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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

US Open Tennis Day 9 Picks 2016 (September 6th)

We have reached the Quarter Final stage of the US Open which means that it is one court tennis from now on through to the Final for the Singles competitors.

With the roof fixed over Arthur Ashe Court, it means there will be no real delays and that means we will be getting the Sunday finish. Who will be competing in the Finals this weekend is yet to be decided, but Serena Williams made it clear she is ready with the way she has breezed through the draw so far.

I can't believe she has only faced a single break point all week at the US Open as she looks to win the final two Grand Slam events of 2016 and surpass Steffi Graf on the all time list at the same time. Right now I am finding it tough to imagine anyone beating Serena Williams with the way she is playing, but she has also not had the really difficult, testing match that Serena usually faces in the course of seven matches in the Grand Slam matches.

The men's draw still looks more open to me with some of the big names on the Tour in the Quarter Final even though both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are missing. It is going to be fun to see how that draw pans out in the coming days over the last seven matches.

Angelique Kerber - 5.5 games v Roberta Vinci: I had to really think about this match and how I think it would go because I respect how well Roberta Vinci has played here this week especially after reaching the Final in Flushing Meadows in 2015. The Italian has enjoyed plenty of successful runs at the US Open and will be confident she can beat anyone here when looking back at beating Serena Williams.

However I am leaning towards Angelique Kerber having a little too much in this Quarter Final and eventually wearing down Vinci and being able to cover this big number on the handicap.

As well as Vinci has played, Kerber has arguably the best win when seeing off Petra Kvitova in straight sets. This will be the toughest match Vinci would have faced this week and she has to find a way to protect a limited backhand which is going into the Kerber forehand and I am not sure she can do that for long enough to stick with the German.

Neither player possesses the biggest of serves, but I think Kerber's tactics will be to go into the backhand as often as possible where she is not likely to be hit by a huge number of winners. Having that wing to attack to take control of rallies and start dictating points will give the potential World Number 1 the chance to come through with a 75, 62 kind of win.

Caroline Wozniacki - 4.5 games v Anastasija Sevastova: The rumours continue to circulate that Caroline Wozniacki is on the verge of retiring from tennis and the feeling is that it is allowing her to play with the freedom of mind she wouldn't have had in past Grand Slam events. Failing to win a Grand Slam doesn't make it a bad career, but Wozniacki is one of the poorer World Number 1 players in recent times although this has looked a very good week for her so far.

After battling through the First Round, Wozniacki has looked very good in the last three Rounds to move into this Quarter Final. There is a real opportunity for Wozniacki to make it through to the US Open Final, but the headlines are not just going to be dominated by the former World Number 1.

While her future looks to be bringing a retirement, Anastasija Sevastova has returned to the Tour from an enforced retirement and is enjoying a stellar tournament. Beating top 20 players like Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta will have given Sevastova plenty of confidence, although dealing with a first Grand Slam Quarter Final is never easy mentally.

The Sevastova run has been surprisingly considering her lack of form on the main Tour in hard court matches prior to the US Open. She will need to control her unforced errors against an opponent that will run all day to make every ball back in play but I can see a situation where both players have plenty of break points, but Wozniacki uses all of her experience to come through 63, 64 and move onto the Semi Final.

Gael Monfils - 6.5 games v Lucas Pouille: One of the best matches at the US Open was the Lucas Pouille five set win over Rafael Nadal, but the challenges keep coming as he faces compatriot Gael Monfils in the Quarter Final. It is arguable that only Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will be feeling more confident of their chances of winning the US Open than Monfils and I am looking for him to cover a big number in this Quarter Final.

That is no disrespect to Pouille, but I am not sure how he can recover from playing three consecutive five set matches. He is a shot-maker, but Monfils is a fine athlete who will get plenty of balls back in play and I also think Monfils possesses the more consistent serve.

At some point you have to think all of the tennis that Pouille has played will come back to haunt him. It happened at Wimbledon where Pouille had big wins over Juan Martin Del Potro and Bernard Tomic in consecutive Rounds before tiredness set in against Tomas Berdych in the Quarter Final.

The same might happen in this Quarter Final as Monfils has freshness on his side and I think he will start frustrating Pouille as this match goes on. The Pouille serve can be attacked and I will look for Monfils to wear him down in a 75, 64, 63 win.

Novak Djokovic - 6.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: This has to be the strangest run in a Grand Slam for Novak Djokovic through his career with only two completed wins to reach the Quarter Final. Some may think he is undercooked, but I think Djokovic would have welcomed the rest and he didn't look rusty when dismissing Kyle Edmund as easily as he did.

This time Djokovic can't rely on an inexperienced opponent to make a slow start as Edmund did in the Fourth Round because the World Number 1 is taking on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. This is a player that can compete with the very best players on Tour when bringing his best to the court, although I do think Tsonga will need to be better than he was in his win over Jack Sock.

There wasn't much between Sock and Tsonga through the first three sets and someone like Djokovic is a better player who can get plenty of serves back in play. The issue about backing Djokovic is trying to figure out how the arm and elbow is feeling as that has weakened the serve and it is an area that Tsonga has to try and target especially when he is seeing second serves.

However the glaring weakness on the backhand wing means Djokovic should be able to neutralise rallies by going into that wing even though he isn't feeling at 100%. I just haven't been as impressed with Tsonga as the scores suggest I should be because he has been winning the big points but that is not sustainable when giving up as many opportunities on the serve and now taking on one of the best returning players of all time.

They did have a really close match at Indian Wells which was decided 7-6, 7-6 in favour of Djokovic. However it was only missed opportunities that didn't make life easier for Djokovic and I am looking for him to come through with a 76, 63, 63 win in this one.

MY PICKS: Angelique Kerber - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Caroline Wozniacki - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Gael Monfils - 6.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 6.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Victor (2 Units)

US Open Update: 32-33, + 4.58 Units (122 Units Staked, + 3.75% Yield)

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