Before moving on to the US Open preview I’ll just give a quick rundown on last weeks ATP Tour tennis action at Winston-Salem and there was a potential NextGen future star fighting it out against experienced veteran and eighth seed Johnson in Saturday’s final and it was the young Russian who emerged victorious on this occasion, extending his head-to-head against Johnson to 4-1 and this was his second ATP 250 tournament win of the season after landing the title at Sydney back in January.
On to this week’s action and we have the fourth and final Grand Slam of the season the US Open, which gets underway at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadow in New York, USA today and we look set for a fascinating and highly entertaining fortnight of world class tennis, especially as we have the Big Five of top-seed and three time winner Nadal, second seed six time champion Federer, sixth seed and two time winner Djokovic and Murray and Wawrinka are dangerous floaters who both won the title, are all back in action and this elite group has won eight of the last ten US Open titles between them. There’re also former winners, third seed Del Potro and seventh seed Cilic, fifth seed and 2017 finalist Anderson and twenty first seed and 2014 finalist Nishikori lining up which makes it even more competitive.
There will also obviously also be some established emerging NextGen players pushing their more experienced illustrious opponents as mentioned above all the way this fortnight and while not one of this group of young players has made the breakthrough at Grand Slam level yet, it’s far from an impossibility and the US Open has been the breakthrough Slam for quite a few of the world’s best ever players so there’s no reason why that won’t occur again on this occasion. Some of the NextGen stars to potentially make a breakthrough this fortnight and reach the second week could be fourth seed Sascha Zverev, who resides in Federer’s, Cilic’s and Djokovic’s half of the draw comes in to this year’s tournament flying under the radar somewhat having not won any of the hard-court tournaments leading up to this week, which may not be a bad thing.
Ninth seed Thiem always must be respected at this level even though hard courts are not his best surface as he has the game to blow any player off the court on his day. Fifteenth seed Tsitsipas has shown this year he’s a future top-10 player and potential multiple Slam winner and world number one. British number one and sixteenth seed Edmunds and Croatian number two Coric both have the game to make the second week, however, their form’s been hit and miss this year but don’t right him off making a good run this fortnight. Finally 23rd seed Chung has already proved what he’s capable of at Slam level at his best reaching the Aussie Open semis this year but injury has hampered his year since then and he’s just started to give off signs recently that he might be returning to his best very soon and if so he’s definitely a player to follow on hard courts for the remainder of the year.
Looking at the statistics over the last decade the top-seed has a good record at the US Open over the last decade winning four titles during this period (last Nadal 2017) and they were a losing finalist three times during this period (last Djokovic 2016), which bodes well for Nadal's chances of winning a fourth US Open title this year. The second seed also has a decent record over the last decade winning the title twice (last Nadal 2013) and they were a losing finalist three times in this period (last Federer 2015), which is a positive sign for Federer. Seeded players in general have a very strong record at the US Open over the last decade and a player seeded player no higher than fourteen won the last ten titles, a player seeded no higher than six won nine of the last ten titles and, a player seeded no higher than twenty eight was a losing finalist the last ten finals and a player seeded no higher than six was a losing finalist eight of the last ten finals.
From an outright tournament betting perspective past statistics suggest siding with a seeded player no higher than six who is a proven top-class performer at this level on hard courts, and ideally has prior history of winning the tournament. Top-seed Nadal appeals the most given his form but with Djokovic back on top and a more competitive field than last year his price does not interest me from a betting perspective. While wouldn’t back Nadal at the prices it does not mean I’m going to oppose him with a player from the top-half of the draw as none of them look like beating Nadal on current form.
While Djokovic is looking back to his best and looks the most likely player to meet Nadal in the final you may be interested in Sky Bet Straight Forecast market Djokovic to beat Nadal @ 8/1, which if you’re not interested in backing Nadal and Djokovic separately like me might interest you. Third Seed De Potro is tempting at the prices as he’s had his best season in a long while and as a former winner he knows what it takes to win this title but he’s in Nadals half of the draw and that enough to put me off backing the gentle giant on this occasion.
Fourth seed Sascha Zverev has added Murray’s former coach Lendl to his team and if he’s working with him full-time this fortnight it will be interesting to see how he get’s on with having the added insight of a former top player in his camp. If this is the case I expect improvement but I’m not sure if it will bring about immediate success as these partnerships sometimes take a while to gel. Fifth seed Anderson will no doubt go well again as he’s been in good form so far this year, but he’s drawn to meet Nadal in the quarters and I think that’s as far as he gets this year.
Eleventh seed veteran Isner is experiencing his best year on tour winning his first
Masters 1000 Series at Miami back in March, reaching first Grand Slam semi-final at
Wimbledon and then not long after working hard and impressing winning the firs hard court
tournament of the US Open Series Swing at Atlanta. His recent results at Washington, Too
and Cincinnati were below his best but i believe he’s been taking it easy, so he is fresh and hopefully at full fitness, so he can mount a serious challenge this year but the safer option with Nadal and Djokovic near their best could be backing Isner (10/1) To win the Second Quarter which he can easily do if he plays his best tennis this fortnight.
Another player who can spring a few surprises this fortnight and is more than capable of reaching the quarter finals or better is twenty fifth seed Raonic (50/1) who resides in the top-half of the draw. He warmed up well reaching the quarter finals at Cincinnati recently where he lost a nail biting three setter against eventual winner Djokovic and a repeat of that level of form or anywhere near his best, make him a lively outsider.
Finally, as a former winner and one of only a few players in the bottom half of the draw who are capable of beating the likes of Djokovic and Federer on this stage over the best of five sets I think seventh seed Cilic (20/1) is worth siding with as he’s in good enough form, knows what it takes to win this title and if he can play anywhere near as well as he did in 2014 he has an outsiders chance of making the final a week on Sunday.
Cilic Win (20/1)
Raonic Win (50/1)
Isner to Win Second Quarter (10/1)
Bedene vs. Basilashvili Over 37.5 Games
Lajovic vs Dzhumur Over 37.5 Games
Istomin to beat Johnson (41/13)
Donskoy to beat Medvedev (49/18)
Four-timer accumulator above four selections (47/1)