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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

US Open Day 2 Picks

Day 1 turned out to be a very solid start to the tournament for followers of the picks as all 3 came in for a profit.

We also saw Petra Kvitova become the biggest casualty as she was beaten in straight sets in her match, while there were plenty of questions raised about Maria Sharapova who struggled in her 3 set win over Heather Watson.

On to Day 2 Picks:

Sabine Lisicki - 6.5 games vs Alona Bondarenko: This is a fairly big spread to cover, but I think the German who made such an impact at Wimbledon will be able to do so on her current form.

Lisicki won in Dallas last week and she didn't lose more than 3 games in any of her 5 straight set victories. She even beat Kateryna Bondarenka, Alona's sister during that run.

Alona Bondarenko missed a large chunk of the early part of the season, and she has not been in the best of form recently with easy defeats at the hands of Serena Williams and Marion Bartoli.

Bondarenko won their only previous meeting her at the US Open in 2008 but if Lisicki is in form off the bat, I can see her coming through this match with a 6-3, 6-1 scoreline and cover the spread.

Double; Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Sara Errani and Elena Baltacha vs Jamie Hampton: Svetlana Kuznetsova is a former US Open Champion, but she has not been in the greatest form having lost early in Toronto and New Haven during the Summer tournaments. However, she plays an opponent who has lost 4 of her last 5 matches and has lost all 3 previous meetings against the Russian.

Elena Baltacha faces a young opponent and should still have enough to see her off for the 2nd time in a Grand Slam this season. The British player is not the most reliable of players to back, especially considering she has a losing record on the year, but she did reach the 2nd round here in 2010 and faces an inexperienced player.

Hampton has played a couple of tournaments since the French Open, losing in a Final of a Challenger event held in Vancouver and being knocked out at the qualifying stage for Dallas last week. She will receive plenty of support from the crowd being an American, but I think Baltacha may be just a little too consistent and could win this in 3 sets, as she did in Australia.

Double; Juan Ignacio Chela vs Marinko Matosevic and Nicolas Mahut vs Robert Farah: Juan Ignacio Chela is in the twilight of his career but I still think he should be good enough to see off his Australian challenger today.

Chela does come into this match on a 3 match losing run, but he already beat Matosevic at Wimbledon in June and does play an opponent that has won just 3 of his 12 hard court matches at this level in 2 seasons.

Matosevic has not played since losing in the qualifiers for Montreal, but defeats to the likes of Alex Bogomolov, Yen-Hsun Lu and Clement Reix in recent weeks suggest Chela should be too strong.

Nicolas Mahut should get plenty of support as he is a well known figure in the States after THAT match with John Isner at Wimbledon 2010. He is another player that is coming to the end of his career, but his serve-volley style could cause plenty of problems for his opponent.

Robert Farah may have an edge considering he qualified for this event, but this will be only his 2nd match at this level and he has not pulled up trees on the Challenger circuit so I think Mahut will be too good for him, even if it takes 4 or 5 sets.

Ernests Gulbis vs Mikhail Youzhny: I am picking the underdog in this match because I think the odds are the wrong way around.

Ernests Gulbis is one of the most talented, yet underachieving, players on the tour, but his recent win in LA had him pushing for more. Losses to Mardy Fish in Montreal and Ivan Dodig in Cincinnati can be forgiven (although the latter a lot less so), but he has a real chance against Mikhail Youzhny who has been struggling.

Youzhny has lost both his matches played on the hard courts this Summer, although he overcame similar form when reaching the US Open Semi Final last year.

Gulbis may have a mental edge in the match too, winning their last 2 meetings and I think that mental edge may help him win this match.

Fernando Verdasco to win 3-1 in sets vs Jarkko Nieminen: This is a pick I am making because while I think Verdasco will win the match, his mental lapses in recent matches makes me think he will drop at least one set against a player that will fight for every point.

Verdasco has talked about how much he enjoys the best of 5 set matches as it gives players more time to recover losing situations- I took that as meaning he can recover when he throws in one of his weird sets of tennis as he is prone to do.

Including last seasons US Open tournament, Verdasco has gone 10-4 in Grand Slam events; of those wins, Verdasco has only won 3 in straight sets.

Nieminen is not the player of the past, but he is still capable of playing some inspired tennis and pushing opponents in matches. He has lost in 4 sets in 2 of the 3 Grand Slams he played this season.

The players are 2-2 in previous meetings, but it is Verdasco who has won the last 2 they have played.

David Ferrer - 7.5 games vs Igor Andreev: I have already picked David Ferrer to come out of this section of the draw, but I do think he is worth chancing on the spread considering his recent record against Andreev.

Ferrer has won their last 3 meetings, taking 7 sets and losing 1, including two big wins on a hard court in Dubai and a clay court in Buenos Aires.

Igor Andreev is a better player than his ranking suggests, but he doesn't seem to have the heart for the game and can quickly lose focus and belief when falling behind.

That kind of mentality is the last thing you would want to do against an opponent like Ferrer who will play every point like it is the last of the match and I think the Spaniard will first break his heart and then win with a bit to spare.

MY PICKS: Sabine Lisicki - 6.5 games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Double; Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Baltacha @ 2.25 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Double; Juan Ignacio Chela and Nicolas Mahut @ 2.46 BetFred (1 Unit)
Ernests Gulbis @ 2.14 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco @ 3.75 Sporting Bet (1 Unit)
David Ferrer - 7.5 games @ 1.91 Pinnacle (2 Units)

US Open Update: 3-0, + 5.99 Units

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