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Sunday, 3 September 2017

US Open Tennis Day 7 Picks 2017 (September 3rd)

Saturday has been a busy day and Sunday is going to be even busier as I get set to travel to New York City so I can enjoy being at the US Open for a couple of days instead of simply following my favourite Slam on television.

Hopefully the big names remaining in both men's and women's events can move through to the early part of the week, but more pressing is putting together the Tennis Picks from the first half of the Fourth Round matches which are scheduled to be played on Sunday.

Despite being in New York for a few days, I will still be able to post the US Open picks as we reach the latter stages of the tournament. I also am anticipating I will be able to get the NFL Week 1 thread posted either prior to the Thursday Night opener (if I have a selection from that game) or otherwise it will simply be posted on Saturday evening/Sunday morning this week in time for the majority of the games set to take place in Week 1.

Paolo Lorenzi-Kevin Anderson over 33.5 games: The feeling from the layers is that Kevin Anderson is going to blow past Paolo Lorenz in this Fourth Round match at the US Open on Sunday. The big serving South African has been in fine form this past week and he is a healthy favourite to beat Lorenzi, but I am not sure that the latter can't at least be a little competitive.

Lorenzi has already beaten Gilles Muller in the draw so he won't be overawed with having to play another big server. He has also shown some pretty good tennis to come through to the Fourth Round and there is enough about the Lorenzi game to at least think this one can be more of a challenge for Anderson than many believe.

The serve from Anderson is very impressive and I think that could be the weapon that not only sees him produce his best result in a Grand Slam, but may also take him to his first ever Grand Slam Final. In this half of the draw it certainly is feasible for that to happen and the Anderson numbers behind his serve have been very impressive.

It should be another strong showing from Anderson behind serve, but Lorenzi has been returning far more effectively this week than he has when playing on the hard courts this season. Coupled with a better serve than most would expect from Lorenzi and he certainly is capable of pushing for a couple of tie-breakers if not taking at least a set from Anderson in this one.

Pushing out a couple of tie-breakers would mean only a serious collapse in the third set would prevent this number of total games being covered. That would be a moot point if Lorenzi is able to take a set as I am convinced he does not win this in straight sets and I do think this number of games is perhaps a couple short of where I would have put the line.

I do think Lorenzi has played well enough to take a set and force Anderson into a real match, but I will play the total games market and look for these two to get together and surpass that.

Lucas Pouille-Diego Sebastian Schwartzman over 38.5 games: The bottom half of the men's draw at the US Open may have been decimated in terms of Seeds and 'big name' players but that has meant there is always the likelihood of seeing some competitive matches in the second week. All four matches to be played in the men's event on Sunday look to be very tight affairs and this one between Lucas Pouille and Diego Sebastian Schwartzman has every chance of going the distance.

While there are some big things expected of Pouille who has reached two Grand Slam Quarter Finals, this may still feel like the best chance he can have of taking the next step in his career and reaching a Grand Slam Final. For Diego Sebastian Schwartzman I fully expect the Argentine to believe he will not have a better chance to reach a Slam Final and I think that is going to make this a nervy Fourth Round match for both.

The way they both play has all the hallmarks of a match that ebbs and flows and I do think there will be plenty of break point chances. Neither Pouille or Schwartzman have the overpowering type of tennis that can blow the other off the court although it is the Frenchman who should have the superior serve on the day.

Off the ground Schwartzman will feel he can match what Pouille can produce but the serve remans a vulnerability and you simply don't know how nerves will affect the two players knowing how open the bottom of the draw is.

Picking a winner looks really difficult as far as I am concerned as I think you can make a real case for both players. What looks a little easier to predict are the tight sets and a match that is unlikely to be concluded in straight sets for either player.

With that in mind I do think there is every chance the total games could be surpassed in this men's match. There haven't been too many epic five setters at the US Open at the time of writing, but this does feel like it could be one and I think a tight match is going to occur.

Sam Querrey-Mischa Zverev over 40.5 games: Zverev was expected to be the leading contender to make the US Open Final from the bottom half of the draw, but it was younger brother Alexander and not Mischa that was expected to be there. However Mischa Zverev is the one who is still in the draw and he has every chance of making the Final after upsetting John Isner in the Third Round.

It was an all round performance from Zverev to see off Isner and I have to say that I am surprised by how much of an underdog he is in this match. That says a lot about the way Sam Querrey has been playing with the strong serving he is known for being backed upby some really strong returning and far more effective play from that side of his game.

You just don't expect to see Querrey being able to not only make his returns, but following that up with some consistent play from the baseline. He has been getting into the net too and I think Querrey is playing the most confident tennis of his career as he looks to reach the latter stages of yet another Grand Slam after a strong showing at Wimbledon.

Zverev will test the returning with a big serve backed up by a serve-volley game that players don't see very often these days. He won't getting passed once or twice and Zverev will keep coming and asking questions of his opponent, while the win over Isner shows he can handle the home crowd and the huge serving that he will face again.

Getting to the net behind the lefty serve makes Zverev a danger and I am going back to the total games market in a match where you would think serving is going to dominate the landscape. Zverev showed in the last Round that he can break the big serves he faces, but I think Querrey will give him more trouble than Isner was able to and I would be surprised if this is a match that doesn't need four sets, at least, to separate them.

I have to say I have a lot of respect for how well Querrey has returned so far this week, but breaking the Zverev serve is a different test than the limited servers he has faced. Therefore I expect tie-breakers to be a key in this match and I am looking for both players to have their moments at key times to see them win at least one set each. Doing that should see the total games covered here.

Maria Sharapova - 4.5 games v Anastasija Sevastova: The Fourth Round of the women's event to be played on Sunday look far more appealing than the men's matches as far as the casual fans will be concerned. There are big names playing in matches throughout the day and arguably the biggest is Maria Sharapova who is back on Arthur Ashe again despite the criticism some of her peers had of that.

I've never really looked at Sharapova as someone who will be bothered by what people think but instead she has been talking about how much she is enjoying being in New York City at the US Open. Her form has been decent through the first three Rounds, although the perfectionist in Sharapova will know there needs to be an improvement if she is going to really have a chance to win the tournament.

One of the key areas has to be the serve, either by improving the first serve percentage or by getting more out of the second serve. If Sharapova can do that, then she has every chance of winning another Grand Slam title here at the US Open, but the opponents will get a little better now and certainly will be playing with plenty of confidence.

Anastasija Sevastova has flown under the radar here at the US Open mainly because she did not play that well on the hard courts in Toronto or Cincinnati. While 2017 has been a very good year for Sevastova, the hard courts have been a little bit more of a challenge for her and I think that is going to be highlighted during the course of this match.

The numbers show that Sevastova has been slightly weaker behind the second serve and slightly poorer on the return of serve when it comes to matches on the hard courts. Those small changes can make a big difference in the results and I think Sevastova could be put under pressure by the really strong Sharapova returning which has laid the foundation for her success so far this week.

I can see a few breaks of serve for both players, but I think Sharapova may just own the better first serve numbers to get out of trouble a little more than Sevastova. With the way she has been returning, I will look for Sharapova to find a 7-5, 6-3 win and move into the Quarter Final on Tuesday.

Venus Williams - 3.5 games v Carla Suarez Navarro: Matches between Carla Suarez Navarro and Venus Williams have been very competitive over the years and the head to head is only 4-3 in favour of the American. That is something of a surprise as you would think the Williams game is matched up well with the Suarez Navarro one with the additional power likely to favour Venus Williams, but the battling Suarez Navarro has been able to surprise.

Confidence won't be an issue for Suarez Navarro going into the match with three solid wins behind her at the US Open, although the form prior to the tournament was not really indicating this run was going to happen. I think the Spaniard has been a touch fortunate in playing opponent against whom she has enjoyed plenty of success in the past, but you can't underestimate the fighter she can be.

You also can't ignore the fact that Williams is a player whose age means the consistency is not what it once was and her movement to the net is slightly slower than in her prime. That should mean Suarez Navarro is able to have her chances in the match when the rallies go into the fifth shot and later and that is what makes this as fascinating a match as I think it can be.

However I do think Venus Williams has been playing well enough to get into the Suarez Navarro serve with the return being a key to her runs to the Final in the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Returning well will be so important for Williams especially against an opponent who can sometimes fall apart when things begin to unravel for her.

Some of the losses Suarez Navarro suffered on the hard courts these past few weeks have seen her drop a set with a couple of breaks of serve given away. I can see one of the sets played on Sunday being highly competitive, but I can see Venus Williams running away with another one and I am looking for the veteran to work her way past this number of games on the handicap.

Sloane Stephens - 2.5 games v Julia Goerges: While most of the headlines from a 'comeback' player are being created by Maria Sharapova, I still think the Sloane Stephens return deserves equal billing at the very least. After a long term injury, Stephens has played really well in Toronto and Cincinnati and continued that run by flying under the radar at the US Open.

Stephens is once again in the second week of a Grand Slam, but it has to be a big surprise to her and her friends and family that she has yet to be scheduled on Arthur Ashe. Being an American should mean Stephens gets priority for one of those marquee spots, but it just goes to show the kind of names that are in the same half of the draw that she hasn't been despite the other three women's matches set for Ashe on Sunday

You have to think Stephens won't be worrying too much about the court she is playing on at the moment with the form being as good as anyone in the draw. Her wins have been impressive this week with strong numbers being shown both on serve and return and I think the confidence really has been filled up to full capacity.

The American beat Julia Goerges in Cincinnati last month and she is favoured to do the same against a dangerous opponent. Goerges has a big serve and heavy groundstrokes and she can be very difficult to stop when she gets on a roll especially when she strings the wins together in a tournament.

The returning numbers produced by Goerges have been stunning in the tournament and this is a player who reached the Final in Washington and Quarter Final in Cincinnati to show she can be more than competitive. Goerges has lost just ten games in three wins this week and I do think she will have her big moments in this one.

However this is a match up that Stephens hasn't minded in the past as her superior movement means she can turn defence into attack quickly while also forcing an inconsistent Goerges to hit one more ball than she would perhaps like. This could be a little closer than when they played in Cincinnati, but Stephens has been a good player to back for me in this tournament and I will look for her to come through with another win and cover in the Fourth Round.

Garbine Muguruza - 3.5 games v Petra Kvitova: If you have only got time to watch one tennis match on Sunday, I would perhaps pick the one between Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza as the one to go with. Two players who have multiple Grand Slams under their belts already will always make the headlines, but it also feels the winner of this match is going to be very tough to beat before the Final next Saturday.

Neither player has dropped a set so far in the draw and Kvitova has begun to match the dominant wins that Muguruza has been producing throughout the tournament. While Kvitova has only lost the 17 games in three matches, Muguruza has been even more impressive with just 10 games dropped so far.

It also means Muguruza has won her last eight matches in a row and she is way more confident after winning Wimbledon than she was after winning her first Slam at the French Open in 2016. The return of serve has been a huge weapon for the Spaniard and I think that is going to be the difference maker in this match against an opponent who is still not back up to 100% after the horror injuries she suffered at the hands of an intruder at the end of last year.

The consistency is still not where Kvitova would want it to be and I do think Muguruza will challenge her far more than Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia were able to do. To be fair to Kvitova, the win over Garcia was very impressive and will have built some confidence, but this is an opponent who is speaking with every belief she can go on and win another Slam in 2017.

Muguruza should be able to exert plenty of pressure with the power she can generate which can match what Kvitova is sending to her from the other side of the court. If she is serving as well as she has been during her eight match winning run, Kvitova may find the pressure a little too much to cope with and she may just have a tough day in the office like she has in recent losses to Sloane Stephens and Shuai Zhang.

After plenty of big hitting and some flashy winners from both sides of the court, I do think Muguruza is going to be able to keep it going a little longer and helping her come through with a 7-6, 6-3 win.

MY PICKS: Paolo Lorenzi-Kevin Anderson Over 33.5 Games @ 1.91 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Lucas Pouille-Diego Sebastian Schwartzman Over 38.5 Games @ 1.86 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Sam Querrey-Mischa Zverev Over 40.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Maria Sharapova - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 3.5 Games @ 1.85 William Hill (2 Units)
Sloane Stephens - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Garbine Muguruza - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

US Open Update: 26-25, - 0.66 Units (100 Units Staked, - 0% Yield)

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