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Sunday, 4 September 2016

US Open Tennis Day 7 Picks 2016 (September 4th)

The US Open had been a good tournament over the first few days, but it hadn't really had the drama we would all be looking forward to seeing. That changed on Saturday when Stan Wawrinka came back from match point down to beat Daniel Evans and move into the Fourth Round in what was the best match played in Flushing Meadows so far.

It will be interesting to see how much that has taken out of the Wawrinka tank although the other school of thought is that the two time Grand Slam winner is now a big danger through the rest of the draw.

One Seed who did go out on Saturday was Nick Kyrgios and I think his reaction was telling when having to withdraw thanks to an ongoing hip injury. Tears were evident as it became clear to Kyrgios he was not going to be able to continue so all his haters who think he doesn't care will have to rethink their view of the Australian.

Kyrgios might not always express his frustrations in the best way, but I have little doubt he wants to be the best he can on the court and I just believe something needs to click to get him to get push for everything he can give. Withdrawals like this one can be eye-opening for the future and might just be the spark to make sure Kyrgios is putting in all the practice he should be.

We are onto the Fourth Round matches at the US Open with half of the Quarter Finals decided on Sunday as the second week of the tournament gets underway. The bigger matches will be coming together now as we build towards the two Finals to be played next weekend.

Gael Monfils - 6.5 games v Marcos Baghdatis: After a strong summer on the hard courts, Gael Monfils has produced three quality wins in Flushing Meadows this week to quietly move into the Fourth Round. His form has looked incredible to be perfectly honest and the exit of Milos Raonic from this section has placed Monfils as the favourite to get through to the Quarter Final.

His match with Marcos Baghdatis should be a fun one to watch for the neutral but I think Monfils does have a significant edge in the contest. His serve is working well enough to set up the short points and the superior movement around the court is going to make it difficult for Baghdatis to try and hit through the Frenchman.

The other problem for Baghdatis is he doesn't get a high enough percentage of first serves in play which means Monfils should be able to get involved in the return games. Once again his superior athleticism should pay off in those rallies and I think Monfils is going to be far too good for Baghdatis in this one.

They met in Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago and it was Monfils who ran through a second set after winning a tight first one. I think something similar with transpire here as Monfils comes through a tight initial set and then make life a little easier with a 75, 63, 63 win.

Jack Sock + 2.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: The previous best performance Jack Sock has had at a Grand Slam was at the French Open last year when reaching the Fourth Round. 2016 has arguably been the best set of Grand Slam results put together by the American and I think there is every chance that he can set a new career best Grand Slam Singles performance at the end of this Fourth Round match.

Sock is now the last American in the men's draw at the US Open, but his confidence is going to be at a really high level having beaten former Champion Marin Cilic in straight sets on Friday. It isn't like Cilic has been in poor form as he came in as the Cincinnati Masters Champion too, but Sock was a dominant winner and has looked very strong in the last two Rounds after battling past Taylor Fritz.

With the serve working effectively it is giving Sock a chance to dictate rallies behind the heavy forehand he possesses. I do worry about the backhand wing, but he protected it superbly against Cilic and he won't be hurt in backhand to backhand exchanges against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

You have to credit the run Tsonga has had at the US Open as he has dropped one set in three Rounds at Flushing Meadows. He has been serving strongly too and beat an awkward Kevin Anderson in straight sets in the Third Round to give himself a confidence boost after a difficult summer since Wimbledon.

It is going to be a match with plenty of big shots from both men, but I am surprised Sock is considered as big an underdog. Tsonga does have the 'name' that casual fans will recognise, but he was defeated by Steve Johnson in Cincinnati and Sock is in fine form to win this one outright. Even if this goes deep into the match, I like the chances of Sock keeping it close even in a loss which means I will back him with the games to continue his fine form in Flushing Meadows.

Johanna Konta - 4.5 games v Anastasija Sevastova: The women's draw has looked very open from the very beginning of the tournament and someone like Johanna Konta has to feel she can get very close to winning it all. Aside from one very concerning  moment in the Second Round against Tsvetana Pironkova, Konta has looked really strong and the conditions in Flushing Meadows seems to suit her down to the ground.

This is a big test for Konta against Anastasija Sevastova who is going to be full of confidence having come through three Rounds without dropping a set. Sevastova has been the underdog in the last two Rounds and the standout win over Garbine Muguruza is going to make her a threat to beat anyone in the draw.

On the other hand, Sevastova had not shown a lot of positive form in preparing for this tournament and Muguruza has struggled for form since winning the French Open. She had been just 4-5 on the hard courts in main draw matches this season before winning three matches in New York City and Sevastova is going to be under pressure by the Konta serve which has been an effective shot through the tournament.

I do think Konta is the more consistent player and she will be able to wear down Sevastova in this Fourth Round match as the British player looks for another Quarter Final run in a Grand Slam in 2016. At times there will be break points for both players, but Konta can eventually hold herself together for long enough to win this match 75, 63.

Roberta Vinci - 3.5 games v Lesia Tsurenko: After reaching the Final at the US Open in 2015 I still don't think there would have been too many out there backing Roberta Vinci to make it through to that stage again. However the Italian has come through the first three Rounds so effectively that Vinci will be building confidence to perhaps make yet another surprising run.

The Vinci game has been working well in Flushing Meadows again and I think she is going to have a little too much for Lesia Tsurenko in the Fourth Round. It has been a good run for Tsurenko too having come through two out of three matches as the underdog and she is another player who hasn't had a lot of wins on the hard courts in main draw matches before the US Open.

Last year was stronger for Tsurenko, but I think she is going to have work out what is coming from the other end of the court. The slice off the backhand and the ability to get forward to the net helped Vinci bamboozle Tsurenko when they played in Doha earlier this year.

I have no doubt this one will be closer than the 6-1, 6-2 win that Vinci produced then as Tsurenko should be feeling better about her game. However I do think Vinci is feeling her tennis this week and I believe she comes through with a 64, 64 win and another place in the US Open Quarter Final.

Angelique Kerber - 3.5 games v Petra Kvitova: This has to be the best Fourth Round match of the day between Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova, two players who have a genuine chance of winning the US Open title. The winner will likely be the favourite to come through the bottom half of the draw, but this is going to be a big battle and other players in the section will be hoping the winner has something sapped out of them from the losing player.

This should be a really good match to watch, but I am leaning towards Kerber being a little too solid at the big moments for Kvitova. I do think Kvitova is arguably in her best form of 2016, but she is going to be forced to hit plenty of big shots to break down the Kerber defences and I do wonder if she is capable of doing that for two hours.

Both have the lefty serve so they will know how to deal with the return a little more effectively too and I just give the edge to Kerber for her ability to defend better than Kvitova and also use her superior movement around the court. While the Kerber serve can be vulnerable at times, I think she is going to be able to defend that shot if she can get enough first serves in play and look for an aggressive Kvitova to make some mistakes.

Kerber has won the last two matches between these players and while they have been competitive for a while, the German has covered this number in both wins. I think she is going to be slightly stronger mentally at the big moments and overall has enough of an edge to come through with a 36, 62, 63 win and move into yet another Grand Slam Quarter Final.

MY PICKS: Gael Monfils - 6.5 Games @ 1.91 William Hill (2 Units)
Jack Sock + 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Johanna Konta - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Roberta Vinci - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Angelique Kerber - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

US Open Update: 28-26, + 9.48 Units (102 Units Staked, + 9.29% Yield)

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