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Tuesday, 3 September 2019

US Open Tennis Day 9 Picks 2019 (September 3rd)

We are down to the final few days of the final Grand Slam of 2019 and it might finally be the time we get to see Rafael Nadal take on Roger Federer at the US Open. Both players have to be favoured to come out of their respective halves of the draw as we reach the Quarter Final Round of the event, while the women's tournament looks to be one that is developing into the Serena Williams show.

I still like the chances of players like Bianca Andreescu, but she is in a difficult half of the draw and all four players left in the top half have to believe in their chances. Serena Williams doesn't have it easy in the bottom half, but I think it is going to be a huge mental challenge for those players left in that section to beat the American before the Final.

After a positive return on Monday, the selections from the opening Quarter Final matches to be played on Tuesday can be seen below. I have also updated the totals from the US Open.

Elina Svitolina - 2.5 games v Johanna Konta: Over the last couple of years I would say that nerves have been a major factor in preventing Elina Svitolina from breaking through at Grand Slam events. She is playing in her sixth Grand Slam Quarter Final on Tuesday, but Svitolina had found herself blowing big leads or being blown out in this Round in four straight Quarter Finals before finally making it through to the Semi Final at Wimbledon a couple of months ago.

She was battered in that Semi Final against Simona Halep, but the level produced in the Final by the Romanian suggested she was capable of doing that to anyone as Halep proved by crushing Serena Williams. It definitely makes the loss suffered by Elina Svitolina easier to explain away and the Ukrainian has followed up that performance with four good wins in Flushing Meadows.

This is now the first time in Elina Svitolina's career that she has made it through to back to back Quarter Finals at the Grand Slams and has to mark the development she has made. Less than twelve months ago Svitolina won the WTA Championship for the first time and the confidence of seeing off Madison Keys can't be underestimated.

Elina Svitolina also has a good record against Johanna Konta with four wins over the British player from their previous matches. Some of those have been close, but Svitolina was far too good in Canada thirteen months ago when they last met and over the last twelve months the players have similar hard court numbers which makes the potential mental advantage that much more telling.

You could potentially argue that Johanna Konta is more capable of dealing with the mental pressures of the occasion though having played in three Grand Slam Semi Finals before. This is also her sixth Quarter Final at this level so the conversion rate is pretty impressive, although reaching a maiden Final will not be easy from this half of the draw.

Both players have been in fine form in this tournament and Konta's win over Karolina Pliskova in the Fourth Round can't be underestimated, especially as she had to come from behind against an opponent who has had the better of their head to head. The serve has been a potent weapon for Konta throughout this tournament, but Elina Svitolina is a very good returner and in their previous head to heads she has found a way to get plenty of joy from the Konta serve and perhaps more than I may have imagined.

The performance in the Fourth Round was the best Elina Svitolina has produced in the US Open this year and I do think that momentum and the hour less spent on court could be crucial for her. Johanna Konta is playing at an extremely good level too, but she had not been in great form over the last couple of months between Wimbledon and this Slam beginning and I am leaning towards Elina Svitolina to hold her nerve and find a way to win this match.

I have no doubt it won't be easy, but I think the Ukrainian and her boyfriend Gael Monfils have been pushing each other with each having successes here. Elina Svitolina reaching the Semi Final in Wimbledon will be a huge mental obstacle overcome by finally winning a Grand Slam Quarter Final and I think she can back that here while also covering the number.

As I have said, Johanna Konta has been playing at a very high level throughout this tournament, but I do think her return can just let her down sometimes and that might be the difference between these two players in the Quarter Final.

Stan Wawrinka-Daniil Medvedev over 39.5 games: The layers are finding it quite difficult to split these two Quarter Finalists, although I think the decision to make Stan Wawrinka a narrow favourite is the right one. Much of that is down to the fact that Daniil Medvedev is clearly ailing physically after playing so much tennis in the last six weeks, while the crowd are almost certainly going to be backing Wawrinka with real vigour on Tuesday.

I don't mind Medvedev showing some personality in encouraging the boo boys who have been after him in the last couple of Rounds. I actually really believe him when he says it gives him further motivation to battle through the pain to win matches and I think it gives tennis a new character that people will want to see lose, but also someone who will earn a new following.

To be honest the youngster plays some very special tennis and he looks destined to be a multiple time Grand Slam winner, although this tournament might have come too soon for him. Daniil Medvedev has completed his first goal of at least making the Quarter Final for the first time, but he is going to need to get plenty of rest if he is going to be ready to compete in this one.

He is also going up against Stan Wawrinka who is a player that has shown throughout his career that once he gets hot, he can be incredibly difficult to stop. The dominant win over Novak Djokovic in the Fourth Round might have been over a less than 100% World Number 1, but you can't take anything away from Wawrinka and the level he found in that match.

In saying that, his numbers have been anything but overwhelming and Wawrinka continues to struggle for real effectiveness on the return of serve. That has to be encouragement for Medvedev who has won at least 67% of points behind the serve in three of his four wins this week, especially if it can help him look after the fatigue aspect of all the tennis he has been playing.

Daniil Medvedev has spent a lot of time on the court during this tournament too, but being able to serve big will give him a chance as his return of serve is about as good as anyone left in this tournament. If he can limit the longer rallies behind his own serve, he might find the pressure to exploit any lapses of concentration Stan Wawrinka has, although the latter has been in a great rhythm from a serving point of view over the last three Rounds.

Both players have faced plenty of break points in the tournament, but Wawrinka has perhaps been a little better when it comes to winning the key points on that side of his game. Stan Wawrinka has only been broken three times in the last three Rounds compared with Daniil Medvedev who has lost serve twelve times and I think that is going to be a key to the outcome of this match.

However it is not enough for me to want to back Stan Wawrinka and instead I am looking for Daniil Medvedev to dig deep and find a way to make the match a competitive one. He is more than capable of doing that as he has shown in the last couple of Rounds and I would not be surprised if Medvedev is able to push this to four and perhaps even five sets in a losing effort.

Even a four set win for Medvedev would not be a big surprise to me, but I do think it is unlikely sets are going to be won easily by either player. The serving of Medvedev has been a little more vulnerable, but Stan Wawrinka had won less than 40% of return points in each match played here before the win over Djokovic and even in that one he was at 41% of return points won.

I can imagine tie-breakers being important and as long as this match is not won in straight sets by either player then we should have a real opportunity to see the totals games mark being surpassed.

Roger Federer - 6.5 games v Grigor Dimitrov: If there was something bothering Roger Federer early in New York City, it looks to be an issue that is firmly behind him after two dismantling wins over Daniel Evans and David Goffin in the last two Rounds. With Novak Djokovic exiting the tournament, I think Federer will become the favourite for many people to win the US Open for the first time since 2008, while many others will be hoping the first match between Federer and Rafael Nadal here will be closing the event in 2019.

That is down the line and Federer will be the first to tell you that overlooking any opponent can lead to surprise results. For some reason Federer has tended to have some of his most surprising defeats at the US Open over the years and that is backed up by the fact that he has reached one Final since 2009 and he has not been in the Semi Final since 2015.

It could be something that is in the back of the mind and could prevent Federer from expressing himself on the court as he would like, but the vast experiences of this player means I don't believe that will really be an excuse for a defeat. In the last two Rounds Federer has been playing at a ridiculous, unsustainable level, but it is certainly going to be giving him plenty of confidence to win this match.

Grigor Dimitrov is a surprise Quarter Finalist this year after having a really poor second half of 2019 having reached the Fourth Round at the Australian Open back in January. His results have seen him slip well outside the top 50 in the World Rankings and Dimitrov had been just 1-4 in hard court matches over the last six weeks before winning three matches here.

The Bulgarian has benefited from one withdrawal which means he has played one less match than the others in the draw, while Dimitrov has also won the last eight sets he has played here. However I do have to say that he has not fully convinced and even the upset win over Alex De Minaur was in a match that was much closer than a straight sets win would have you believe.

It was the De Minaur inability to convert any of nine break point chances that saw him slip out of the tournament, but Roger Federer is unlikely to be as generous. He has won all seven previous matches against Dimitrov and Federer has largely dominated those with 95% of service games played being held compared with Dimitrov's mark of 71%.

That is a massive difference and Federer looks to have his eye firmly in having won at least 60% of the return points in each of the last two matches. Another key for Federer is the fact he has taken 28/46 break points created in this tournament and I think he is going to be able to put Dimitrov firmly under pressure in this one.

Grigor Dimitrov has been serving well in the last couple of Rounds and I think that is going to be so important to him. If he drops from the standards he has set he will find Roger Federer far too good for him, but that pressure is only going to intensify the longer they spend on the court if the Bulgarian continues to produce lacklustre returning numbers.

Since the end of the Australian Open, Grigor Dimitrov has won 37% of return points on matches played on the hard courts. In the last two Rounds here he has not surpassed that number in either match and now faces a player whose serve has long been a big weapon for him and who has managed to hold Dimitrov down with it in their previous matches.

I don't think it will be a blow out win, but I do think Federer is more than capable of winning this one in straight sets. All this will take is one set to go his way by a comfortable margin to get into a position to cover the handicap and I do think that is what is going to develop in this Quarter Final.

At odds against I will be looking for Roger Federer to produce a third straight win by a good margin of games.

MY PICKS: Elina Svitolina - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka-Daniil Medvedev Over 39.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 6.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

US Open Update: 21-14, + 6.74 Units (70 Units Staked, + 9.63% Yield)

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