TennisUs Open

US Open Betting: Thiem likely to prove too strong for inconsistent Zverev in New York title clash

September 13, 2020January 5th, 2022

A new major champion will be crowned on Sunday in New York when either Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev’s name will be engraved on the trophy after a tournament that will live long in the memory.

That’s not necessarily for the quality of the tennis, but more for the (hopefully) unique circumstances that the event was played under and some of the dramatic and highly unusual incidents that occurred during it.

The stunning default of hot favourite Novak Djokovic blew the men’s event wide open and for the first time in 16 years a men’s major featured none of Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in its quarter finals.

The one to take advantage in Djokovic’s half was Zverev, who, despite some pretty ropey form, to put it kindly, managed to edge his way into his first major final, while in the bottom half Thiem has impressed in conditions and circumstances that have so far turned out to be very helpful for him.

Alexander Zverev vs Dominic Thiem

On current form, it's hard to not fancy Thiem’s chances of winning a first major title at the fourth attempt on Sunday in what will be his 10th career clash against his pal Zverev.

The Austrian has enjoyed much the better of this career series so far, winning seven of their nine matches (3-1 to Thiem on hard courts), which includes their most recent one in Melbourne back in January of this year.

There’s not much to be gleaned from looking at the stats of their rivalry though, as most of their clashes came on clay and perhaps only that Melbourne semi final is worth recalling when thinking about this next meeting.

Thiem recovered from a slow start that day to record a four set win, but even that match, as recently as January, seems a lifetime ago and a lot has happened since.

For Zverev, he continues to be a real enigma, with periods of frankly dismal play, where he appears confused as to his tactical approach and his body language is often appalling.

The quarter final and semi final were both similar in terms of Zverev’s application, with that passive approach that he reverts to far to often, leading to what could in both cases have been quick defeats, before finding something a little closer to his best form in the nick of time.

It all seems to be related to the serve for Zverev, with that shot seeming to define his approach and mood, and all too often he seems reluctant to play second serve points, instead opting to bang down 135mph second serves in an all or nothing approach.

And that often leads to a slew of double faults (0.44 per game in his last 50 main level matches on outdoor hard courts, which is double that of Thiem, by way of comparison).

Perhaps the fact that Zverev’s only won 45.7% of his outdoor hard court main level second serve points in those 50 matches (and he won only 36% of them against PCB and 41% against Coric) and that he’s clearly still far from happy with his baseline game are reasons why he’s so keen to go for hugely risky second serves.

In any case, Zverev’s level early on against Coric and Carreno Busta (and that he’s shown on and off for a long time now) will surely be nowhere near good enough to even be competitive against Thiem and that goes some way to explaining why Thiem’s a 1.24 chance to win this final.

Thiem was a 1.61 shot in Melbourne in January and while the Austrian has enjoyed some kind fortune this fortnight, his win over Daniil Medvedev means he fully deserves his place in this title match.

I would usually fancy Medvedev to beat Thiem on a fast hard court, all things being equal, but it was nowhere near quick on Ashe on Friday night and the cooler conditions and slower show courts have definitely helped Thiem this fortnight.

Medvedev also didn’t appear fully fit to go the distance this time and blew his chances against Thiem when serving for both set two and set three, which will annoy the Russian, but all credit to Thiem for coming through that test in straight sets.

It wasn’t without a scare for Thiem though, with a right heel problem maybe something to consider ahead of this final, but his physio, Alex Stober, reportedly said that he’s sure it’ll be fine for Sunday (he would say that, wouldn’t he?).

Thiem’s improvements on hard courts continue (the backhand slice has been very effective lately) and as well as showing fine form this fortnight in conditions that were slower than I’d hoped they’d be (certainly on the show courts) his inner belief right now seems far greater than that of Zverev.

That said, I’m still not keen on this price of 1.24 on Thiem and I prefer a bigger priced bet for two reasons.

Firstly, he’s admitted that he gets edgy in these big matches: “I felt nerves, having put in so much energy,” he said after beating Zverev in Melbourne. “My stomach was rebelling a bit. I have it a little, when it’s close and a tough match.”

The prospect of winning a maiden major against his friend may well heighten that and the second reason I don’t like that price is that Zverev probably has a set or maybe more in him on his best form – it’s just impossible to predict if, when and for how long that might show itself on Sunday.

Zverev’s bound to be nervous as well and this might be a bit of an edgy one early on, but if Zverev does find his serving boots earlier than set three (preferably in set one from his point of view) it might get interesting.

Zverev just can’t be relied on to produce his best stuff though and in all probability he’ll continue to be a frustrating mix of the good the bad and the ugly, which leads me to opt for Thiem to take this match 3-1 at a price of 3.75, with the over games a possibility too at this line that gives Thiem an 80% implied chance of winning this match being a tad short for me.


Best Bet


0.5 points win Thiem to beat Zverev 3-1 at 3.75