Rafael Nadal’s bottom half of the draw are in action on day two in New York and with 32 matches set for Tuesday we’ve a lot to consider again on a day where again it shouldn’t be too hot for the players at around 22C in the shade.
Juan Ignacio Londero provided us with a very comfortable winner on day one when the Argentine not only covered the handicap but beat Sam Querrey as a good underdog.
Unfortunately, Milos Raonic withdrew, meaning our bet on Nicolas Jarry to beat him was a void, while Thiago Monteiro was woeful against a Bradley Klahn who played very well indeed.
The list of players on day two that have weak records so far in their careers at the US Open includes:
Pablo Andujar: 3-6 win/loss
Aljaz Bedene: 1-5 win/loss
Federico Delbonis: 2-4 win/loss
Bjorn Fratangelo: 1-3 win/loss
Santiago Giraldo: 1-7 win/loss
Robin Haase: 3-9 win/loss
Steve Johnson: 5-8 win/loss
Albert Ramos: 3-8 win/loss
Jan-Lennard Struff: 3-5 win/loss
Frances Tiafoe: 1-4 win/loss
Jordan Thompson: 1-3 win/loss
Of these I’m often tempted to take the often-overrated Jordan Thompson on when he’s priced up as favourite and I’d give Joao Sousa a fair chance against the Aussie this time, but it doesn’t strike me as great value at evens.
Sousa cannot be underestimated at this event, as he’s beaten the likes of Grigor Dimitrov, Feli Lopez, and last year Pablo Carreno Busta and Lucas Pouille, so Thompson losing to Sousa would be no surprise to me.
Sousa likes to grind opponents down with his fitness and that approach has worked for that sort of player before against Kyle Edmund, who I feel needs to be on top of his game to get the better of the likes of Pablo Andujar easily.
Looking at Kyle’s record against my list of ‘baseline grinders’ it’s clear that when he’s on form and away from clay he’s dealt with them comfortably (Ramos 6-0, 6-2; Albot 6-3, 6-3; Munar 6-4, 6-4, 6-4; Andujar 6-3, 6-2) but when he’s not near his best it’s not gone smoothly.
We saw against Daniil Medvedev how frustrated and impatient Edmund can get when he can’t punch a hole in the opponent’s defence and while Andujar is no Medvedev if Edmund isn’t on form he might get caught out as he did against Paulo Lorenzi here last year.
I’m not sure how committed Andujar is to this though, as his last three matches here in new York have all been retirements (one was the opponent, Jack Sock) but I’d be uneasy backing Edmund at 1.20 here on his recent inconsistent form and fitness.
I’m tempted to take a punt at big odds on Dominic Thiem not being fit enough for duty on Tuesday, with the Austrian struggling with a virus and having reportedly cancelled his practice sessions here so far.
"I'm feeling better, physically not nearly at 100%, but I will play on Tuesday for sure,” he said. “Whether it will be successful or not, I don't know."
His opponent, Thomas Fabbiano, has been in fine form on the quicker surfaces lately, making the final set of the Eastbourne semi finals on grass and then taking down Stefanos Tsitsipas and Ivo Karlovic at Wimbledon.
Clearly, it’s a gamble on fitness mainly, but at 6-1 I’m happy to take a flyer here.
Another possible option for taking on a possibly unfit player at decent odds exists when two of the game’s more injury-prone sorts go head-to-head: Filip Krajinovic and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.
Stebe has had an atrocious run in recent years with injury, but he bounced back to prominence on clay at altitude in the rain in Gstaad recently, making the final there, beating the likes of Sousa, Fabbiano, Vesely and Moutet.
Some of those matches were played on the same day as well, so he’s proven his fitness and after a couple of (admittedly poor) showings on hard courts since he might outlast the brittle Krajinovic here.
Krajinovic retired last week against Frances Tiafoe in Winston-Salem and also here in New York last year against Matt Ebden, so assuming that he’ll win this is a dangerous ploy.
It seems to me that Lloyd Harris’s price against Egor Gerasimov is another one affected by injury in what would surely be a 50/50 sort of a match had Harris not retired with a calf injury in Winston-Salem.
Robin Haase has a 5-0 career record over Diego Schwartzman, but Haase was favourite for four of those five and given Haase’s appearance in the list of those with poor US Open records I’m not tempted to back him here.
Antoine Hoang looks a tad lightweight for this level at the moment and I’m surprised that Leonardo Mayer is as big as 1.60 to beat the French wild card in this one.
Mayer has a fair record at the US Open, despite the fact that he’s had some awful draws and his last five losses in completed matches in New York have been against Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori, Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro.
Mayer’s price is probably due to him not having played on a hard court since Miami, but he often doesn’t and in 2017 he didn’t play for a month between Hamburg and here and he went on to beat Gasquet and Sugita and then took the opener against Nadal before losing in four.
Mayer doesn’t lose often in the price range of 1.51 to 1.69, with an excellent 11-3 record on outdoor hard at main level in that price range and in all he’s won 17 of his last 24 when he’s been in that range.
The Argentine has also won five of his six Grand Slam matches in that price range, with the one he lost coming after he blew a two set lead and lost a tie break for a 3-0 win against Jan-Lennard Struff at Wimbledon last year.
Hoang has shown little so far at main level, holding serve only 68.8% of the time and breaking 21.6% of the time in his eight matches (3-5 win/loss) for a total of 90.4.
Mayer should be too powerful and -2.5 games on him at 1.85 looks the bet here.
Another favourite that looks less than secure is Stefanos Tsitsipas, who comes here with doubts over his form and fitness and faces an in-form opponent first up.
Andrey Rublev has been getting better for a while now after injury and we were unlucky not to land a 50-1 winner with him on the clay of Hamburg when he lost in the final and since then he’s gone on to beat no less than Roger Federer on the clay.
Rublev and Tsitsipas haven’t clashed for a while, but in the two matches they did content both held serve 83.6% of the time and if we take the most recent form of the pair it’s Rublev that leads the way.
The Russian is 6-4 in his last 10 main level matches and with a hold/break total of 108, while Tsitsipas is 5-5 and on 100.7, again not breaking serve enough at a mere 14.7% in those matches.
The Greek has had his thigh strapped up of late and perhaps he hasn’t been fully fit, but Rublev will surely at least make this close and evens about Rublev +1.5 sets looks the wager.
I’m also less than convinced that Alexander Zverev will have anything other than a testing time of it in his opener against the determined Radu Albot, with Zverev’s form being little better than atrocious at the moment.
He’ll probably have enough of an advantage of first serve to get through and Albot’s price isn’t big enough for me to take an interest.