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Thursday, 7 September 2017

US Open Tennis Day 11 Picks 2017 (September 7th)

This trip to New York City has been a memorable one already having seen some quality matches on Arthur Ashe Stadium the last couple of days and also meeting Maria Sharapova when having dinner one night with my wife.

It may have all been topped off on Wednesday night when I got to meet Carmelo Anthony and having the chance to have a brief word with him as well as a photo.

I honestly don't think I will ever have a better holiday than this one has been.

The women's Semi Finals are played on Thursday in the evening session and that means I am only really going to have a chance to watch part of the matches as I will be flying back home later this evening.

Four American women in the Semi Final line up has to have been a long shot at the start of the tournament and all four left will believe they are good enough to get things done. It should be two good matches, but I have to say I am leaning to the two favoured players to get it done. You can see why I am leaning that way below.

Venus Williams - 2.5 games v Sloane Stephens: First up on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday will be the two women who won their Quarter Final matches on Tuesday as Sloane Stephens takes on Venus Williams. On Tuesday Stephens was helped through to the last four by a vocal crowd in support of her, but it may be a little different on Thursday with the sentimental favourite likely to be Williams.

Both players came through a final set tie-breaker in their Quarter Final matches, but there was a different feel about both. While it does feel like Sloane Stephens needed a bit of luck in her win, Venus Williams looked to be the much stronger player compared with Petra Kvitova and could have got it done in straight sets if she had been a little more clinical in the second set she dropped.

The numbers certainly seem to be favouring Venus Williams who has been serving really well but backing that up with aggressive returning. The one poor serving day came against Carla Suarez Navarro and it does have to be said that Sloane Stephens is as good a mover as the Spaniard but with more firepower off the ground.

That makes Stephens a dangerous opponent and I do think she has been returning well enough to cause some problems for Venus. There is no doubt that Stephens has used her return game as the foundation of her successes throughout this summer, but facing someone who can serve as effectively as Williams is a huge challenge for her on that side of her game.

It is likely to be magnified if Stephens continues to blow hot and cold on the serve as she has been. Four of her five opponents in this tournament have won at least 41% of the points behind the Stephens serve and now she faces an opponent in Venus Williams who has been able to really dictate points against the opponent serve very effectively.

Sloane Stephens has beaten Venus Williams in a Grand Slam before at the 2015 French Open, but this surface should suit Williams much more. The conditions looked to have warmed up again in New York and I think Venus Williams will be able to get more out of her serve which helps her move into a third Grand Slam Final in 2017.

Madison Keys - 2.5 games v Coco Vandeweghe: This is a huge match for both Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe with the chance of making a real breakthrough at the highest level by reaching a maiden Grand Slam Final. Getting to the Final and potentially winning the US Open could see either one of these players begin to fulfil the potential so many believe they have.

Tension is likely to be play a key part in the match, but I do think the big serving both Keys and Vandeweghe rely on can help them settle into the match. The chance to win points with one or two strokes is a great way to try and control the obvious nerves which will exist with both players recognising the opportunity that is in front of them.

The fascination of the match comes from the fact that neither player is the best returner, but I think Keys has perhaps shown a little more over the course of several months than Vandeweghe. I feel that can be an important distinction between the players and one of the reasons I give Keys the edge.

The other factor has to be the two wins Keys has had over Vandeweghe on the hard courts this past six weeks. She beat her in the Final in Stanford and followed that up with another win in Cincinnati ten days later and I think that does give Keys the mental advantage. While the return statistics were similar in the first match, the second match saw Keys have a much better read of what was coming her way and I think she can build on that in the second Semi Final to be played on Thursday.

Those two matches were tight affairs with the serving that both players can provide proving to be the key and I think this match has every chance of needing two tight sets or potentially three sets to decide it. I can see serving dictating things for much of the evening but eventually I am looking for the Keys superiority in both serve and return to come through and make the difference on the day.

Backing Keys to win this one and cover this number for the third time against Vandeweghe this summer is the call. I wouldn't be surprised if the total games is covered too with the serves likely to dictate matters, but I will simply look for Madison Keys to win and cover the number here.

MY PICKS: Venus Williams - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Madison Keys - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

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