US Open – Day 2

Andy Murray vs Yoshihito Nishioka, 2:15 am
Murray -1.5 Sets

Andy Murray returned to action last week in the Cincinnati Masters and put up some decent wins over Frances Tiafoe and Alex Zverev.

He isn’t the player he once was, but I think he’s in with a shot at a deep run here given the weak field.

I like the matchup for him here against Nishioka and will take him -1.5 sets at $1.67.

Murray tends to struggle the most against big servers on hard courts, which we saw last week against Raonic.

Nishioka is a very similar player archetype to Murray, but he doesn’t really have the serve or power to trouble him.

Early reports are that the US Open service is relatively slow this year, which should only further aid Murray’s return game.

3-0 at $2.63 looks decent value in what should be a straight-forward win, but I’ll opt with the -1.5 sets to be extra safe.

Multi: Cilic, Bautista Agut, Thiem and Rublev
Combined Odds of $1.99

Opting for another multi on the men’s draw today, this time featuring 4 legs and paying out $1.99.

Marin Cilic has historically done very well in the US Open and will take on veteran Denis Kudla here.

I think the court and conditions should very much suit Cilic, who makes up the bulk of our multi at $1.33.

Leg 2 sees Bautista-Agut take on Tennys Sandgren, paying out odds of $1.22.

Like Carreno Busta yesterday, RBA is one of the more dependable veterans on tour and I don’t see any trouble for him in this matchup.

Thiem has a ton of pressure on him as the #2 seed here and I doubt a baseliner like him faults in round 1, currently at $1.06.

Rounding out the multi we’ve got young gun Andrey Rublev, who has a great matchup against the ageing Chardy.

All this combines for a solid 4-leg multi at near even money.

US Open – Day 1

Men’s Singles Tournament Outright Winner
Novak Djokovic $1.83

I’m starting off with a Futures bet here, taking Novak Djokovic to win the Men’s tournament at $1.85.

Given his track record, he’d be decent value at this price if some of his top competition like Federer and Nadal were playing.

With a significantly weaker than average field this season, I like Novak to claim another Grand Slam here.

He is now only 3 career slams behind Federer and you know he’s incredibly motivated to catch up.

I think the long break will actually do him some good, especially since he likely stayed in better shape than many of his competitors.

The Draw also looks quite favourable for him and he should make the second week with relative ease.

It’s tough to pinpoint who the second best player in this slam is and I can only see this number decreasing as the tournament progresses. Novak to claim #18 here.

Multi: Schwartzman/Coric/Shapovalov/Carreno-Busta
Odds of $1.90

The start of a Grand Slam can be confusing at the best of times, so why not start with a 4-leg multi?

These are four established players on tour that all appear to have pretty significant matchup advantages in round 1.

Diego Schwartzman has the longest odds of the four, opening as a $1.33 favourite against Cameron Norrie.

While he is more of a clay-court specialist, he has an excellent groundstroke game and the slower-than-usual court should play into his hands.

Coric and Shapovalov both open as $1.13 favourites in conditions that should suit them.

Both players are very much suited to hard courts and shouldn’t face much difficulty against low-ranked clay courters.

Carreno-Busta rounds out our multi at $1.11 and he is generally as dependable as they come.

These four gentlemen combine nicely for a $1.90 multi that appears relatively low risk.

 

Aus Open – Men’s Final

Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem, 7:30 pm
Novak -1.5 Sets

It can’t be understated just how impressive Novak’s run to the Final has been. He’s dropped just one set all tournament and looked in complete control in every match. I think he’s comfortably the better player and like him -1.5 sets here.

Thiem has also done a remarkable job, but just hasn’t been on the same level as Novak thus far. Wins over Monfils, Nadal, and Zverev are all impressive, although he could’ve easily lost in round 2 to Alex Bolt.

Djokovic has established himself as the king of Melbourne Park, making it to the Aus Open Final 7 times and winning every single one of those. He is 16-9 overall in grand slam finals, so the moment definitely won’t be too big for him here.

Thiem, on the other hand, has played in only 2 grand slam finals previously. Known primarily as a clay-courter, this is the first time he’s advanced this far anywhere but Roland Garros. He was just 10-6 at the Aus Open prior to this year and his game doesn’t appear to be geared for hard courts.

Novak also has a huge rest advantage here, getting an extra day to prepare and spending significantly less time on court. This could prove to be a huge factor and I can see Thiem’s head dropping if he loses the first set.

Overall, Novak is the more talented and experienced player, who happens to have a rest and motivational advantage. I think he wins this comfortably, and I can’t see anything more than 4 sets.

Aus Open – Women’s Final

Garbine Muguruza vs Sofia Kenin, 7:30 pm
Muguruza to Win

Let’s start with the uncomfortable yet obvious fact, Ash Barty clearly choked last time out. She is a much more talented tennis player than Kenin, as is Muguruza in this matchup.

Grand Slam success is nothing new for the Spaniard, who has previously won both Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Her career record is now 21-7 at the Aus Open, which is definitely solid for a clay courter.

Her path to reach this point has been incredibly impressive, knocking off four straight seeds in straight sets. This included 3 top 10 opponents in Svitolina, Bertens, and Halep.

Kenin just doesn’t have the same track record and experience as her opponent here. Barty was the lone seeded player that she beat, in two sets that really could’ve gone either way.

This is also her first time reaching the second week of a major, previously having a below .500 record for her career. Ultimately, I think Muguruza’s elite return game, experience, and proven track record help her get the win here.

Aus Open – Day 12

Dominic Thiem vs Alex Zverev, 7 pm
Thiem to Win

Despite facing a scare against Aussie Alex Bolt in Round 2, Thiem has had a largely excellent Aus Open campaign. He claimed two top 10 scalps, beating Monfils in straight sets and Nadal in 4.

Zverev has had a similarly impressive run, although he hasn’t faced the same level of quality that Thiem has. He was a comfortable favourite in every match thus far, only beating Rublev and Wawrinka as seeded players.

Thiem is known as one of the best return men on tour, which is a major reason behind his immense success on clay. He is averaging 5 breaks per match so far and I can see him succeeding on the Zverev serve.

Thiem also has the experience edge here, especially at this stage of a grand slam. Zverev has never made it to a grand slam semi before, whereas Thiem has done it 4 times, even making it to 2 finals.

This has the makings of a competitive 4 or 5-setter with very little between these two players. Ultimately, I think Thiem’s experience and edge in the return game give him the win here.

Aus Open – Day 11

Ash Barty vs Sofia Kenin
Barty to Win

Barty has a fantastic opportunity here to make the final of her home slam. She is the better and more experienced of these two players and I’d expect a comfortable win here.

It hasn’t been an easy road to get here, dropping a few sets and having a tough Quarter Final against Petra Kvitova. Her return game has been splendid all tournament, which really bodes well for her here.

All in all, Sofia Kenin has had one of the easier roads to the semis in recent memory. She has not faced one seeded player thus far and got a walkover in the 4th round.

Barty is a huge step up in opponent quality and I’m not sure she can match her here. She was just 12-11 in grand slams prior to this, having never reached the second week before.

Ultimately, I think Barty’s edge in the return game gets her the win here. Her inconsistency means the straight up win is a better bet than 2-0.

Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer
Djokovic -1.5 Sets

It’s been under-the-radar just how good Novak has been in this tournament. He dropped just one set in the first round and has essentially been flawless since.

His last two performances were especially good, dominating seeds in Schwartzman and Raonic. His return game has been on point of late, getting a whopping 16 break point opportunities against Raonic last time out.

Federer, in contrast, has struggled mightily to reach this point. He was taken to 5 sets by Johnny Millman and even dropped a set against Fucsovics.

Not to mention he should’ve lost against Sandgren last time out, having to save 7 match points. He appeared to pick up an injury in that match, the effects of which will likely linger here.

These two played a close one in the Wimbledon Final, with Novak just edging it in the 5th. The hardcourt is a much better surface for Novak and I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win this in 4 or less.

 

Aus Open – Day 10

Stan Wawrinka vs Alex Zverev
Zverev to Win

The #7 seed Zverev has had a hugely impressive run to this point, yet to drop a set thus far. He was especially good against Rublev last time out, winning all 3 sets 6-4 as an outright underdog.

He is averaging over 4 breaks of serve per match and has only been broken himself twice in his last 3 matches. Having played solely 3-setters so far, he should have a notable rest advantage heading into this one.

Wawrinka has had an up and down tournament, playing two 5-setters, a 4-setter and a 2-setter where his opponent retired. He hasn’t looked particularly dominant in any one match and easily could be out of the tournament by now.

Almost 35 years of age, he doesn’t come close to matching the athleticism and power of Zverev. At generous odds of $1.67, I think Zverev’s impressive serve fires him to an outright win here.

Anett Kontaveit vs Simona Halep
Halep to Win

Halep has had a very impressive tournament thus far and could easily take out the title here. She is yet to drop a set and looked in control throughout against #16 seed Mertens last time out.

Her opponent, Kontaveit, hasn’t been as dominant and could easily lost 2 of 4 matches thus far. She did beat #6 seed Bencic in Round 3, but the 6-0 6-1 scoreline suggests there were other factors at play.

Despite entering this tournament as the #28 seed, her grand slam record of ~ .500 is pedestrian to say the least. This is her first time reaching the second week of a slam, so I expect nerves to definitely be at play here.

She faced 19 break points against little-known Swiatek last time out, suggesting her serve has been pretty weak. An elite returner like Halep will capitalize on these opportunities and make it very tough for her to win. I also expect Halep’s serve to continue to hold here, meaning a spot in the semis should await.

Aus Open – Day 9

Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic
Novak -1.5 Sets

Novak has been on fire all tournament and is yet to drop a set thus far. Especially with a rest advantage before the Final, I think he’s the overwhelming favourite to claim this tournament.

Raonic has been hugely impressive himself, winning all 4 contests in straight sets, including a win over #6 seed Tsitsipas. That said, his strengths just don’t match up as well against a player like Novak.

His serve is undoubtedly his best quality, but Novak is still comfortably the best returner on tour. He’s been opportunistic on break point so far, but I don’t see him getting many opportunities on the Djokovic serve.

These two have played 9 times before and Novak has unsurprisingly won all 9 contests. Raonic’s serve will keep him competitive here, but I’d be shocked if he claimed anything more than a set.

Ash Barty vs Petra Kvitova
Barty to Win $1.70

Barty has had a strong tournament so far and has emerged as the early favourite to claim the title. She has a tough opponent in Kvitova here but is well equipped to win this match outright.

Her form has been consistently strong over the last week, dropping just 2 sets all tournament. Dropping the second set 6-1 to Riske was a bit of an eye opener, but she recovered nicely in the 3rd set.

Kvitova has also had a strong start to the tournament, although her trademark serve appears to have faded of late. She was broken by Sakkari 4 times last time out, a feat that I can see Barty matching in this one.

I’d expect the Barty serve to hold true here, while a strong return game puts pressure on Petra’s serve. Currently at odds of $1.70, you’d have to back the tournament favourite with the home crowd behind her.

Australian Open – Day 8

Elise Mertens vs Simona Halep
Halep to Win

Halep has had a fine start to her Aus Open campaign, winning her first three matches without dropping a set. Her return game has been on point all tournament, breaking 5 times in each of her three matches thus far.

Her opponent, Elise Mertens, is very accomplished for a #16 seed and has also had a good run to this point. She has dropped just 1 set all tournament, managing a bagel in each of her matches thus far.

That said, I like the look of Halep to win straight up here at $1.60. Her and Ash Barty are the clear two favourites in the women’s draw and I expect a professional performance here.

Mertens has had great success on break points in this tournament, which I’m not sure is sustainable against Halep. The former Darren Cahill protégé is serving much better of late, something which I expect to continue. If she can keep up her recent serving form, I expect her to advance to the Quarters here.

Garbine Muguruza vs Kiki Bertens
Muguruza to Win

Despite entering this tournament unseeded, I think Muguruza has a great shot at unsettling the #9 seed here. She’s been great all tournament, including a decimation of #5 seed Svitolina last time out.

Bertens is yet to drop a set thus far, although this is a huge step up in opponent quality. She is averaging nearly 5 breaks of serve per match so far, something which is unlikely to continue against Muguruza.

The Spaniard has really found her serving rhythm of late, only getting broken 3 times in her last 6 sets. Her return game has also been on point, averaging nearly 5 breaks a game against some relatively good servers.

She has performed well at the Aus Open throughout her career and enters this clash with a solid 20-7 career record at Melbourne Park. Bertens hasn’t been nearly as good on hard court, actually having a 4-7 career record at this slam prior to 2020.

I’m expecting a close match here, but Muguruza’s improving serve and elite return ability give her the decisive edge.

Australian Open – Day 7

Fabio Fognini vs Tennys Sandgren
Fognini to Win

I like Fognini to win here at a reasonable $1.60 price point. He is the more technically gifted of these two players, and I think the slower Aus Open court benefits him here.

He had two tough five-setters to start out, but looked dominant in a straight sets win over #22 seed Pella last time out. While known primarily as a clay court specialist, his Aus Open form has really improved of late. He is 8-2 in his last 10 Aus Open matches, which suggests he is becoming very used to these conditions.

The controversial Tennys Sandgren is a bit of an enigma. He made the Aus Open Quarter Finals in 2018, which was the high point of his career. This was the only year he won a match at the Aus Open in 7 attempts prior to this year.

He is also participating in the Men’s Doubles and I think he’ll be the more fatigued of the two men here. Fognini has the talent edge here and I’d also favour him if this one goes to 4 or 5 sets. At $1.60, I think he’s a safe bet to move onto the quarters.

Ash Barty vs Alison Riske
Barty 2-0

The #1 seed enters this clash as the relatively heavy favourite. I think she’s got a strong matchup advantage over Riske and would back her to take this in straight sets.

It has been a relatively straightforward road for Barty, who has won her last 6 sets with ease. She had a tremendous 2019, winning her first slam and making it to the Quarters at the Aus Open.

She has now won 11 matches in her home slam since 2017, no doubt due to the excellent home support. Her opponent hasn’t been nearly as successful at Melbourne Park, going just 4-8 for her career before this year.

Riske has somewhat struggled to even reach this point, having to negotiate two tense 3-setters in her 3 matches. She also had a relatively late doubles match yesterday, which could lead to some fatigue here.

Overall, Barty is essentially just a better version of the same player. That accounts for a lot in tennis and I’d expect her run to continue with a straight sets win here.