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Monday, 2 September 2019

US Open Tennis Day 8 Picks 2019 (September 2nd)

The first half of the Quarter Final line up in both the men's and women's tournaments at the US Open have been set on Friday and the big news was the exit of Novak Djokovic.

It seems like his shoulder issue is one that could potentially see the Serb decide to end his year early, even though he has said he will be ready to compete when the Asian swing begins late in September. That is a little surprising to me, but maybe Novak Djokovic will give it a go and then make a further decision about the 2019 season, one that he looks set to end as World Number 2 especially if Rafael Nadal can win the US Open this week.

Stan Wawrinka has to be given credit for coming through the match with Djokovic, but I do think he was aided by the issues that his opponent has been dealing with. He is going to be favoured in the Quarter Final as Daniil Medvedev is another who has perhaps got a couple of underlying issues that are preventing him from his very best form, although I would favour the latter even now.

That is for another day, below you can read my Picks from the last of the Fourth Round matches to be played at the US Open as well as the update from the tournament.

Andrey Rublev - 1.5 sets v Matteo Berrettini: Two improving players meet in the Fourth Round at the US Open to earn a spot in the last eight of the final Grand Slam of the 2019 season. Both Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini will be playing with plenty of confidence having come through three Rounds already in New York City, but it is clear that Rublev has had the much better wins on paper with victories over the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios under his belt.

Those can be added to the success he had against Roger Federer in Cincinnati a few weeks ago and I do make Rublev the right favourite in this one. I do think he looks a decent price to win this one in three or four sets too and that is the play I am going to have in this Fourth Round match on Monday.

I am not underestimating Matteo Berrettini in any way, shape or form to be honest and the numbers of the two players are very similar over the last twelve months. We have seen that Rublev is the better returner, but the Italian possesses the stronger serve and it really could be a match that is decided on how effective Berrettini can be on the return.

When these two met on the indoor hard courts of Marseille earlier this year, Matteo Berretini was able to hold 80% of his service games played so he will be competitive. However he as beaten by Rublev in straight sets as the young Russian player was able to hold 91% of his service games in that match.

Overall you would have to say Andrey Rublev has room for improvement in his serving numbers, but he has been enjoying a positive few weeks on the hard courts. During the US hard court swing, Rublev has found a way to hold 87% of his service games played compared to his 80% mark over the last twelve months and I think he is playing the kind of tennis that should get him back into the US Open Quarter Final for the second time in three visits here.

The serving power of Matteo Berrettini is going to keep him competitive, but I do think his relatively weak returning is the key difference on the day. Andrey Rublev should prove his worth as the favourite here and I will back him to win this match and cover the set handicap.

Gael Monfils - 6.5 games v Pablo Andujar: You don't really want to play too many five set matches in the first week of a Grand Slam to ensure you can conserve some energy for the second week, but I don't think Gael Monfils should be too concerned about having to go the distance to beat Denis Shapovalov in the Third Round.

It is a huge win for the Frenchman who has been very strong on the hard courts over the last twelve months even if not many would pick Monfils to win a tournament like this one. Much of that is down to the history of his career where the talented Monfils has had some good Grand Slam runs, but never really looks like someone who can threaten to win a Major.

I do think there is an opportunity in front of Monfils at the US Open with what looks to be a very manageable Fourth Round match against Pablo Andujar. No one could have really suggested Andujar was going to have such a run on the hard courts considering he spends so little time playing on the surface, but his win over Kyle Edmund in the First Round and a couple other upsets in this section of the draw means the Spaniard has had a very comfortable path into the second week.

This is already the best run Pablo Andujar has had in any Grand Slam, but I really don't see it going much further for him. Over the last twelve months he has held 74% of the service games played on the hard courts and broken in less than 20% of return games, but I do think Andujar has to be respected for the manner of his performances over the last week and Gael Monfils can't take anything for granted.

These two players have not played recently, but Gael Monfils has won all three previous matches and has been very much the dominant player. I have mentioned before how well Monfils has been playing on the hard courts and I do think he is going to have a much more comfortable day than he had when facing Denis Shapovalov in the Third Round.

I am perhaps a little wary about the fact that Monfils will have to deal with some significant pressure as such a strong favourite, and that he could easily have overlooked this opponent. However I have to also believe the Frenchman will know opportunities to reach the last eight of a Grand Slam can't be squandered at this stage of his career and I will look for Monfils to show why he is a decent hard court player with a good, strong win in this one.

Bianca Andreescu - 4.5 games v Taylor Townsend: Some players can struggle with the new found level of expectation off an upset win, but Taylor Townsend avoided that issue with a very comfortable win in the Third Round after beating Simona Halep earlier in the tournament. The American is going to have a lot of support as long as she remains in the US Open and Townsend has to be feeling very good about her game after coming through the Qualifiers.

Beating someone like Halep will have given Taylor Townsend plenty of belief, but I do think this is a very tough match for her against Bianca Andreescu who may have every chance of backing up her big title win in Toronto last month. The young Canadian showed she is very comfortable on the hard courts earlier this year and then being able to return and play so well in Toronto underlines Andreescu's credentials as someone who could easily win the tournament here this week.

I really do think she is as good as that and her numbers over the last twelve months on the hard courts shows a player who will be very difficult to beat. Like many players on the WTA Tour Bianca Andreescu can have some issues protecting her serve, but she has decent enough numbers behind both the first and second serve which is more than manageable for her to win matches.

Adding to that is the strong returning numbers and that is something that Bianca Andreescu will believe will give her a chance of putting all the pressure on Taylor Townsend. There is no doubt that it won't be easy to do that if Townsend is still playing with the kind of heart she has shown, while the American has decent numbers that are similar to Andreescu's behind her serve, although the difference is that Townsend has not always been the best returner.

She will have to try and be aggressive and take chances to get to the net and ask questions of Andreescu as any rally that develops beyond four or five shots has to favour the Canadian. That is going to be interesting to watch on Monday in this good looking Fourth Round match, one that both players have to think is a great opportunity to reach the Quarter Final of a Grand Slam.

The crowd are going to be very much behind Townsend, but I think Bianca Andreescu is a real live contender to win the US Open and I will look for her to be able to cover what is a big number on the handicap.

MY PICKS: Andrey Rublev - 1.5 Sets @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Gael Monfils - 6.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Bianca Andreescu - 4.5 Games @ 1.72 Bet365 (2 Units)

US Open Update: 19-13, + 5.30 Units (64 Units Staked, + 8.28% Yield)

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