TENNIS analyst Gavin Mair (@gavinnightmair) has enjoyed a great US Open. Here’s his take on Saturday’s night’s action from women’s final at Flushing Meadows.
Day 12 saw Juan Martin del Potro and Novak Djokovic book their places in Sunday’s US Open final. Our 13/1 outright selection on del Potro defeated our other outright pick Rafa Nadal.
Yesterday we went back in on del Potro at 13/10 who took full advantage of Nadal’s injury status to score the first two sets. With Nadal clearly struggling and with little hope of winning the match he decided to call it a day.
The retirement was good news as I had also backed a del Potro victory over five sets, but that became a void bet due to Rafa deciding to quit in the second set.
I don’t think del Potro will likely have a greater chance in his career to raise a second Grand Slam title, but he is deservedly a clear second best in the outright market to Novak Djokovic.
I will look in greater detail at that match in Sunday’s preview, but for now the focus turns to the women’s final on Saturday night.
Serena Williams v Naomi Osaka | Saturday 8th September 2018, 21:00 | Amazon Prime
This is the final I was hoping for as I backed both players outright.
Serena Williams starts this match at a best price 2/5 with Betfair, and Naomi Osaka at a best price 12/5 with Bet365. I have been hugely impressed with both players, but I find the odds entirely fair. The favourite will compete for a 24th Grand Slam title, whilst Naomi Osaka plays only her second ever main tour final.
Osaka’s first final ended in victory and whilst she is clearly a player that rides her momentum very well – as her final run here, and title at Indian Wells shows – I don’t believe she will find the cool head when she steps on court with Serena.
It has been clear from Osaka’s press comments that she idolises Williams and would never have picked up a racket had it not been for Serena and her sister Venus. Osaka also said in the press that she was shaking inside because of nerves during her matches with Lesia Tsurenko and Madison Keys.
Osaka hid her nerves very well against Keys as she fended off each of the 13 break points that she faced. Keys has a lot of power at her disposal but she is quite easy to outsmart and I am not surprised that she leaked errors in the important moments.
Serena, on the other hand, will not squander her chances. Her record at the deep end of a Slam does not need explained. Serena is playing very strong attacking tennis and holds a positive winner to unforced error ratio coming into this match. She is determining the outcome of more points than Osaka.
The Japanese player hits with power but also adds a great deal of shape and spin on the ball and that proved very effective against Keys. Osaka ended the match with a -8 winner/unforced error differential, and again it will have to be a lot cleaner than her impressive showing against Keys for her to have a chance against Williams.
Serena will have the match on her racket, and I believe that Osaka’s weapons will play into the hands of Williams.
There is a sliver of hope for Osaka in that she comfortably defeated Williams when they met in Miami earlier this year. It seemed obvious to most spectators that Williams wasn’t fit.
The past fortnight has shown that this is a better Williams than who lost – and also looked far from full fitness – against Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final. Not only do I believe that Williams will win this match but I believe it will be over in two sets.
Of Osaka’s 50 matches this season only three have gone to three sets. The other 47 have been settled in two sets – 32 wins and 15 losses. I therefore believe it is reasonable to expect that if Williams wins this match it will be done and dusted in two sets.
Serena Williams to win 2-0 is 21/20 with Matchbook.
Serena Williams v Naomi Osaka – Serena Williams to win 2-0 (21/20 Matchbook)