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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

US Open Tennis Day 10 Picks 2016 (September 7th)

The first Semi Final matches in both the men's and women's draws was put together on Tuesday, but I always felt the best Quarter Final matches would be played on Wednesday.

While on Tuesday I felt there were some overmatched opponents taking on the bigger names, on Wednesday I think we are seeing the kind of big matches you would expect at the end of Grand Slam events. I hope those matches live up to the expectations, especially the two night session matches scheduled for Wednesday evening on Arthur Ashe.


Andy Murray - 6.5 games v Kei Nishikori: I really took my time analysing this Quarter Final match and I was surprised the layers were as keen on the Andy Murray win as I am. It was a shame that Murray was so good against Grigor Dimitrov which might have influenced that, although the bigger factor may have been the strong record Murray has against Kei Nishikori.

This has been the tournament where Nishikori has had his best result though which encouraged me to think he can at least take a set in this one. However Nishikori has found it difficult to compete with Andy Murray which has resulted in four straight losses to the World Number 2 as well as losing three of those matches in relatively straight-forward fashion.

I can see why Murray has a dominant record against Nishikori- the British player possesses a far more threatening first serve which gives him a few more cheap points, while I think Murray is physically stronger than Nishikori. This allows him to outlast Nishikori in the longer, grinding rallies and I also believe Murray is going to work his way to many more break points which he should be taking on current form.

I did think this was a lot of games for Murray to cover if Nishikori brings in the form that took him to the Final at the US Open in 2014. However he has not been able to produce that level for long enough against Murray and I can see the latter getting over this number even if he is pushed to four sets because I think the World Number 2 will win at least one set with a 6-1 or 6-2 scoreline to start making a big dent in the number.


Juan Martin Del Potro - 1.5 sets v Stan Wawrinka: It is no surprise that the organisers have placed this men's Quarter Final as part of the night session on Wednesday as it looked the best of the four in this year's US Open. I might be biased as a big Juan Martin Del Potro fan, but I think most would have been so happy to see him getting back to his best, while we all know what kind of tennis Stan Wawrinka can produce when feeling the ball coming off his racquet.

Their match at Wimbledon a couple of months ago was very intriguing, but this one has a lot more attached to it with a prize of reaching the Semi Final for the winner. Del Potro has admitted he has surprised himself that he has been able to reach this Round of only his second Grand Slam back from an injury which has limited the tennis he has played in the last few years.

However this run has been less of a surprise for his fans as Del Potro looked close to his best in beating Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at the Olympic Games. Del Potro gave Andy Murray all he could handle in the Gold Medal match and he will be feeling very confident that he can see off the two time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka.

I can only foresee a match with plenty of big time tennis and winners being shot around the court, but I do think Wawrinka has invested a lot of energy to get into the Quarter Final. A niggling back issue prior to the tournament won't have been helped and Wawrinka has played some loose service games which will lead to punishment against someone serving as well as Del Potro is.

We have all seen Wawrinka raise his game at the business end of tournaments, but I don't know if there is enough in the tank to do that against an opponent he has lost to four times in a row including at Wimbledon a couple of months ago. The way Del Potro has been playing means his confidence is in a strong place and he did benefit from a shortened Fourth Round match and I think The Tower of Tandil moves through in three or four sets.


Ana Konjuh + 3.5 games v Karolina Pliskova: There are over eighty places in the World Rankings between Karolina Pliskova and Ana Konjuh, but both will be dealing with nerves in this Quarter Final. It won't surprise to hear this is the first Quarter Final for Konjuh after coming through her first ever Fourth Round match in a Grand Slam, but it is more surprising to think the last Round was the furthest Number 11 in the World Rankings Pliskova had been in a Grand Slam match.

Her win over Venus Williams will only have filled the confidence meter even more for Pliskova who has a big game that should be well suited to these courts. The serve is a big weapon and she does follow that up with a heavy forehand, but Pliskova has to be feeling the nerves in a match she will be expected to win.

That will only increase the nerves and pressure that is going to be on Pliskova's shoulders, but it is still up to Konjuh to make life difficult for her opponent. She is very young and even though Konjuh has been tipped for plenty of success in her career, dealing with Grand Slam Quarter Final nerves comes with experience.

The win over Agnieszka Radwanska was impressive from Konjuh, but this is a different match up with plenty of firepower on the other side of the court. There hasn't been a lot to suggest this run was in the offing for Konjuh, but I think the youngster can produce enough big shots to make this a competitive affair, while I will also look for Pliskova to perhaps allow her nerves to betray her on occasion as she is forced to dig deep into a third set to get the job done and book her place in the Semi Final.


Serena Williams - 4.5 games v Simona Halep: This might be the biggest test that Serena Williams will have faced in Flushing Meadows so far, but she is making light work of all opponents thanks to an incredible serve which has been dominant. It is hard to imagine players on the men's side of the draw and some of the monster serves in that draw going through four matches without facing more than a solitary break point.

How do you beat Serena Williams if you are barely denting the serve? Someone like Simona Halep may feel she has the best return of all the players Serena has played so far and will look to use her movement around the court to retrieve as many balls as possible, but the first four matches has shown a Serena who is very confident in her abilities to win her twenty-third Singles Grand Slam title.

It has been a very productive summer for Simona Halep and she has played well this week, but her serve is not going to provide as many cheap points as Serena Williams' serve will. She is going to have to work hard to stay with Williams, but the heavy hitting will eventually penetrate her defences and that means trying to fend off break points knowing you won't have too many chances to break yourself.

That pressure builds mentally and I think Halep will do well to keep this one close. They have had some competitive matches over the last two years and Halep has been in strong form having won the title in Montreal and reached the Semi Final in Cincinnati. However Serena Williams has been at the top of her game all week, is serving tremendously well and has the power to hurt Halep and I expect her to come through with a 63, 64 win in this one.

MY PICKS: Andy Murray - 6.5 Games @ 1.83 Coral (2 Units)
Juan Martin Del Potro - 1.5 Sets @ 2.25 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Ana Konjuh + 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

US Open Update: 35-33, + 10.60 Units (128 Units Staked, + 8.28% Yield)

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