US Open 2013 – week 1, Monday

I almost posted “1 more sleep” last night but thought it sounded a bit sad!

I think this could be one of the most interesting slams for a while on the men’s side. Djokovic, Murray and Federer ( and Ferrer for that matter ) come into the tournament with below par recent form and Nadal has a chance to get his number 1 ranking back. I am hoping for a good week from Gulbis as I have backed him at 440. I only got peanuts matched but a 4th round performance or maybe even a quarter final would see a nice return for my pocket change.

 

As usual there is very little value on the match odds markets for the men with the best of 5 format making it so tough for the lower ranked players to get the win. The handicap and total game markets could be worth a look though.

 

Suarez Navarro‘s ability on hard courts is often played down as she is more at home on the clay. She sometime struggles on her serve on the faster courts and perhaps feels she has to put more into the serve away from the dirt courts. When she gets it right though she is tough to beat on any surface. Last week she took Halep to three sets and for a set and a half looked to be in control. Halep hadn’t found the form that she showed at the end of the week but it still gives an indication of Carla’s level. She also beat Vinci in straight sets in the previous match.

In Cincinnati Davis took Li Na to 3 sets and beat Zakopalova in 2 tie breaks and in Toronto she beat Kuznetsova…….twice.

As long as Navarro doesn’t try to serve too big I have to favour her to get the win but her SP of 1.40 is just too low. I think we will see a lot higher price  and I won’t be surprised at all if she goes an early break down.

Update: Close match! Suarez Navarro won 6-0, 6-0.

 

Kanepi has beaten Vania King in both their previous matches although both were on clay.

Kanepi reached the quarter finals at Wimbledon where she lost to Lisicki but she hasn’t played since. She didn’t play in Cincinnati because she claimed to want to finish the year injury free. That doesn’t make sense unless she is carrying more than the usual aches and niggles that all players have all year round.

King’s form is very up and down and she can have real problems on serve. However she took Azarenka to a tie break in Cincinnati and beat Mladenovic and Niculescu in earlier rounds ( Niculescu in qualifying) and in front of her home crowd she might be able to push Kanepi to 3 sets. Kanepi would need to be carrying an injury for King to win but I feel she will trade higher than her SP of 1.40 .

Update: Kanepi won 4-6, 7-6, 6-1.

 

I can’t back Tomic against Ramos at 1.30 but if he is concentrating on his tennis and isn’t distracted by the drama his Dad seems to attract he will be too strong over 5 sets. I don’t expect this to be over in 3 sets though and Ramos will usually fight well away from his favoured clay courts.

I’ll be looking to lay Tomic below 1.25 in the early games .

Update: Tomic took the opening set. Ramos then took the next 2 sets and the 4th went to a tie break which Tomic took.

Tomic won 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.

 

Venus will be out for revenge after Flipkens beat her in 3 sets in the recent Rogers Cup. Williams won the first set 6-0 as Flipkens was trying to find her timing after injury but the Belgian took sets 2 and 3 easily.

Williams is likely to struggle in at least 1 of the sets and I feel that Flipkens offers more value. She starts at 2.12 and if I can get a lay on Williams below 1.60 I will take it. If Williams is having problems from the service line in the early games though I may be tempted to get on Flipkens at any price above evens.

Update: Williams wasn’t struggling at all! A very strong performance from the American.

Williams won 6-1, 6-2.

 

Verdasco has to be a lay at 1.56 against Dodig. Dodig has been starting matches aggressively in recent weeks. Verdasco is rightly the favourite but an initial lay for a trade seems s decent place to start. I will shift any green onto Verdasco if he loses the first set.

Update: Dodig took the opening 2 sets but Verdasco pulled back to 2-2. Dodig scraped through the 5th.

Dodig won 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3.

 

Robredo was the comeback king at the French Open when he recovered  from 2 sets down in 3 consecutive matches. Today’s opponent Matosevic has an awful record in the slams and has lost in the first round in his last 5 majors. To put that into context though his losses were to Ferrer ( French open), Cilic ( Oz and US Open ) and Malisse ( Wimbledon 2012). Only his loss to Rufin in this year’s Wimbledon could be seen as poor.

Matosevic’s recent form on the hard courts hasn’t been bad at all. Quarter finals in his last 2 events ( Montreal and Washington ) should mean he comes into the US Open with a fair amount of confidence.

Between 2004 and 2010 Robredo only failed to reach the fourth round of the US Open once which was when he lost in the third round to Gulbis in 2007. He missed 2011 through injury and made the second round last year but wasn’t 100% fit.

I think this could be a 4 or 5 setter and am going with Robredo to come through in the end. I won’t be getting involved at the start as whilst  I can see Robredo getting caught in a late break in the opening set 1.70 is no price to lay in this one.

Update: Robredo won in 4 sets, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.

 

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