THREE strong Round 2 bets for Mark Stinchcombe (@markstinchcombe) at the US Open here.
Garbine Muguruza v Johanna Konta | Thursday 16:00 | Sky Interactive
Johanna Konta is in the form of her life at the moment. She’s won 20 of her 26 hard court matches this year, including her last 14, dropping just three sets since Wimbledon, winning ITF tournaments Vancouver and Granby.
Despite playing in the ITF competitions she’s beaten some decent players along the way including Kirsten Flipkens, Yanina Wickmayer and Petra Martic, all who normally ply their trade on the WTA tour.
She’s already won four matches here to get to this stage including dropping just three games in her 6-3 6-0 1st round victory over Louisa Chirico, who let’s remember dispatched Heather Watson by the same scoreline in Washington earlier this month.
Garbine Muguruza on the otherhand hasn’t enjoyed the best US hard court swing. Since losing the Wimbledon final, she’s lost in the opening round of both Cincinnati and Toronto without winning a set as heavy favourite at odds of 2/9 and 4/11 respectively.
These two have met twice in their career with the scoreline standing at 1-1 including meeting in the 3rd round of Eastbourne earlier this summer where Konta prevailed in three. Johanna was 13/10 that day, so to be nearly a unit bigger on what is clearly her preferred surface looks to be too big. Muguruza has also lost two of her three matches here, including in straight sets in the 1st round last year when priced at 1/5.
Simona Halep v Kateryna Bondarenko | Thursday 18:00 | Sky Interactive
World number two Simona Halep has now won 32 of her 36 hard court matches this year after cruising into a 6-2 3-0 1st round lead before Marina Erakovic retired.
However, it’s not always been plain sailing for Simona with 13 of her last 23 hard court matches featuring three sets (57%). It’s difficult to explain how someone who’s won 89% of her 36 matches allows their opponent to take a set but in tennis it only takes one slack service game in a tight set to relinquish control.
However, she shows good mental strength to put these setbacks behind her and re-focus her concentration to come through with the victory – seven of the final sets in this spread she’s won 6-2 or better.
This will be the 1st meeting between Halep and World Number 104 Katerina Bondarenko but I think the Ukrainian’s showing enough in her game at the moment to take a set. She’s won 13 of her last 17 hard court matches, making the quarter finals of Istanbul beating Venus Williams along the way.
Only in that victory and in her three set win against Mona Barthel was she not favourite before we get carried away with her price of 8/1. However, 4/1 looks good value on her pushing Simona far enough to take a set in a defeat. Her loss to Elina Svitolina was in three sets and she pushed both Eugenie Bouchard and Lesya Tsurenko close in tie-breaks (7-6  7-6  and 7-6  7-5 respectively).
Mikhail Youzhny v John Isner | Thurasday 19:00 | Sky Interactive
This 2nd round match features what we can now probably describe as two veterans of the tour as 30 year-old John Isner takes on 33 year-old Mikhail Youzhny.
Isner has had a pretty consistent year in comparison to the Russian, winning Atlanta as well as making the final of Washington earlier this month and the semi’s of Miami. However, I can’t help but think he’s played an awful a lot of matches this year that will eventually catch up with him – he’s already played the same amount of matches as the whole of 2014.
He suffered a surprising loss as 4/7 favourite in the 1st round of Cincinnati in his previous tournament and that’s not his first defeat when expected to win. He’s lost 24 matches this year – 14 of them he was odds on favourite, including at short prices against Rajeev Ram (1/7), Teymuraz Gabashvili (3/10), James Ward (3/10) and Marinko Matosevic (1/4)..
I mentioned Youzhny’s inconsistent year earlier but he’s shown a bit of form of late, making the 3rd round of Montreal where he lost to Rafa Nadal after beating Gilles Simon and Viktor Troicki at prices of 3/1 and 9/4 respectively.
Two-time semi-finalist and quarter-finalist here two years ago, Youzhny has faced Isner twice in his career winning on both occasions on hard court, including here in 2010.
Isner’s record isn’t the greatest here having only progressed beyond the 3rd round once. Take a chance Youzhny prevents him going any further at 7/2.