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Monday, 5 September 2016

US Open Tennis Day 8 Picks 2016 (September 5th)

The US Open will put together the last eight places to be had in the Quarter Finals on Monday as the remaining Fourth Round matches are completed. There are some really big names who have already made the Quarter Finals and this should mean we are in for a really fun week as the final Grand Slam event of the season begins to wind down.

Juan Martin Del Potro win 3-1 v Dominic Thiem: It is still hard to imagine that anyone would have a serious issue with Juan Martin Del Potro receiving a Wild Card for the US Open, especially as he has continued the form that took him to the Olympic Silver Medal just a few weeks ago. Here in Flushing Meadows he has looked even more comfortable and the big shots Del Potro possesses has helped him through to the Fourth Round without too much trouble.

Del Potro is yet to drop a set and it is ironic that the most vocal criticism of his Wild Card spot came from an American Steve Johnson who he dismissed easily in the Second Round. The same ended David Ferrer's tournament, but the challenges will get more difficult now beginning with the first top 10 player he is meeting in the draw.

However there will be no intimidation factor for Del Potro who believes he should be considered amongst the leading contenders to win the US Open and he has beaten Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the Olympic Games. Dominic Thiem is having a really good season and has all the potential in the world when it comes to prospective Grand Slam successes himself, but he did get pushed aside when meeting on the clay courts of Madrid earlier this year.

As much as I like the Thiem game, he has to find more consistency behind the serve and is still a little loose in those games which can cost him sets. Against a front runner like Del Potro it could be those silly breaks of serve which can cost him matches, much as it did in Madrid in a match that Thiem might feel he should have won. He will need to play the big points well, but I believe this surface does suit Del Potro more than Thiem and I am looking for the big man to wear down his opponent through bludgeoning winners and heavy returns.

Thiem is not someone who will give up easily though and he might steal a set, but I am looking for Del Potro to move onto the Quarter Final behind a four set win.

Stan Wawrinka - 7.5 games v Illya Marchenko: Going to match point down, but coming back to win the match and moving into the Fourth Round might be the key to Stan Wawrinka finding the momentum to win his third Grand Slam title. It was almost a huge upset as Wawrinka struggled to put away Daniel Evans from Great Britain, but he has had a day to get ready for this match with Illya Marchenko who was the beneficiary of Nick Kyrgios' withdrawal from the tournament in the Third Round.

This means Marchenko will be making a considerable move in the World Rankings, but he won't want the tournament to end just yet. The Ukrainian might not have been able to ask for too many more favourable draws than the one he has negotiated to get into the Fourth Round and he will need to raise his levels significantly to beat Wawrinka.

It does have to be noted that Wawrinka has been faced with the tougher draw, but his win over Evans should have given him plenty of confidence. I am not a fan asking Wawrinka to cover big numbers in these Grand Slam events as he tends to be a little loose at times knowing he has the time to get back into matches, but I think he shouldn't be put under immense pressure by the game Marchenko brings on the court.

Marchenko will allow Wawrinka to hit through the court and try to defend as much as possible, although that didn't work in a one-sided loss when these players met at Indian Wells. It wasn't the best of summers for Marchenko on the hard courts and I think Wawrinka might just have been given a chance to re-focus and I will make a rare decision to ask the Swiss player to cover what is a big number.

Kei Nishikori win 3-1 v Ivo Karlovic: At 37 years old, Ivo Karlovic is the oldest man to reach the Quarter Final at the US Open since Jimmy Connors did the same in 1991. On that occasion Connors did manage to get to the Semi Final, but Karlovic is going to be a fairly big underdog to do that when he faces Kei Nishikori on Monday.

You have to love the Karlovic mentality to bounce back from a poor start to 2016 to produce the tennis he has over the last couple of months since Wimbledon came to a close. Winning plenty of matches has filled up the confidence meter and Karlovic is extremely dangerous especially when that serve is working as it has been.

There are signs that Karlovic has lost a little step in his ability to get up to the net, but producing bombs from the service line has helped him get through any sticky moments he has had. However he is now going to be dealing with the Nishikori return which is the strength of his game and that might see Karlovic being forced to make some difficult shots at those key moments instead.

Even with that in mind, Nishikori's serve is a weakness and I wouldn't be surprised if Karlovic is able to sneak a set in this one. With the chance of seeing one or two tie-breakers, Nishikori can be a little sloppy at times behind serve which can see Karlovic pull away and take a set. I am not sure Karlovic has enough to make consistent volleys from tough spots like Nishikori will demand of him and I will have a small interest in the higher Ranked player to move through in four tough sets.

Andy Murray win 3-1 v Grigor Dimitrov: If this match had taken place a couple of years ago, I think there would have been considerable excitement around it. I am still looking forward to the match between Grigor Dimitrov and Andy Murray in the Fourth Round, but it would be seen as a really big upset if the former is able to come through and win.

I have mentioned for a little while that Dimitrov looks to be turning his career back around and he will have been really pleased with the way he has come through the draw. Dimitrov did beat Murray in Miami too and he has matched up well with the World Number 2 in previous matches which does make me think he can win a set in this one.

I did consider looking to simply back Grigor Dimitrov to win a set, but I do think the most likely outcome from this match is a four set win for Murray if that doe happen. Murray was pushed to the limit in the Third Round against Paolo Lorenzi, but he has been in fine form for some time and that confidence will likely see him come through some sticky moments in this Fourth Round match.

Dimitrov has won a set in five of the last six matches between these two players and no one should have forgotten his win over Murray at Wimbledon. However at this moment of their careers, I think Murray will be able to pick himself from a dropped set and move into the Quarter Final thanks to a four set win.

Yaroslava Shvedova + 6.5 games v Serena Williams: As soon as I saw the number of games being given to Yaroslava Shvedova I couldn't help feel it was too many. Going against Serena Williams isn't always easy because everyone knows the current World Number 1 is able to breeze through any opponent when at the top of her game, but I like what Shvedova will be able to bring to the court.

While she can't match the power that Serena will bring to the court, Shvedova is a player that can fill up the confidence tank in these Grand Slam events and that allows her to play a little freer. Shvedova has a decent first serve, is not a bad returner and can shorten points by getting to the net and putting pressure on her opponent to pass her consistently.

I can understand why the layers are still asking Serena to cover this big number because she has been serving incredibly well through the first three Rounds. None of her opponents have broken her serve, but even more impressive is the fact that Serena Williams has faced just ONE break point all week.

If she is serving as effectively again then Serena Williams will win this one convincingly enough. However I think the Shvedova style of play means she will have better luck than the previous three opponents have had against Serena this week and she can make enough plays to get within this number.

Carla Suarez Navarro + 4.5 games v Simona Halep: This is the eleventh time Carla Suarez Navarro and Simona Halep are playing one another on the main Tour and the previous ten matches have been split five apiece. The last of those came almost eighteen months ago and the form of recent weeks means Halep is considered a big favourite.

She has definitely been producing more consistent results than Suarez Navarro on the hard courts. However this has been a really strong week for the Spaniard so far and I expect that will have given her the belief she can win a match of this magnitude. That won't be easy for Suarez Navarro who will have to work hard to look after her own serve in this match, but I also think she is playing well enough to pressure the Halep serve.

You do have to give Halep the edge when it comes to being a little better moving around the court and consistent enough with her groundstrokes to break down the Suarez Navarro defences. The forehand battle will likely be dominated by Halep, but it is the Suarez Navarro backhand that can be very penetrative through the court and put her opponent under the cosh.

I do think Halep will win the match, but I feel this might be a lot of games for her to cover. My only concern is that she has been able to pull away against Suarez Navarro in their most recent hard court matches, but this time I will look for the Spaniard to keep it competitive for long enough to make these games count.

Agnieszka Radwanska - 5.5 games v Ana Konjuh: On first glance this might look an awful lot of games for Agnieszka Radwanska to cover, but I think she has the defensive skills to frustrate Ana Konjuh. They did play at Wimbledon and it turned out to be a really competitive match, but I am looking for Radwanska to keep the pressure on through the match this time.

Both players have won a lot of matches in the last couple of weeks, but I do wonder if Konjuh is going to be able to deal with the occasion with a Quarter Final spot on the line. Players with similar styles to Radwanska have proven too good for Konjuh this summer and more often than not she has struggled to stay with them and thus failed to cover even if she was given numbers as big as this.

Personally I find it hard to trust Radwanska fully because she is capable of throwing in an awful performance from time to time. That happens when players have the power to hit through her, while the serve can be erratic and if either of those things occur in this one it will be difficult for Radwanska to cover.

However I do think Konjuh has had a good draw which she has taken advantage of and I expect Radwanska learned a lot about her when they met two months ago at Wimbledon. That should mean a better idea as to how to deal with Konjuh and I think Radwanska wins this one 75, 62 to move into the Quarter Final.

MY PICKS: Juan Martin Del Potro Win 3-1 @ 4.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Stan Wawrinka - 7.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori Win 3-1 @ 3.75 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Andy Murray Win 3-1 @ 4.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Yaroslava Shvedova + 6.5 Games @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)
Carla Suarez Navarro + 4.5 Games @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Agnieszka Radwanska - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

US Open Update: 31-28, + 10.58 Units (112 Units Staked, + 9.45% Yield)

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