Australian Open – Day 6

Angelique Kerber vs Camilla Giorgi
Kerber $1.65

I’m taking the #17 seed Kerber to defeat journeywoman Giorgi at solid odds of $1.65. The matchup really favours her here and I expect her dominant return game to really shine.

A ranking of #17 isn’t indicative of the immense talent this 3-time grand slam champion has. She is now 31-11 in her career at the Aus Open and hasn’t looked like dropping a set thus far.

Giorgi typically struggles on hard courts, entering this Aus Open with a 6-7 record and going an even worse 5-8 at the US Open. She has had two impressive wins thus far, although neither opponent has Kerber’s quality.

She has served just 2 aces compared to 6 double faults thus far, while Kerber has already broken serve 12 times in 2 matches. I just don’t see Giorgi’s serve holding up over 3 sets and expect Kerber’s elite striking to prove the difference.

David Goffin vs Andrey Rublev
Goffin +3.5 Games

Despite entering this clash as the #11 seed, Goffin finds himself as a sizeable underdog to the #17 seed Rublev. Rublev probably has a slight edge on hard courts, but I think this should be closer to even odds.

I like Goffin getting the 3.5-game head start here and think he has a definite chance of winning this match outright. He is now 13-6 at the Aus Open all time, reaching the Quarters back in 2017.

Rublev is a relative newcomer and hasn’t advanced past the 3rd round of the Aus Open previously. He has had a rather easy route to this point, taking care of two unheralded players thus far.

Goffin is a definite step up in opponent quality and I don’t see him overwhelming big Dave with his power here. It was a poor showing in round 2 from Goffin, but I think that has a lot to do with his inflated price here. I’m chalking that up as one bad match and think that 3.5 games is great value in what should be a close one.

Multi: Kyrgios/Medvedev/Nadal
Odds of $1.68

Medvedev and Nadal are the two biggest favourites of the day and probably as close to locks as you can get at this point. Kyrgios is essentially a better version of the same player as Khachanov and will emerge victorious if he plays to his level. Including him really boosts the price here and makes this a solid play at $1.68.

Aus Open – Day 5

Roberto Bautista Agut vs Marin Cilic
Bautista Agut -1.5 Sets

Now 31 years of age, it appears Marin Cilic’s best days are firmly behind him. He made the final here two years ago, but managed only 8 grand slam wins in 2019.

His opponent, RBA, seems to be finding a new level, entering this tournament as the #9 seed. He has looked in control in both of his matches so far, only dropping one set in the process.

Cilic won an epic 5-setter against Benoit Paire in the second round and I can see him somewhat fatigued entering this matchup. This will make it more difficult to keep up his ferocious serve for long periods and I can see a few break opportunities going RBA’s way.

This should lead to a few 6-2 or 6-3 set victories, which really bode well for the -3.5 handicap here. Cilic has the talent to win a set here, but if this goes to 5 I’d be pretty surprised. With that in mind, I’ll take RBA -1.5 sets.

Roger Federer vs John Millman
Federer -7 Games

I’ve always thought the nickname ‘Mailman’ was somewhat paradoxical for John Millman. Despite being given that moniker, he’s hardly ‘delivered’ throughout his career.

He has a 42%-win rate in ATP Singles matches and is coming up against one of the best of all time here. He’ll no doubt be energised by the crowd, but I’d expect a guy like Federer to also feed off of this.

Millman isn’t a particularly good server, which could prove troubling against an excellent returner like Federer. This means we could see a few multi-break sets, which would really help the -7.5 games cash.

The Fed Express has had an excellent start to the tournament, not even coming close to dropping a set in 2 matches so far. He has won 87% of career matches at the Aus Open and looks primed for another big run here. If he passes the early test, I see him running away with this match.

Multi: Schwartzman/Tsitsipas
Odds of $1.90

Australian Open – Day 4

David Goffin vs Pierre Herbert
Goffin 3-0

I like the look of Goffin to win in straight sets in this one. He’s been one of the most consistent performers on tour over the last half decade and has a huge matchup advantage here.

Hughes-Herbert has a poor 5-9 record in hard court grand slams, his worst on any surface. He isn’t a great server of the ball and I think Goffin’s elite return ability can stifle him here.

Goffin tends to excel against unseeded players and he made light work of Jeremy Chardy in straight sets last time out. He has a 65% win percentage at the Australian Open, many of which have come in straight sets.

His serve has improved tremendously of late and should form the foundation of a solid win here. At current odds, I think this is a better play than the games handicap.

Karen Khachanov vs Michael Ymer
Khachanov -1.5 Sets

The second bet I like today is #16 seed Karen Khachanov laying 1.5 sets here. The big Russian got off to a good start in round 1, winning relatively comfortably in 4 sets.

He is one of the better young servers on tour and this is the 4th straight year he’s started his Aus Open with a win. His opponent Mikael Ymer is young and fairly unheralded on the tour.

He’s much more of a clay court specialist and is yet to win a grand slam match on any other surface. He isn’t renowned for having a big serve, which negates Khachanov’s major weakness.

With this currently scheduled as a day game, I also think Khachanov’s serve will be a huge advantage in what should be warm conditions. I don’t anticipate many breaks against his serve and his record in tie-breaks is stellar.

This has all the makings of a 3 or 4 setter in the big Russian’s favour.

Daily Multi: Wawrinka/Zverev/Khachanov/Kyrgios
Odds of $2.27

All four of these men have strong serves and enter their matches as comfortable favourites. Each of them are seeded and have reached the second week of a grand slam before. At odds of $2.27, I’d be surprised if any of them lost here, especially in a best-of-5 match.

Australian Open – Day 3

Dan Evans vs Yoshihito Nishioka
Evans -2.5 Games

The #30 seeded Brit Evans had an emotional win in round 1, coming from 2 sets to love down to win dramatically in 5. Things were a bit easier for his Japanese opponent, who won relatively comfortably in 4.

Evans opens as the $1.57 favourite in this one and I like him at the -2.5 games handicap. I think he’s the better of these two players and his game is much more suited to hard courts.

Nishioka is just 6-15 lifetime at Grand Slam events, suggesting this level of tennis is a bit above him. He has a very small frame for the ATP circuit and a 5-set match would presumably take a lot out of him.

Evans has a strong serve and powerful groundstroke game that gives him a strong edge here. I think he wins in 4 sets or less, which correlates nicely with the -2.5 games handicap.

Fabio Fognini vs Jordan Thompson, 7 pm
Fognini -1.5 Sets

#12 seed Fabio Fognini also had a dramatic round 1 win, coming from 2 sets down to beat big-hitting Opelka in 5. Aussie Jordan Thompson had a relatively cruisy win, beating Bublik in straight sets.

Fognini opens as the $1.53 favourite here and I think he’s somewhat undervalued. The public tends to get behind the Aussies in the early rounds, which hasn’t worked too well of late.

Fognini can be had at $2 at the -1.5-set handicap, which I think is even better value given the matchup discrepancy. He is an excellent mover on the tennis court and has the return ability to dominate Thompson’s relatively weak serve.

Thompson is 6-17 in Grand Slams for his career, typically saving his best stuff for Roland Garros. Fognini is essentially a better version of the same player and I’m confident he takes this one in 4 sets or less.

Daily Multi: Berrettini/Querrey/Raonic/Dimitrov/Schwartzman
Odds of $3.03

I’ve gone relatively conservative with the multi on the first few days. Paying over $3 with 5 different players, this one is anything but.

Each of these 5 players is comfortably favoured in their game, with none above $1.33 and none below $1.15. If all of them perform to their potential, they each win their matches pretty comfortably.

Guys like Federer and Djokovic can be added for a bit of extra value, but these are the 5 I’m rocking with.

Australian Open – Day 2

Federico Delbonis vs Joao Sousa
Over 38.5 Games

These are two incredibly evenly-matched players and I’d be surprised if either won in straight sets. Both have relatively strong serves, with Delbonis holding the slight edge there.

Sousa is an absolute grinder though, the type who excels the longer the match goes. I think he’s capable of wearing down Delbonis here and capitalizing when the opportunity arises.

The play I like most in this matchup is the total, which is currently at a modest 38.5 games. If we get the 4+ sets that I’m predicting, reaching the over here looks very likely.

It’s expected to be a relatively cool day in Melbourne tomorrow, so the conditions shouldn’t really affect either player. I’m expecting a tightly-contested match here, one that likely goes down to the wire and easily hits the over.

Ivo Karlovic vs Vasek Pospisil
Over 42.5 Games

Another total I like here occurs with two of the biggest serve bots in world tennis. Dr Ivo is still going strong at 40 years of age, while Pospisil is the comfortable favourite here.

Both of these men still have excellent service games, which should mean that breaks come at a premium here. The total comes in at 42.5 games, which is definitely high, but probably still doesn’t account for their serving prowess.

The obvious downside is that Pospisil wins in straight sets, but Ivo’s tiebreak record is so good that I’d expect him to get at least 1. For reference, his price to win a set is $1.55. Given the way these two men serve, two tie breaks in 4 sets is definitely realistic.

This would mean we only need 17 games in a potential two other sets to clinch the over. On a day without too many standout plays, this looks like one of the better ones on the board.

Multi: Fritz/Kyrgios/Goffin/Verdasco
Odds of $2.07

We’ve got another solid multi option today paying over $2. Kyrgios and Goffin enter this tournament seeded and should have no problem getting the job done here.

Fritz and Verdasco are coming up against two men that just aren’t suited to playing on hard courts. Both of these two have very solid service games and should win without too much trouble.

Combine all 4 and this gives us a solid + money multi to move into day 3 with.

Australian Open – Day 1

Sam Querrey vs Borna Coric, 11 am
Over 39.5 Games

We get a really interesting battle of styles to kick us off at the 2019 Aus Open. Young gun and #25 seed Borna Coric takes on the big serving vet Sam Querrey.

I think Coric is comfortably the better of the two players, but Querrey’s serve will keep him in this. He is still relatively young at 32 years of age and holds serve over 85% of the time on hard courts.

Coric doesn’t have the greatest history at the Australian Open, only winning his first match here last year. His game is more suited to clay and I think Querrey’s serve will put the pressure on here.

On the flipside, Querrey is far from a great return man. Coric is still a decent server at this level and I’d expect breaks to be few and far between in this one.

Assuming we get at least 4 sets here, I’m fairly confident in over 39.5 games cashing.

Kyle Edmund vs Dusan Lajovic, 1 pm
Over 38.5 Games

I’ve got a similar line of thinking on this second play here. These are again two evenly matched players and getting to 4 sets should see us eclipse the total of 38.5 games.

Kyle Edmund has been largely inconsistent throughout his career, sitting exactly .500 at 107-107. Dusan Lajovic has increased his ranking to #27, but hard court definitely isn’t his surface.

He is the relatively clear underdog here and I’d probably expect Edmund to edge it in 4 or 5 sets. Nevertheless, I can’t really see too many breaks of serve in this one.

Edmund has had a penchant for tie-breaks throughout his career and I’d anticipate another one or two here. Both men are fighters and neither will give an inch, so I think we’re in for a relatively long match of tennis.

Multi: Shapovalov/Raonic/Dimitrov/Paire
Odds of $1.96

Early in a grand slam is always a good time for a multi. I’m going with a similar formula that I plan to stick to for the first few days.

Each of these players are seeded, giving them all relatively easy opponents in the first round. All 4 of them are known for their strong serving ability, particularly Raonic.

While none of them are great returners, their serve should keep them in control here. Especially in the best of 5 sets, this is a great weapon to have.

We’re getting nearly evens at $1.96, which I think is strong value here.

US Open – Men’s Final

Daniil Medvedev vs Rafael Nadal
Nadal -1.5 Sets

Daniil Medvedev

Medvedev has had one of the most impressive seasons on the ATP this year, winning 50 matches and earning a top 5 ranking. He has had a very solid tournament to date, having not being taken to 5 sets even once. His win in the semis over Dimitrov was outstanding, relatively comfortably winning in straight sets. He has faced Nadal just once previously, a loss on the Canadian hardcourts last month.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal has absolutely been the form player of this tournament, dropping just 1 set the whole way. He was easily too good for Berrettini in the semis, taking the 3rd set 6-1. His return game has been on an elite level all tournament, averaging over 5 breaks a game so far. He showed his matchup advantages in a very comfortable 6-3 6-0 win in their only previous meeting.

Prediction: Nadal -1.5 sets

While most of you won’t be attracted to the relatively small moneyline price, Nadal to win in 4 or less is somewhat better value. Although Medvedev has been strong on hardcourts, his loss to Nadal at the Rogers Cup highlighted some of his matchup weaknesses. The narrative is also firmly in Rafa’s favour here, with a chance to claim his 19th grand slam. Ultimately, I think Nadal’s elite return ability makes life very difficult for Daniil here, winning a relatively straightforward match in 4 or less sets.

1st Set Correct Score Nadal 6-4 $4.60

Medvedev has been on a brilliant run all season, particularly showing his quality on the hardcourts. While I don’t think he has enough to beat Rafa, I definitely see him being competitive to start. Nadal has had a 6-4 set in 3 of his matches so far and generally has a pattern of breaking once per set. For a bit of extra value, I think he does just enough to edge Daniil here instead of going to a tie-break.

US Open – Women’s Final

Serena Williams vs Bianca Andreescu
Williams -1.5 Sets $1.85

Serena Williams

The G.O.A.T continues to dominate women’s tennis, putting up a 25-5 record so far in her age 37 season. She has dropped just 1 set in her 6 victories this tournament, with a straight-sets win over Svitolina being particularly impressive. She was dominant all match, winning 86% of points on 1st serve and breaking her opponent 4 times. Williams is 6-3 for her career in US Open finals and will be looking to avenge her shock loss to Osaka last year.

Bianca Andreescu

Regardless of the result, this young Canadian deserves immense credit for the quality she has shown this season. She is 44-4 in WTA singles matches this season, dropping just 2 sets during the US Open so far. Her Semi-Final win was particularly impressive, knocking off Bencic in two relatively tight sets. This is easily the biggest match of her career, having never made it past the 2nd round in a grand slam previously.

Prediction: Williams -1.5 Sets $1.85

Despite Andreescu’s outstanding form this season, I just can’t see Serena letting this incredible opportunity slip. I think she is still the much better player in this matchup and certainly won’t have the same nerves as her opponent. Her win over Svitolina showed she can mix it up with the best and I expect her shot making ability to prove too much. I expect her to win a somewhat close first set before racing away in the second, making -1.5 sets look like excellent value.

Williams 1st set 6-3 $5.50

As a secondary play, I really like the look of Serena winning the first set 6-3. This is one of the more common set scorelines in the WTA, occurring in 4 of Serena’s 6 matches this tournament. Andreescu has a solid but unspectacular serve, one which I think Serena breaks either once or twice in the first set. Assuming Serena’s serve remains as consistent as it has been all tournament, this makes the 6-3 look very plausible at tasty $5.50 odds.

US Open – Men’s Semi Finals

Daniil Medvedev vs Grigor Dimitrov
Medvedev -2.5 Games

Daniil Medvedev

Medvedev has had comfortably the best season of his career so far, earning the #5 seed through some impressive results. He is now 49-16 on the campaign, making deep runs in Cincinnati, Toronto, and Washington before this. He negotiated a seemingly difficult Quarter Final with Wawrinka, grinding him down in a dominant 4th set. He’s faced Dimitrov twice previously, going 1-1 but winning the hardcourt match.

Grigor Dimitrov

Despite falling down the rankings, Dimitrov is in the midst of a very resurgent tournament. He gutted out an epic 5-setter against Federer, coming from behind with some scintillating ground strokes. His win against Alex De Minaur in the match prior was equally impressive, highlighting his ability on hardcourt. He has never reached this stage of the US Open previously, going just 8-8 before this year.

Prediction: Medvedev -2.5 Games

Medvedev was the 4th favourite in pre-tournament betting and his excellent form so far has shown why. He has been killing it on hardcourts all season, with the surface really suited to his power-based game. I also see Dimitrov physically and emotionally fatigued after his match with Federer, giving Medvedev another edge here. With the talent, form, and rest all in his favour, a miniscule 2.5-game handicap looks like good value.

Matteo Berrettini vs Rafael Nadal
Nadal 3-0

Matteo Berrettini

Berrettini is another youngster in the midst of an extraordinary campaign. He is now 35-15 in singles matches this year, moving to #25 in the world and dominating on the grass courts. He had another incredibly exciting quarter final, beating Gael Monfils in an epic 5th set tie-break. Apparently caught up in a love triangle that also involves Nick Kyrgios, you have to wonder whether he’s fully focused here.

Rafael Nadal

The epitome of focus and professionalism, Nadal has had a predictably solid fortnight at Flushing Meadows so far. He breezed through the first 3 rounds before beating Croatian vet Marin Cilic in a relatively comfortable 4-setter. Given the form of Diego Schwartzman, his straight sets Quarter Final win was equally impressive. This is his first matchup with Berrettini, meaning there could be an early feeling out process.

Prediction: Nadal 3-0

While Berrettini deserves credit for getting this far, he just hasn’t faced an opponent of Rafa’s quality. Nadal has faced two straight competent opponents in the form of Cilic and Schwartzman, giving him ample preparation for this matchup. I think he has a noticeable speed and athleticism advantage in this one, meaning he should dictate play quite easily. Especially with how much Rafa values rest, I expect him to come out firing here and win in straight sets.

US Open – Women’s Semi Finals

Elina Svitolina vs Serena Williams
Svitolina +4.5 Games

Elina Svitolina

The young Ukrainian has emerged as a force on the WTA tour, entering this tournament as the #5 seed. She has had a stellar 2019 campaign, now going 28-15 and winning over $2.5 million in prize money. Her path to the US Open has been especially impressive, not dropping a set in any of her 5 wins so far. She now has a 16-7 record at Flushing Meadows, indicative of her strong ability on hardcourt.

Serena Williams

With the state of the WTA, it’s not surprising to see an almost 39-year-old Serena Williams make another grand slam semi. She is now 24-5 in relatively limited action this season, showing she can still mix it with the best. She faced a minor scare against McNally in round 2 but hasn’t lost a set otherwise. Her Quarter-Final win was her 100th at the US Open, showing the homecourt advantage she has.

Prediction: Svitolina +4.5 Games

Although Williams has decimated the competition so far, she hasn’t faced an opponent of Svitolina’s quality. I think her speed and athleticism can give Serena some problems and make for a relatively tight affair here. I ultimately see Serena pulling it out, although Svitolina should push her all the way in a very tense affair. A decent middle opportunity is also Serena to win in 3 sets at $4.20.

Belinda Bencic vs Bianca Andreescu
Over 21.5 Games

Belinda Bencic

Even at just 22 years of age, Bencic is already an established force on the WTA tour. She is having another strong year in 2019, going 43-16 in singles matches with 1 title to her name. She has faced some tough competition en route to the quarters, defeating Cornet, Osaka, and Vekic in consecutive matches. As someone who excels on the faster courts, she now boasts a 13-4 singles record at the US Open.

Bianca Andreescu

The 19-year old Canadian has burst onto the scene this year, earning the #15 seed for this tournament. She has gone an astonishing 43-4 in singles matches, winning both the Rogers Cup and Indian Wells in the process. She has defeated several tough opponents en route to the quarters, beating Mertens, Wozniacki, and Flipkens along the way. This is her first appearance at the US Open, let alone a Semi, and the pressure could potentially get to her.

Prediction: Over 21.5 Games

As the odds would suggest, this is a very difficult match to call. These are two of the most consistent ladies on tour this season, both of whom are in career-best form. As such, I expect a very tight affair here, one that likely goes to 3 sets. I don’t mind Bencic as an outright underdog, although over a relatively low number like 21.5 appears better value.