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Wednesday, 4 September 2019

US Open Tennis Day 10 Picks 2019 (September 4th)

The Semi Final line is going to be put together on Wednesday and it looks like being a wet day in New York City which means having a roof will pay off for the tournament as we remain on schedule for the Sunday finish.

The two men's and two women's Quarter Finals left to play look very good on paper, but it does mean finding the right angles has been more difficult in this tournament than in other Grand Slams played in 2019.

I won't be putting anything on the two women's matches although my lean was towards Belinda Bencic and Elise Mertens to both cover the numbers being asked. The former is the favourite to see off Donna Vekic while the latter is the underdog against Bianca Andreescu and ultimately the opponents have been playing at a very good level both at this tournament and over the last twelve months to make it difficult to oppose them.

However I do have selections from the two men's matches to be played which you can read below. I will update the US Open totals on Wednesday once the four Quarter Finals at the US Open on Tuesday have been completed.


Gael Monfils - 1.5 sets v Matteo Berrettini: I was completely wrong about Matteo Berrettini in the Fourth Round as he comfortably beat Andrey Rublev to continue to underline the improvement he has made on all surfaces over the last twelve months. There is every chance that the Italian is going to end up with a new career high World Ranking when this tournament comes to an end in a few days time, but he won't be worrying about that as he plays his first Grand Slam Quarter Final.

You would think this is not a bad match up for a first Quarter Final when Berrettini goes up against Gael Monfils, but the Frenchman is matching girlfriend Elina Svitolina stride for stride at this tournament. Over the last twelve months Monfils has been playing some of his best tennis on the hard courts and his numbers have been very impressive, while he was as comfortable in the Fourth Round as Berrettini as Monfils crushed Pablo Andujar without breaking a sweat.

There is some poor weather in the New York City area on Wednesday which suggests this match could be one played under a roof and that may be very important for Matteo Berrettini. His serve is a key component of any success he is going to have at the tournament, and playing indoors might make that weapon all the more dangerous, although over the last twelve months the Italian has held the same 85% of service games played on the hard courts as Gael Monfils.

Those numbers are from the main ATP level rather than the Challenger and Qualifying circuit and the real difference between these players has been the successes they have had on the return of serve. So far in this tournament Matteo Berrettini has been playing at a much higher level on the return of serve than we have seen over the last twelve months with a significant higher percentage of points won against the serve.

In that time Matteo Berrettini has broken in 12% of return games played on the hard courts, but he has found at least three breaks of serve in each match here. That has led to a break of serve in 21% of return games played at the US Open, but I do think it is going to be difficult for him to maintain that level especially against this opponent who has won at least 65% of service points played in each of his four matches so far.

The Gael Monfils return has been a huge reason he has produced a 34-9 record on the hard courts over the last twelve months. In those matches the Frenchman has broken in 30% of return games played, but Monfils has incredibly moved that to 35% of return games played at the 2019 US Open and I do think he will be the player who has the majority of chances in this one, although it will be close.

One concern in relation to this selection is that Monfils is just 7-9 in tie-breakers played in 2019 on the hard courts. I can see at least a couple played in this Quarter Final and so it may give Matteo Berrettini a chance of the upset, but I think Gael Monfils has been playing at a higher level consistently over the last twelve months on this surface and I expect that to show up here.

Even in this tournament I would give Monfils the edge in terms of the level he has found and I think he will be good enough to move through to another Semi Final in New York City. I do really like Matteo Berrettini too, but I do struggle to believe he can keep his returning to a level to challenge Gael Monfils and I will back the Frenchman to win this in three or four sets.


Rafael Nadal - 7.5 games v Diego Sebastian Schwartzman: This is the Quarter Final with the biggest margin on the handicap in the men's tournament at the US Open. I think there is definitely a reason to say Diego Sebastian Schwartzman is being under-rated considering the kind of performances he can produce on the hard courts, but I also think you have to factor in the opponent and I can see Rafael Nadal getting the better of the number as well as the Argentinian.

Diego Sebastian Schwartzman is coming in off a very good win over Alexander Zverev, but don't be carried away by those suggesting it was a major upset. The layers had made Schwartzman a narrow underdog on the day and I think it was a match that I didn't want to get involved in as I could make a serious case for both players to earn their path through to the Quarter Final.

It was a match that Schwartzman fully deserved to win and he has been playing at a very good level throughout the US Open with a number of easy wins before the victory over Alexander Zverev. However I don't know if that is perfect preparation for Rafael Nadal, while Schwartzman has been solid on the hard courts over the last twelve months, but not enough to really believe in his ability to upset the Spaniard.

In the last twelve months Schwartzman has held 77% of service games played on the hard courts and broken in 27% which are reasonable numbers, but Rafael Nadal is playing at an extremely high level in the same time period. The Spaniard has held 92% of service games played and broken in 33% of return games over the same timeframe and Nadal has produced a consistently strong level at the US Open even though he dropped his first set of the tournament in the Fourth Round win over Marin Cilic.

Rafael Nadal has won nine sets in this tournament and only one of those has seen the opponent win at least four games, although dropping that set against Cilic will have disappointed. He only lost three more games after dropping that set though and Nadal will believe he is very comfortable in the match up that will be presented to him.

It is Nadal who has won all seven previous matches against Diego Sebastian Schwartzman and three of those have been on the hard courts. The latter did steal a set off of Nadal in their Fourth Round match at the Australian Open in January 2018, while they had a relatively competitive match when playing at the US Open four years ago.

I do think Schwartzman is improved since then, but he has only held 61% of service games played on the hard courts against Rafael Nadal. At the same time Nadal has held 87% of service games played against Schwartzman on this surface and the former World Number 1 crushed this opponent for the loss of four games on the hard courts of Indian Wells back in March.

This is a big number, I have no doubt about that, but Rafael Nadal should have the opportunities to cover the number. I think Diego Sebastian Schwartzman will cause some problems, but I expect Rafael Nadal to power through one set which should set him up to win two tight sets and still be in a position to cover and I will back the favourite for the US Open to win this match and cover the number.

MY PICKS: Gael Monfils - 1.5 Sets @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 7.5 Games @ 1.72 Bet Fred (2 Units)

US Open Update: 22-16, + 4.34 Units (76 Units Staked, + 5.71% Yield)

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