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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

US Open Day 9 Picks 2013 (September 3rd)

The rain that had been forecast in New York over the weekend finally arrived on Monday, and the day ended with the departure of Roger Federer in yet another surprise defeat at Grand Slam level.

It has been a tough seven months for Federer on the Tour and there are some real indications that his age is finally catching up with him as the former World Number 1 begins to slip down the Rankings. While he has always said that he will keep playing as long as he enjoys tennis, there are only so many defeats you can take against players you would have beaten comfortably in your prime and I do feel Federer is getting to that point.

Over the last two months, he has lost to three players that were Ranked outside the top 100, has failed to reach the Quarter Finals at his two favourite Grand Slams where he has had so much success in the past and has also dealt with a back injury.

It might just be time for Federer to call it an end of the season and review how he is going to make improvements for 2014 because he won't be someone that will want to turn up at these big tournaments with little to no chance of being in contention for the title. That may mean taking the next five months to either stay off the competitive Tour and practice wholly with the new racquet he had been trying out this summer, or alternatively take part in the tournaments with the expectation he will lose more matches as he gets used to the new head size that he was using.

There is no doubt that he has to make some sort of change, because he is no longer considered a real credible Grand Slam winner and that won't be a comfortable feeling for the player that has more of those titles than anyone in the men's game ever.

I don't want to rule out Federer going forward, but I have said before that I don't envision him winning another Grand Slam- I would hate for him to retire in the form he is displaying meaning I hope Federer does get round to sorting his game out with the new racquet likely to be a help rather than a hindrance in the long-term, while I have little doubt that he would call it a day if he was to win another Grand Slam as going out on the top would help him emulate Pete Sampras.

I've just read some of the comments from Federer's press conference after that defeat and it seems we are on the same line of thinking: he admitted that he is not worried about matches at the moment but getting back to training and improving his form/confidence and I do believe that is the right step to take.

With the way the draws have panned out in both men's and women's events, there does look to be a lack of really intense Quarter Finals developing. Of the course the top half of the men's draw have their Quarter Final line up completed on Tuesday so there is at least one potentially good viewing Quarter Final that can be made, but overall it has been a tournament that has lacked the drama and intensity that the US Open usually provides.

The picks will be up shortly once the full markets are released and plenty of time before the action begins on Day 9.

Lleyton Hewitt v Mikhail Youzhny: These two veterans are unlikely to have too many more opportunities to reach the Quarter Final of a Grand Slam event and that will make this Fourth Round match a little more tense.

It has been a strong tournament for both Mikhail Youzhny and Lleyton Hewitt with both players winning surprise matches against the likes of Tommy Haas and Juan Martin Del Potro respectively.

Hewitt has had the best of the matches between the two in their career and I think that is down to the fact that the Australian's level of play will rarely fluctuate as much as Youzhny's. It is that play that may eventually prove too strong for Youzhny again, even if I do think the Russian has played the better tennis of the two this week.

This won't be a straight forward win for either player no matter who comes through and there will be twists and turns as neither has a dominant serve and I would expect to see a few breaks of serve in the match. However, the value is on Hewitt to find a way to come through the match with the added consistency being the difference in what could be the most interesting match at the US Open so far.

Tomas Berdych win 3-1 v Stanislas Wawrinka: The best match of the Fourth Round, at least on paper, is between Stanislas Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych and if their previous meetings are anything to go by, this is going to be a fascinating match to watch.

It is Wawrinka that has the 6-5 lead over Berdych in the head to head having won 4 of their last 5 matches and the Swiss man also has a 3-1 head to head lead when it comes to matches on the hard courts.

With that in mind, he looks vastly under-rated in the match market and I certainly think this is a tougher match to call than the layers may do. Both players have played well over the last eight days of the tournament and both have had their success at the US Open in the past.

The match up is a good one for both players and it will really come down to which of them can impose their game their best on the other and which one will be able to produce the most consistent tennis at the critical time. I just have a feeling that Berdych is going to have a little bit too much in the tank in this one and he has won the two biggest matches they have played against one another including in the Davis Cup earlier this year.

I would be extremely surprised if anyone runs away with this one, but I think Berdych shows a little more toughness at the critical time and comes through in four.

Andy Murray win 3-1 v Denis Istomin: This match will all depend on which side of the bed that Denis Istomin got up on in the morning as he can either be very good and push some of the better players on the Tour, or he could crumble in a very one-sided loss.

Istomin showed some heart to come through the last Round against Andreas Seppi and he will certainly be capable of causing some problems for Andy Murray if he puts in the same level of performance that took Novak Djokovic to three sets in Montreal.

The Uzbekistan player has the serve and the belief to certainly make this a more interesting match than the layers are expecting, although it also has to be said that Murray looks like a man with full confidence of having won two of the last four Grand Slams and reaching the Final in another event.

Murray makes life so awkward for opponents, but he can sometimes be guilty of losing focus while he will also give Istomin some chances with his serve which can blow hot and cold at times. The most likely result is a Murray win in straight sets, but if Istomin comes out in the form he showed in Montreal, he could take a set but I wouldn't expect more than that.

Victoria Azarenka - 5.5 games v Ana Ivanovic: I didn't get involved in this game yesterday as the layers weren't offering the best price on this market, but that has changed in the last 24 hours.

Victoria Azarenka has the consistency and the power to give Ana Ivanovic all the problems in the match and she has won the last 3 matches between the players with two of those matches being fairly straight forward.

The other issue for Ivanovic is getting control of her serve- if she can't find the right toss and she begins struggling, this is an area that Azarenka will dominate and really take it to the Serb. Getting over the spread will depend on who wins the key points as Azarenka's serve will also be attacked by Ivanovic with the power that the latter possesses too and like many women's matches, I expect to see plenty of breaks of serve.

Out of the two players, Azarenka has been in the better form and has had more success at the US Open- she is also the better player and as long as she can win a couple of key points on her own serve, I expect her to come through 64, 62.

Na Li - 4.5 games v Ekaterina Makarova: All of the attention in the women's tournament has been taken up by Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, but one of the most in-form players over the last ten days is Na Li who has come through four Rounds with the minimum of fuss.

Li has not dropped a set so far in the tournament and only Laura Robson managed to take more than 3 games in a set against the Chinese player. Now she faces Ekaterina Makarova, a player she has beaten in all three previous matches but one who should have some confidence after also making her way through the draw without dropping a set.

It has been tougher for Makarova who has only won one set by a scoreline better than 64 and now she will face an opponent that can match her power off both wings and is a more consistent player. I expect Li will be able to get the better of a lot of the rallies and I expect her to come through 63, 64 in this one and book her place in a Semi Final most likely against Serena Williams.

Serena Williams - 7.5 games v Carla Suarez Navarro: This is a lot of games to be giving away at the Quarter Final stage, but Serena Williams should be able to dominate this match in almost all aspects and I would expect her to swat aside Carla Suarez Navarro in this one.

With spreads like these, it can only take a small lapse in concentration for a player to fail to cover, but Serena Williams has dominated her two previous matches against Suarez Navarro and there isn't a lot of areas where I feel the Spaniard can at least get things going.

The power of Williams, the big serve and the ability to crush winners off a return of serve means she has all the tools to dismantle Suarez Navarro on the faster hard courts. Williams has won all four sets they have previously played against one another and has lost a grand total of five games in those sets.

Another performance as she had against Sloane Stephens in the Fourth Round will likely be too much for Suarez Navarro and I would expect Williams to win this 62, 62.

MY PICKS: Lleyton Hewitt @ 2.45 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Tomas Berdych win 3-1 @ 4.00 Sporting Bet (1 Unit)
Andy Murray win 3-1 @ 4.33 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Victoria Azarenka - 5.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Na Li - 4.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 7.5 Games @ 1.75 Bet Victor (2 Units)

US Open Update: 23-29, - 7.65 Units (87 Units Staked, - 8.79% Yield)

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