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Thursday, 28 August 2014

US Open Day 4 Picks 2014 (August 28th)

So suffice to say that Day 3 at the US Open was a strange one for the picks with two of the matches ending in the void column thanks to retirements, while the two completed matches saw one find a way to lose when it looked like it would win and the other find a way to win when it looked like heading in a losing direction.

It does mean that Day 3 turned a positive number, but it was a long way to get to that point.

Day 3 was also notable for a number of big name players exiting the draw as the heavy wind that usually accompanies the US Open were evident, especially earlier in the day. A couple of players escaped with final set wins and the Second Round will be concluded on Thursday as the tournament begins to pick up some pace.

Kei Nishikori - 6.5 games v Pablo Andujar: One of the top players in the men's game that I don't have full trust in is Kei Nishikori, especially when it comes to these big number of games to cover.

Nishikori's serve won't intimidate too many people and that means he has to work harder to hold on to that aspect of his game and I do think that has contributed to some of the health issues he has had. The Japanese star has to stay out on the court longer than necessary as he is forced to dig deep at times, but I do like the match up with Pablo Andujar.

Andujar also has a serve that needs protecting so Nishikori will have the chance to recover any breaks of serve, while I also feel the hard courts are going to favour the higher Ranked player. Andujar is just 7-17 on the hard courts over the last two seasons, and there is little doubt the Spaniard feels more comfortable on the clay courts.

That should give Nishikori enough of an edge to come through with a 76, 64, 62 win.

Sam Querrey win 3-1 v Guillermo Garcia-Lopez: Once seen as the future of men's American tennis, Sam Querrey has struggled with injury and form and now lies just 57 in the World Rankings.

He struggled through in five sets in the First Round, but has been given time to recover from those exploits and Querrey has matched up well with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the past.

I was surprised to see Garcia-Lopez dismiss Yen-Hsun Lu so comfortably in the First Round, but he has lost all four matches against Querrey including in three sets in Winston Salem last week. The bigger serve and heavier shots lie with Querrey, although I have noted that the last three matches between the players have needed all gone the distance.

Those came in best of three set matches and it wouldn't surprise me if Querrey needs four sets to see off Garcia-Lopez here after splitting the first two sets played.

Victoria Azarenka - 4.5 games v Christina McHale: You'd have to be a fool to not recognise that we haven't seen the best of Victoria Azarenka since her injury issues at the start of 2014 and it is the main reason she has dropped to number 17 in the World Rankings.

She has struggled for consistency since returning to the Tour and made heavy weather of her First Round win, but I think Azarenka can find things a little more straight-forward against home hope Christina McHale on Thursday.

McHale has struggled against some of the better players she has faced in recent weeks, but she was inspired enough to take Ana Ivanovic to three sets twelve months ago here. However, McHale really had to battle deep within herself to win her First Round match and I am interested to know how much she left out there.

It was a double bagel for Azarenka when these players last met and, while I expect this will be much more competitive, I think she can move through with a 64, 63 win in this one.

Ekaterina Makarova - 5.5 games v Polona Hercog: Ekaterina Makarova was one of the more frustrating players on the WTA Tour as she seemed to have all the talent to perform better than she was. Outside of the Australian Open, Makarova made sporadic impacts on the Tour, but her recent form suggests that could be changing.

Only the biggest names on the WTA Tour have prevented Makarova from going all the way in tournaments during the summer hard court swing and her 23 hard court wins already this season has surpassed what she managed in each of the last two seasons.

This is a much more confident player in the midst of her best season on the Tour and I think Makarova can use her power to get past Polona Hercog in this Second Round match. Makarova dismissed her in the First Round twelve months ago and Hercog hasn't had much success on the hard courts coming into the US Open.

Hercog did surprise with her First Round win but it is unlikely that she can back that up here against an in-form Makarova ad I like the latter to come through 64, 62.

Eugenie Bouchard - 4.5 games v Sorana Cirstea: I don't know whether we can read too much into Sorana Cirstea's First Round dismantling of Heather Watson as that was down to as much poor play from the Brit as quality stuff from Cirstea.

I think the Romanian will find a lot tougher against Eugenie Bouchard despite the struggles the latter has had in the summer hard court swing. It feels like Bouchard is finding it hard to motivate herself in the 'smaller' tournaments after her success in the Grand Slam events in 2014 and I am expecting another big showing.

Despite some of the terrible beatings Bouchard has suffered over the last six weeks, she still should have enough consistency to force Cirstea to search for a little more. I also feel Cirstea has struggled to back up wins all season and she hasn't done that since the French Open, while looking set for her fewest wins on the Tour since 2011.

Both are heavy hitters so the second serves could take some punishment in this Second Round match, but I do think Bouchard digs deep enough for a 75, 63 win.

MY PICKS: Kei Nishikori - 6.5 Games @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Sam Querrey Win 3-1 @ 4.00 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Victoria Azarenka - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Ekaterina Makarova - 5.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Eugenie Bouchard - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)

US Open Update: 1-3, - 3.5 Units (8 Units Staked, - 43.75% Yield)

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