US Open: Zverev can herald the march of the new generation

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TENNIS boffin Gavin Mair (@gavinnightmair) analyses the men’s outright picture ahead of the 2017 US Open.

US Open | 28th August – 10th September 2017 | Sky Sports

Rarely has there been such an open Grand Slam event on the men’s tour. This year’s US Open sees the absence of three of the tournament’s recent winners as Stanislas Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have withdrawn through injury.

Further to this, there is doubt over the well-being of five time champion Roger Federer, who
withdrew from Cincinnati, as well as 2014 winner Marin Cilic, who has not been seen since
Wimbledon.

In addition to this the field looks weaker than usual with top players like Milos Raonic and Kei
Nishikori also posted missing.

World number one Rafa Nadal has been underwhelming since winning his 10th Roland Garros
title, and it is reasonable to cast doubt on his chances on the hard courts, where he does not
possess the unbeatable aura that he does on the clay.

The warm up tournaments showcased breakthrough titles for Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander
Zverev. For Dimitrov, it was by a long way the biggest success of his career to date, whilst for
Zverev it was a further signal of his intent at establishing himself at the top of the sport.

The US Open is there for the taking, and this article identifies the outright betting value in the
men’s draw. I use a statistical method that has returned over 125 units on the season to date.
You can track my results and read my previous previews at this link

Quarter 1

I never thought I’d see the day when I tipped Grigor Dimitrov to make the semi final of a Grand
Slam, but I am prepared to do that here.

Dimitrov has been vastly overrated for years, with his stylish game and media profile distracting
from consistently mediocre results. However, he has on occasion found some deep runs at
Grand Slam tournaments and these have tended to follow success in warm up events.

This was the case when he made the Wimbledon semi-final in 2014 off the back of success at
Queens Club, and at the Australian Open this year following a title in Brisbane.

The honour roll of Cincinnati reads favourably to Dimitrov’s prospects of success in New York,
with previous winners of that event also having found success at the US Open.

Dimitrov has it within him to make the semi-final, but also to crash and burn without much pre-
warning. At 4/1 with BetVictor to win the quarter I am willing to take a chance on him continuing
his recent form.

His most obvious competition is Rafa Nadal, who has been priced at Evens to make the
semi-finals. There is absolutely no value in that price given Nadal’s hard court form and recent
tournament history.

The rest of this section includes talents such as David Goffin and Gael Monfils, but neither of
them look to have the condition to make a deep run this year.

Quarter 2

The second quarter is Federer’s to lose, with the Swiss maestro likely to continue his superb
2017 results. Federer should be the favourite for this tournament, but I am hesitant in
recommending backing him to win this title.

He has been quoted in recent days downplaying his recent injury troubles. However, at 36
years old there is reason to be cautious with trusting his physical condition.

Furthermore, even the most pro-Federer analysis at the start of the season could not imagine him lifting three of the four Grand Slam titles this season – a feat he has achieved only once in his illustrious career.
However, choosing who will defeat Federer is a difficult task.

Nick Kyrgios is the most obvious candidate to do this in the fourth round. The Australian has all
the talent in the world but lacks the motivation to get himself into peak physical condition and it
will prevent him from winning this title, which had his professionalism matched his ability would
be a realistic achievement.

Elsewhere, 8th seeded Dominic Thiem will likely continue his struggles on the hard courts. Thiem’s best chance of Grand Slam success is at the French Open.

Juan Martin del Potro’s best days look more and more in the past as he has struggled to get
going this season and he was recently seen complaining about the condition of his left wrist,
which kept him off the court for two years.

Quarter 3

Is this going to be confirmation of Alex Zverev’s arrival at the top of men’s tennis? Zverev has been on an upward trajectory this season and now finds the number 4 seeding next to his name.

There are some good omens for Zverev in his recent successes in Washington and Montreal, as the last 20 year old to feature in both finals was Juan Martin del Potro, who would go on to win the US Open that year.

The German has struggled to make a breakthrough in Grand Slams so far in his career and he
looks a skinny price (6/5 with Ladbrokes) to come through his quarter given his underwhelming
track record.

He is however a serious contender to win this title, and 11/2 with Blacktype is a reasonable price to see him lift his first major.

Zverev’s quarter looks hazardous, and if he again fails to perform at a Grand Slam there is some value in the likes of Jack Sock at 14/1 with Betfred, but I’m personally sticking with Zverev.

Quarter 4

The bottom quarter is very open following the late withdrawal of Andy Murray. There are two players that jump off the page as having the prospect of a good tournament based on my numbers. They are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marin Cilic.

The only problem is there are big question marks over each player. The fitness of Cilic is unknown, and it is unlike him to skip the US hard court season.

Tsonga has poor form, but he has played well this season and his record in New York is strong. Tsonga is 4/1 with Coral to make the semi-finals I find him the most tempting option.

Best Bets

US Open 2017 – Alex Zverev to win (11/2 Black Type)

US Open 2017 – Grigor Dimitrov to win Quarter 1 (4/1 BetVictor)

US Open 2017 – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win Quarter 4 (4/1 Coral)

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