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Thursday, 10 September 2015

US Open Day 11 Picks 2015 (September 10th)

It has been a frustrating tournament for the daily picks, but I have to say I am pretty happy that all three picks made to potentially win the US Open are not just still alive, but looking in very good shape to do that.

Serena Williams and Roger Federer have looked strong in the tournament, but Simona Halep's win over Victoria Azarenka means she is one more win away from reaching the Final and bringing in a decent return from the outright picks made at the start of the event.

Unfortunately it hasn't been the case for the daily picks as I have struggled to get the consistent results I have been looking for, although part of the problem has been the up and down performances players have been producing.

Petra Kvitova was a set and a break up and three service holds from bringing that pick in as a winner, but suddenly looked like she was exhausted and running on fumes. That gave Flavia Pennetta the belief she could turn the match around and duly booked her place in the Semi Final here for the second time in her career.

For the outright picks it was nice to see Simona Halep come through her Quarter Final, but I can't believe how much things had changed from her Fourth Round win over Sabine Lisicki. Halep had struggled remarkably with her movement in that match and I was stunned to see some of the movement she displayed in the Quarter Final.

With a little over twenty four hours rest, Halep will go into her Semi Final against Flavia Pennetta as the favourite, but I can't quite believe the turnaround in her fitness issues in such a short period of time. I think Victoria Azarenka has to be kicking herself too though having missed early chances to really put a marker down, although the rain seemed to come at the right time for Halep to regroup.

The Romanian admitted that the rain had come at a good time for her, but it was an impressive victory that was unexpected considering how bad she looked on the court just a couple of days earlier.

And then we got to the Kevin Anderson match against Stan Wawrinka when you would think so many things were going for the lower Ranked player that you're expecting a really good match to develop. Instead Anderson put in a truly limp display in the 64, 64, 60 defeat as he couldn't make half the shots he did against Andy Murray and perhaps the performance in the Fourth Round should have been seen as his peak rather than the beginning of perhaps a special tournament.

However, Anderson had a very good record against Wawrinka having won the last four matches between them since the beginning of 2014 and the latter hasn't exactly been playing perfect tennis this week so I couldn't for the life of me pick Wawrinka to win this one in straight sets. It just summed up how the US Open has gone with players being unbelievable one day and truly awful the next and I know I am not the only one that has struggled for consistency in the event.

On Thursday the two Women's Semi Finals are played on Arthur Ashe in the evening before the Men's Semi Finals take place on Friday. To be perfectly honest, there hasn't been too many really big matches at this Grand Slam and the four Semi Finals don't look the most appealing outside of the all-Swiss meeting between Wawrinka and Roger Federer.

The event just simply hasn't sparked into life and there have been a handful of really high quality matches, but I am hoping the final four days at least bring more to life. The perfect matches left would be Serena Williams versus Simona Halep and Novak Djokovic versus Roger Federer in the Women's and Men's Finals respectively, although I am sure the other four players left in the tournament will have something to say about that.

Serena Williams - 6.5 games v Roberta Vinci: This is a huge number for anyone to cover in a two set Semi Final in a Grand Slam, but Serena Williams might go from strength to strength now she has got through her most vulnerable Rounds. The emotion of beating sister Venus Williams is a tough match to come back from, but Serena Williams has already had to deal with that once at a Grand Slam this season.

That came at Wimbledon where Serena was a much more comfortable winner of Venus than she was here, and then struggled to overcome Victoria Azarenka in the Quarter Final. However, Azarenka has given Williams plenty of food for thought in matches through this season and I think this match up will be much more like one that Serena can dominate.

She won't be taking Roberta Vinci for granted though having played a tight match against her in Canada that was decided 63, 64 in favour of Williams. It had been a couple of years since Serena Williams had last played Vinci and there is no doubt that the Italian can be a very awkward customer when you haven't seen her game for a while.

The slicing and dicing Vinci employs can rattle opponents, but Williams admitted that seeing her game recently in Canada should aid her in this match. I tend to agree with her as Williams will know what to expect a lot more and should have the power to make sure she keeps Vinci pushed behind the baseline and playing on the defensive for much of the match.

The key for Williams is to clean up some of the errors that crept into her game against Venus Williams, but this opponent won't be able to hit through the court as her elder sister was able to do. Vinci will look to rattle Serena by serving well and looking to extract errors by changing up her variation and attacking the net where possible.

I am not sure that will be enough against a focused Williams who has seen what Vinci is about just last month and I think she does enough to win this by a couple clearer games in a 63, 62 victory.

Simona Halep - 4.5 games v Flavia Pennetta: Flavia Pennetta won the first three matches she played against Simona Halep including at the US Open in 2013 on her way to the Semi Final. That year Victoria Azarenka was too good for Pennetta in the Semi Final but she can use that experience to give Halep a tougher test, although it has to be noted when she beat her two years ago that the latter was still finding her consistency on the Tour.

It would be foolish to ignore the fact that Flavia Pennetta was a big underdog in that match though so she is capable of upsetting the odds. In fact the prices are very similar in that Fourth Round match compared with what we are seeing in the Semi Final so there is a chance that the Italian can dig deep again and beat out Halep to reach her first Grand Slam Final.

However, Halep was a pretty dominant winner over Pennetta when they met at the Miami Masters earlier this season and you know there will be a few breaks of serve in this one. Both players will look to dominate the rallies by pushing and prodding the other around the court and movement is going to be key.

For Pennetta her serve has to be working because Halep punished her second ball in Miami, while Halep also has to keep Pennetta at bay and is always a better player when she feels her serve is working effectively.

I've no doubt that the match will have its swings with both players likely to create a few break point chances and it will come to the fine margins of which one is most clinical when those chances arrive. Halep must have got over a hurdle mentally by beating Pennetta in Miami having lost two matches to her when she was favoured to win and I think she can earn something similar to that result and cover this number of games even though the underdogs have been flying against the handicap throughout this tournament.

MY PICKS: Serena Williams - 6.5 Games @ 1.83 Coral (2 Units)
Simona Halep - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)

US Open Update: 35-34, - 2.35 Units (137 Units Staked, - 1.72% Yield)

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