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Monday, 4 September 2017

US Open Tennis Day 8 Picks 2017 (September 4th)

The Quarter Final line up at the US Open will be put together by the end of Day 8 at the tournament and it has to be said that this event looks very open with question marks about anyone you really fancy to win the final Grand Slam of the season in either the men's or women's events.

The tournament has also been a difficult one to read when it comes to the Tennis Picks, but things have turned into a positive going into the second half of the US Open. Hopefully that momentum continues through the remaining Fourth Round matches and put this tournament into a position to end with some strong results.

Rafael Nadal win 3-1 v Alexandr Dolgopolov: There are plenty of negative stories around Alexandr Dolgopolov at the moment with some real questions as to whether he has been involved in 'match fixing' both in recent weeks and with previous incidences also beginning to take more scrutiny. There has been an angry response from Dolgopolov with the media, despite not really saying anything to ease those allegations, but the Ukrainian is trying his best to change the headlines with his play on the court.

He has been in fine form at the US Open on his run through to the Fourth Round, but Dolgopolov now faces the big challenge of facing Rafael Nadal, the favourite to win the men's tournament. The way Dolgopolov played in dismissing Tomas Berdych is clearly the best performance he has produced and the decision making has been much better than normal.

The flashy game and being able to hit some big groundstrokes should give Dolgopolov some chance against Nadal who has been a little inconsistent in his own matches. Slow starts have become a real concern for Nadal, although it has to be said that he was unfortunate to find himself a set down to Leonardo Mayer in the Third Round.

Nadal has been able to go through the gears in the first three Rounds after disappointing opening sets and come through relatively comfortably. However he has dropped the first set in two matches in a row which has to be taken into consideration despite a dominant record against Dolgopolov.

I do think the way Nadal has seen players being able to hit through him in New York City will be an issue unless a drastic improvement is made. However he has shown plenty of grit to turn matches around when needing to work out some problems and I can see this match going in a similar way.

I would not be surprised if Dolgopolov is able to play his brand of tennis effectively enough to take a set in this one and I did consider the total games being surpassed. However this is the toughest test Dolgopolov has had this week and I do think Nadal is going to be too strong by the end of the two hours they spend on the court. The Spaniard has only dropped sets to Dolgopolov in the two matches he has lost to him, but this time I will have a small interest in Nadal being able to turn things in his favour and win his third straight match at the US Open in four sets.

Dominic Thiem v Juan Martin Del Potro: One of the best looking matches of the day comes from the men's Fourth Round when top ten Ranked Dominic Thiem takes on former US Open Champion Juan Martin Del Potro. This is the second year in a row that these two players will meet at the US Open and the fans will be hoping that there won't be a retirement as we saw in 2016 when Thiem had to pull out.

There are always questions about Thiem's fitness in the second half of the season because of his scheduling and amount of wins he is able to generate in the first half. With better scheduling this is a player that is more than capable of winning matches on any surface and Thiem is a definite threat to Del Potro in the Fourth Round.

The layers feel the same with the Argentine the slight favourite, and you can see why with Del Potro flying under the radar this week and having won all three matches without dropping a set. The big serve and heavy forehand is an obvious threat, but the backhand remains vulnerable as the restructured wrist makes it tough for Del Potro to generate the same power he could when winning the title here in 2009.

He is also facing one of the best backhands on the Tour and Thiem has to feel he has a considerable edge when they get into those battles. The challenge for Thiem will be finding a way to deal with the other big weapons Del Potro has, although Thiem has served and returned effectively enough this week to feel confident.

Neither player came into the US Open in great form, but both will feel good about their chances in this one. The surface may give Del Potro a slight edge, but I think Thiem is perhaps as fit as he ever has been going into the US Open and I am going to back the youngster to earn his biggest win at this tournament.

It would not surprise me if this match also sees the number of games surpassed with the possibility of this needing four long sets and perhaps even a fifth set needed. However I like Dominic Thiem being able to find a way to get through this one and I will back him as the underdog to move into the Quarter Final.

Roger Federer - 6.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: There won't be no secrets between Roger Federer and Philipp Kohlschreiber with these two friends also practice partners off the Tour as well as playing for the twelfth time on the Tour. All eleven previous matches have been won by Roger Federer and the 19 time Grand Slam Champion looked at something like close to his best in the Third Round.

After questions about his fitness coming into the US Open and two tougher than expected matches, Federer was much more positive about how he is feeling when dismissing Feliciano Lopez in the Third Round. He looked much freer in his overall movement and I have to think that Federer is beginning to get up to full speed as we get into the second week of the US Open.

It has been a good tournament for Kohlschreiber too as he has yet drop a set and should be plenty fresh with one of the matches cut short due to a retirement. That freshness has to give him some confidence against an opponent he has never beaten, but this all feels like a match that may end up in a routine victory for Federer.

There will be some decent points and some where Kohlschreiber gets the better of Federer, but overall you have to think that the latter is going to be a little too good at key moments which makes the difference in the match.

Federer and Kohlschreiber have only met twice before in a Grand Slam and the last time came at the US Open in 2015. On that day Federer won 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in a routine Third Round match and I would not be surprised in any way if we get an almost identical scoreline. The margin should be repeated at least and I will back Federer to win a second match in a row in straight sets and cover the game handicap that has been placed by the layers.

Coco Vandeweghe-Lucie Safarova over 22.5 games: There is going to be so much to enjoy when Coco Vandeweghe and Lucie Safarova meet in the Fourth Round at the US Open with two big hitting players likely to match up well with one another. That big hitting makes it tough to pick a winner with the layers also struggling.

You can see the problem they are having- Vandeweghe should be the one who is able to dictate things more than Safarova, but her game is blighted by inconsistencies while she has been beaten in the last three matches she has played against the Czech player.

That includes a three set loss in Indian Wells back in March despite the numbers favouring Coco Vandeweghe on the day. She was just not good enough when it came to the break points that day as she went 1/10 compared with Safarova who was 3/6 and the latter won the match despite winning fewer return points than Vandeweghe.

Those numbers are not a sustainable way to win matches, but Safarova will have the mental edge with the three wins in a row against the American. She will have to face the crowd who will be backing Vandeweghe, but Safarova is plenty experienced and she has played well so far to come through the draw in a much more comfortable fashion than her opponent.

The Vandeweghe win over Agnieszka Radwanska was a huge one for the American though and I think she will be plenty of confident and this match looks like a really close one. I think there is every chance we are going to need a deciding set to figure out the winner in yet another of the Fourth Round women's matches at the US Open which have been highly competitive to say the least.

It may get done in two sets, but those are likely to be two long sets and I will look for the players to combine for at least 23 games on the day so I will look for serving to dominate for much of the day. Backing the total games to be surpassed looks like it has every chance of coming in despite the fairly high total being set.

Daria Kasatkina - 3.5 games v Kaia Kanepi: This is already the best performance Daria Kasatkina has had in a Grand Slam and she can continue the breakthrough tournament by reaching her maiden Quarter Final at this level. There are so much expectations about how well Kasatkina can do in her career with the potential she has shown, but that expectation can weigh heavy on a player and I wonder if that is the reason she hasn't really been able to take the next step sooner than she has.

Here at the US Open Kasatkina can fly under the radar with the headlines being taken by the home players who have reached the latter stages in both the men's and women's tournaments, and that has perhaps helped her. The dismantling of French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko in the Third Round was really impressive and Kasatkina could not have asked for a better opponent in the Fourth Round.

That sounds a little disrespectful to Kaia Kanepi who has plenty of power and can challenge the very best players on the Tour. However injury has seen Kanepi's Ranking plummet to outside the top 500 and this is actually the first hard court tournament she has played in two years.

Kanepi had to join the Qualifiers this year at the US Open and she has won six matches to reach the Fourth Round although the best result is perhaps the win over Naomi Osaka. This is a different challenge for Kanepi as Kasatkina will force her to play plenty more balls than someone like Osaka would, while the return game of Kasatkina is a lot more superior than the Osaka one and will force Kanepi to really work hard to win her service games.

That pressure may be what breaks Kanepi as she also has to fight the fatigue of the amount of tennis she has played here over the last ten days after injury knocked her out of the sport for a while. Kanepi has been in fine form in recent weeks, but this is another step up for her on her return and I think Kasatkina is able to wear her down for a 7-6, 6-3 win.

Elina Svitolina v Madison Keys: This is the final match on Arthur Ashe Stadium in the Fourth Round and I have to say that there is going to be a fine line between Elina Svitolina and Madison Keys. The layers sense the same thing and I would not be surprised in any way if this match needs a third set to determine the winner.

However I tend to agree with the layers that Elina Svitolina is going have the slight edge over Madison Keys and I am going to back her to win this Fourth Round clash.

The key differences for me may come from the fact that Svitolina is the superior returner and she has a serve that can give Keys enough work to do to come through the match. One of the problems that Keys has is making enough returns and that will put pressure on her to keep up with her own serve.

While Keys has a serve that can be almost unplayable when feeling her very best, the pressure may lead to a few errors and I do think Svitolina has shown she can return with the very best on the WTA Tour. I expect her to make enough big returns, especially off the second serve return, to find a way to come through in this one.

Both players have been in solid form with big tournament wins in the preparation for the US Open, but the better looking wins have come from Svitolina. Their one previous match was won by Keys as she was leading a by a set and a break before Svitolina had to pull out, but that was two years ago and I think the latter is a much improved player and has moved past Keys.

It will be a fascinating match and one that won't have much between them, but I will back Elina Svitolina to move through to the Quarter Final.

MY PICKS: Rafael Nadal Win 3-1 @ 3.75 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Dominic Thiem @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 6.5 Games @ 1.91 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Coco Vandeweghe-Lucie Safarova Over 22.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Daria Kasatkina - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Elina Svitolina @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)

US Open Update: 30-28, + 0.24 Units (114 Units Staked, + 0% Yield)

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