in this section in my opinion.

Barbora Strycova put together an exceptional run at Wimbledon but has faltered since. Coming into the match on a 3-game losing streak against Peterson, Kasatkina and Pera is not the form you would like from an outright selection. I’ll pass.

Caroline Wozniacki has not been playing enough tennis to be a threat for mine. The inconsistency that has developed has led to a 23-17 record over the last 12 months, and with losses to Swiatek and Yastremska in the lead-up doesn’t fill me with confidence. Happy to avoid.

Bianca Andreescu has been a revelation this season, holding a 54-8 record over the last 12 months at all levels. Claimed the title in Toronto when Serena withdrew during the final. Needs to be respected on her form in North America this year, however, looks a touch too short from a betting perspective in my opinion. Still largely unproven at majors, I would rather invest elsewhere pre-tournament.

Sloane Stephens is back with her old coach (after poaching him back without Monica Puig knowing!), however, will that make all the difference? Generally, puts in her best performances of her career at the US Open, however, I haven’t seen enough glimpses from her this year to consider backing her at her current price. Prefer to back as an underdog in certain scenarios.

Garbine Muguruza has not won a lot of tennis this year and looks a shell of her former self. If she can find the form from yesteryear then she could really make the most of this draw, however, she could just as easily lose to Riske in the first round. Prefer others.

Elise Mertens finds herself in a fascinating portion of the draw, however, her 30-27 record over the last 12 months has me uncertain. Hard to see her making her way into the second week on recent form, however, if she can reach the third round, she is a genuine chance of knocking off a rusty Kvitova.

Petra Kvitova has played 2 tournaments since May, and I just don’t know if I can trust her off such little tennis. The loss to Sakkari doesn’t fill me with a great deal of confidence, and for someone who relies so much on her timing of the ball, I cannot have her this week. Humidity is also likely to play a role and is something that has never been managed well by Kvitova.

Of the unseeded players, the names that stand out the most include Danielle Collins and Svetlana Kuznetsova, two players who generally bring their best on the big stage. Not a lot stands out beyond those two, as this doesn’t look like the strongest quarter of the draw.

Quarter 3

Elina Svitolina is starting to piece together the puzzle of making a deep run at a major, having made the semifinal at Wimbledon. She will be looking to make a further push, and her form isn’t too bad overall, with a couple of losses to Kenin in the lead-up. Friendly draw, with Keys and Kenin set to face each other before a potential 4th round with either, or one a slower hardcourt looks to be in a pretty decent position for a solid run over the fortnight is everything clicks.

Dayana Yastremska is one of the more interesting players to watch on the tour given her attacking style of play. She can sometimes push the boundaries with her actions on court, however, she does need to be respected. I think featuring late in majors is still a couple of years away however, as she can lack composure in high-pressure situations.

Sofia Kenin is another player to watch over the fortnight, as she has been delivering a very consistent level of tennis over the last couple of months. She can become a touch outmatched against some of the bigger strikers of the ball (see recent losses to Andreescu and Keys) and hasn’t shown enough in recent majors to confidently support her from an outright perspective.

Madison Keys is finding form at the right time, but can she keep it up? She brings her best tennis to Flushing Meadows, with a semifinal and a finals appearance in the last couple of years. She seems to manage the conditions well, and on most occasions, the match is resting on her racquet. Keys currently sits as 5th favourite, however, I think too much has been read into the Cincinnati form in my opinion. Happy to stay off at the price.

Johanna Konta has been playing far better tennis over 2019, however, she has shown that in those tight moments in the second week that she can be a little hard to trust. A tough first round against Kasatkina who has found some form of late, however, does open a little from here. Cannot see her featuring deep into week two.

Shuai Zhang hasn’t looked great since her run at Wimbledon, however, like Konta there is someone in this little section that will be able to go on a run to the second week. I cannot see it on form however and would rather look elsewhere.

Caroline Garcia is another in the Konta/Zhang department that just doesn’t fill me with enough confidence to support a deep run at a major on current form. It would be impressive and out of nowhere, and again, I would rather focus the attention elsewhere.

Karolina Pliskova could take advantage of what looks to be another reasonable draw given my comments on the other seeds above. Should be able to make a deep run, although the slightly slower hardcourt won’t work in her favour. Unless Pera can pull an exceptional performance in a second-round meeting, I would be surprised if Pliskova wasn’t in the last 8 come next week. I think she may struggle against any potential quarterfinal opponent however, and for that reason I would rather not support her pre-tournament at the current price on offer.

Of the unseeded players, Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe have the best experience to be able to fashion a deep run, however, with age and fitness against them, is it too much to ask?

Quarter 4

Serena Williams has one of the more difficult draws this week in the first round, with Maria Sharapova to stand on the other side of the net. Looks a touch short in the odds given her back issue that flared up in Toronto. I would rather watch her early and see how she is managing before involving myself in this part of the draw.

Su-Wei Hsieh has the craft to beat a wide range of opponents, however there isn’t enough form to warrant a play as an outright selection. Monitor head to heads throughout the tournament.

Petra Martic isn’t playing well enough to consider for an outright in this section – pass.

Anastasija Sevastova has a lot of pressure on her this fortnight, defending semifinal points from last year. She benefits from the temperature and court speed, however, finds herself in a very tricky part of the draw. Prefer others, especially if Williams looks fit.

Angelique Kerber just hasn’t played enough tennis lately for me to consider her a genuine threat. She is likely to make me look silly now as I know she has the pedigree to go deep, however, I just haven’t seen enough recently to warrant a selection as an outright, especially with her disappointing performance at Wimbledon fresh in the memory.

Qiang Wang is another serviceable player, however, I don’t see her making it out of this quarter considering the quality of some of her opponents. I will pass for this tournament.

Maria Sakkari just hasn’t quite put together all the pieces to make a run at a major, and like Wang, I don’t see that occurring this fortnight. Playing well but requires her opponents to be off a touch to be able to capitalise. Happy to watch early given a first-week meeting with Barty.

Ashleigh Barty doesn’t quite have the form you would hope for to lead into the US Open, but she does need to be respected, nevertheless. Odds look about right though given the strength of the quarter and the potential need to play Williams to win the quarter. Prefer others at their prices.

Summary

There aren’t any standout selections from pre-tournament prices, however I have settled on a lower confidence pick of two players at their current prices. The player that stands out from the top half is Simona Halep, who should be able to make the most of a relatively weak quarter. I think she has what it takes to defeat Andreescu and go deep into the fortnight.

From the bottom half, a player that should benefit from the conditions, as well as her draw, is Elina Svitolina. She showed she could make it to the last 4 at Wimbledon and has the potential to do it again this time with suitable conditions. She will need to be at her best, however her price does look large compared to others.

I don’t see any players that will make a run like Strycova at Wimbledon; however, I would keep an eye on Blinkova/Osaka in round 1 for a potential upset alert which could shake up the top half.

Outright Selection

Simona Halep

Trading Selection

Elina Svitolina


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