TENNIS analyst Gavin Mair (@gavinnightmair) returns with a look at the ante-post markets ahead of the men's US Open from Flushing Meadows.
ATP US Open | 27th August – 9th September 2018 | Amazon Prime
Since the 2005 French Open, all but eight of a possible 54 Grand Slam championships have been won by either Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic.
The closest contenders to their dominance – Stanislas Wawrinka and Andy Murray with three apiece – are coming back from injury and will do well to win their early matches in New York.
Two of the big three, Djokovic and Nadal, have an edge over the rest of the tour at the moment. The pair produced a classic five-set match at Wimbledon, edged by Djokovic who would go on to win that title.
Nadal recovered from his loss quickly by winning his very next event in Toronto; whilst Djokovic would claim the Cincinnati crown a week later. In the Cincinnati final, Djokovic defeated Roger Federer, but fans of the Swiss will not have been inspired by what they witnessed from the so-called ‘GOAT’.
Federer looked a yard slow, and struggled with his return game. Whilst it has been proven foolish to write off Federer, there are signs that his 37 years of age may be becoming a factor.
However, only one of the past nine Grand Slam finals have featured a combination of two of the big four (the aforementioned three players plus Andy Murray) so there may be some value in considering an alternative to the status quo.
Best of the rest
Below the top three in the betting market there are three players who have been correctly priced as the most feasible contenders. They are Alexander Zverev at 12/1 (BetVictor), Juan Martin Del Potro at 16/1 (Betfair) and Marin Cilic at 20/1 (Unibet).
Of the three I’d happily discount 2014 champion Cilic who is regressing to a mean level following a strong spell in major tournaments at the tail end of 2017 and the start of 2018.
Del Potro is finely positioned in the top half of the draw and has a favourable draw that could see him advance to a semi-final meeting with Nadal. The only problem is that Del Potro rarely manages to get the better of the Mallorcan.
In the third quarter Zverev is favourite to make a maiden Grand Slam semi-final, but although he has frequently been priced as the most likely alternative to the establishment, he has struggled badly at the majors.
If Zverev makes it to the semi-finals he will have elevated his game to a new level, and at that point he may stand a decent chance against Djokovic in their forecasted encounter. For me, Nadal has the clearer path to victory and can be backed at 3/1 (Bet365) to win again in New York.
ATP US Open – Rafael Nadal to win outright (3/1 Bet365)