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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

US Open Tennis Day 9 Picks 2017 (September 5th)

The last eight of the men's and women's tournaments at the US Open have been put together and he women's draw looks far more appealing when it comes to the kind of matches we are yet to see.

Of course the potential to see Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal for the first time at the US Open would be brilliant, but the competitiveness of the women's draw makes that tournament look more fascinating for me.

On Day 9 we get to see the first half of the Quarter Finals for both men's and women's events and the matches on offer look to be decent enough as I head to the US Open for the first time.

I am looking forward to my day out there, but may already have experienced my best moment in New York City when having dinner next to Maria Sharapova on Monday evening and being able to grab a picture with the former World Number 1!

It was less exciting for the Tennis Picks, but I have to feel I was robbed at least twice on Monday. Dominic Thiem will be feeling a lot sicker than me after blowing a huge lead and match points in his loss to Juan Martin Del Potro, while Elina Svitolina had no business losing four games in a row at 4-2 2 up in the third set before going down to Madison Keys.

Both of those matches going my way makes a huge difference, but that is the way it goes and nothing can spoil this trip to the US Open even if the Tennis Picks look to have another disappointing year behind them.

Pablo Carreno Busta - 4.5 games v Diego Sebastian Schwartzman: This is one of the more surprising Quarter Final matches at the US Open, but it could potentially be a fun one with long rallies expected between two players who are much happier on the clay courts. Neither Pablo Carreno Busta nor Diego Sebastian Schwartzman are blessed with a serve that is going to blow an opponent off the court which should also contribute to a decent looking match.

Well that would be the case for definite if both players were healthy, but the injury Schwartzman was suffering with in the Fourth Round is one that has to be of concern. The upper leg looked to be restricting his movement during the last two sets, but Schwartzman battled hard while Lucas Pouille may be the first to admit that he threw the match away.

Those mistakes are unlikely to be made by Carreno Busta as the Spaniard has come through the draw without dropping a set. It has been a kind draw in the sense that the Spaniard has beaten four players who have come through the Qualifiers, the first time that has happened in a Slam if I am correct, although he was the underdog against Denis Shapovalov in the Fourth Round.

The steady game was enough to beat the talented youngster and Carreno Busta will be confident in the match up on Tuesday. I do think Schwartzman will have his moments if the last two days have allowed him to feel a little better, but the injury may begin to play on his mind if he drops a couple of sets behind and I think there is every chance Carreno Busta wins one of the sets going away.

The handicap is a big one and is clearly factoring in the injury that Schwartzman was playing with. I am not sure there is a lot he can do to lessen the pain he has to face, but this is a Quarter Final of a Grand Slam and I expect Schwartzman will give his all. However I do think eventually Carreno Busta will take full control and move into the Semi Final much to the surprise of most of the fans.

Carreno Busta can work his way to a 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 win here as Schwartzman's limitations are exposed the longer the match goes on.

Kevin Anderson v Sam Querrey: There are five American players making up the final sixteen players in the US Open this season, but only one of the last eight in the men's draw comes from the home nation. Sam Querrey is looking to become the first American to make the US Open Final since 2006, but he has a big test in front of him both in terms of stature and quality of tennis that Kevin Anderson brings to the court.

Both players are in a position where they will feel they will be the strong favourite in the Semi Final regardless of who they play so the opportunity to reach a first Grand Slam Final will bring a pressure of its own. I think both Querrey and Anderson are fortunate to possess big serves which can see them hit through that pressure with one big shot, but I do expect tension to play a part in this match.

It makes picking a winner much more difficult and the layers are also making Querrey a narrow favourite. It is Querrey who leads the head to head 9-6, but Anderson did crush the American for the loss of four games in Montreal in early August which will give him plenty of confidence. That did come after Querrey was on a six match winning run and having won the title in Los Cabos, but I think the result has to be respected after Anderson had lost in the Washington Final a few days earlier.

Another factor that can't be ignored is Anderson has won five of the last six matches between these players on the outdoor hard courts. A best of five set match does change some of the feel, because it was Querrey who won their sole previous Grand Slam match at Wimbledon back in July, but the numbers of that day leaned heavily towards Anderson who will feel he should have found his way through.

It was a 1/7 record on the break points compared with Querrey's 2/3 on the day which made the difference in a five set match. Both players have been serving and returning about as well as they can, but neither will have faced a serve like this one and I am anticipating there will be very little between them on the day again.

However you can't ignore the fact that Anderson has gotten the better of Querrey on the outdoor hard courts. There is a chance this one has to be played under the roof with the poor weather that is expected to roll into New York City, but Anderson has found a way to get this done when facing Querrey and that slight mental advantage may make all of the difference.

I think Anderson wins, and I also think there is every chance we will see at least four long sets to be played which makes covering the total games surpassable. Both events may happen here as the underdog upsets the home crowd by ending the American interest in the men's draw.

Sloane Stephens - 2.5 games v Anastasija Sevastova: There is every chance we are going to see an American winner of the women's US Open who is not called Serena Williams in 2017 with four Quarter Finalists left in the draw. One of the in-form players of the summer, Sloane Stephens, is going to try and continue the positives of her performances by moving into a third Semi Final of the summer, but no one should overlook Anastasija Sevastova.

The latter is off a big upset of Maria Sharapova which ended the Russian's dream run in New York City, but this is arguably another step up in quality for Sevastova to face. 2017 has easily been the best year of Sevastova's career with 35 wins already secured, but she had a 9-9 record on the hard courts before entering the US Open.

While Stephens had a spectacular summer with wins over some of the biggest names on the WTA Tour, Sevastova had only won back to back matches on the hard courts three times on the hard courts before this tournament. She works hard and Sevastova showed how well she can play against Sharapova, but I think the latter was breaking down after a long week and that looks far from the case with Stephens.

This time she faces someone with plenty of pop off the ground, but also someone who has great movement around the court and I think Sevastova may become a little frazzled in this one. While the drop shot is the go to shot to change a rally, I don't expect that to be even half as effective as it was against Sharapova when facing someone with the speed of Stephens.

Sevastova did reach the Quarter Final here in 2016 so there shouldn't be too many nerves, although the same can't be said for Stephens with the expectation increasing in each passing Round. I also believe this is the first time Stephens is playing on Arthur Ashe this year which also brings further issue into the match, but I do think she is in the kind of form to win this match with some relative comfort.

Even if it does go to three sets, I think Stephens will have every chance of covering this number with the way she has been returning this summer. I expect Stephens to earn plenty of break points and I think she can win this one 6-4, 6-4.

Venus Williams-Petra Kvitova over 2.5 sets: This looks to be the match of the day and the one that is garnering most of the headlines in the United States with a Williams in another Quarter Final here. This time it is Venus Williams who has made two Grand Slam Finals in 2017 and the home fans will be hoping she can potentially set up a huge Semi Final against another American by beating what many consider to be the favourite for the title.

Petra Kvitova has moved into that position after dismissing the in form Garbine Muguruza in the Fourth Round and she has yet to drop a set here at the US Open. It seems like Kvitova has built up her form at the right time with some poorer results in the weeks in preparation for the final Slam of the season, and she is clearly feeling good about her game.

The power Kvitova possesses is scary and there are not a lot of women on the Tour that can handle her hen she is in top form. However there is plenty to like about Venus Williams too and the veteran has shown she can keep her best tennis for the Grand Slams in 2017 which makes this a very tough match to call.

If Venus is serving well she can certainly give Kvitova plenty of problems although some will point to the 4-1 head to head lead Kvitova has over her as another reason she is favoured fairly significantly in this one. It is 3-1 on the hard courts, but every match has been very close with all five previous matches needing three sets to decide the winner.

I have a feeling that will be the case again with both players capable of raising their level at times, but also throwing in some poorer moments which can be capitalised on by the other. I am leaning towards Kvitova, but there have been a few times on her return from the hand injury suffered in an off court incident at the end of 2016 where Kvitova has failed to follow up her strong performances as fatigue has set in.

She has looked strong so far this week but this is another step up in her challenge as Kvitova faces Venus Williams as well as the loud night crowd on Arthur Ashe. It feels like a match that may go the distance and I will look for at least three sets to be needed for the sixth time these players have met one another on the Tour.

MY PICKS: Pablo Carreno Busta - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Kevin Anderson @ 2.20 Bet365 (2 Units)
Sam Querrey-Kevin Anderson Over 41.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Sloane Stephens - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Venus Williams-Petra Kvitova Over 2.5 Sets @ 2.38 Bet365 (2 Units)

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