TENNIS analyst Gavin Mair (@gavinnightmair) takes a look at Tuesday's action at the US Open from Flushing Meadows.
Day one of the US Open saw the shock defeat of world number one Simona Halep as she was hit off the court by the always dangerous Kaia Kanepi. Recent Grand Slams have had plenty of upsets and I don’t think many will be surprised to see that trend continue.
The second day features the first round matches of players positioned in the bottom half of both the men’s and women’s draw, and to be honest it would be a surprise if any of the heavy favourites such as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic or Angelique Kerber lost. But as Halep showed yesterday – nothing is certain.
There are a lot of good betting opportunities on Day 2 of the US Open. Here I have highlighted a couple of matches with long odds, where I believe there is value in the start price but I am also aware that they are odds against for a reason.
Yuichi Sugita v Richard Gasquet | Tuesday 28th August 2018, 16:00 | Amazon Prime
The odds suggest Yuichi Sugita is a heavy underdog in this match, and given the prolonged losing streak for the Japanese player it is understandable why.
Sugita has been hit off the court by some power-hitters on a couple of occasions during the US hard court season, but today he will play Richard Gasquet who provides a different style of match-up than has been problematic for him recently.
Last season Sugita broke through making unexpected runs through draws at clay court events before lifting a grass court title in Antalya. In the latter half of the year he was competitive at the higher level events that he became eligible for based on his successes earlier in the season.
2018 has unsurprisingly been difficult for the Japanese who has regressed to something of a more familiar level.
At the start of Sugita’s rise last season he defeated Gasquet in Barcelona in a result that raised quite a few eyebrows as it took place on clay, where you would expect the Frenchman to almost certainly win. Gasquet wasn’t at full fitness at the time and although he may be slightly excused there was more to Gasquet’s defeat than purely fitness issues as Sugita used his craft to attack Gasquet throughout the majority of the match.
A year and a half later and the pair are scheduled to meet in the first round of the US Open. Like in Barcelona Gasquet will take to court under an injury cloud having withdrawn from several tournaments this summer and running out of steam in Cincinnati against Pablo Carreno-Busta.
Furthermore, Gasquet has not enjoyed himself at the US Open recently having lost in the first round on his last two visits to New York despite starting as a sub 1/3 favourite in both matches.
Tread carefully but Sugita at 4/1 with 888 looks like a value price for several reasons.
Taylor Townsend v Amanda Anisimova | Tuesday 28th August 2018, 17:00 Amazon Prime
Amanda Anisimova is destined to be competing at the top of women’s tennis in the not too distant future. At only 16 years of age she has already tasted a good deal of success in the adult game.
Back in March she was awarded a wild card to Indian Wells where she defeated the seeded duo of Petra Kvitova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, eventually reaching the round of 16 at what is one of the tour’s biggest events of the year.
Due to her age – that excludes her from playing at a professional level every week – as well as some injuries Anisimova has not featured too often this year re-emerging again at a couple of Premier level events this summer.
Again, Anisimova gave a decent account of herself by reaching the Round of 16 at both Cincinnati and San Jose.
There is no doubting Anisimova’s potential but I have seen a couple of flaky moments from the promising junior so far. Back in March against Karolina Pliskova she attempted to employ cynical medical time outs to break up the rhythm of her opponent, and in Miami a week later she pulled out of her clash against Garbine Muguruza, who probably would have given her a tennis lesson.
There is a lot of media praise for the exciting talent but she does come across as rather brattish and immature. She has rarely experienced adversity in her young career and there is no guarantee that she can replicate her level week in week out. Anisimova starts as a strong favourite against Taylor Townsend who herself was at one time considered the next big thing of American tennis having won several junior Grand Slam titles.
Townsend has taken a long time to rise to the boil, but this season she has become a more consistent top 100 level player. By no means a stand out talent, but certainly more composed and a dangerous player if she is able to develop.
Townsend has not played on the tour this summer instead opting to play the ‘World Team Tennis’ circuit – which is a team event featuring men’s and women’s players who play plenty of quick matches in singles and doubles. Whilst not usually featuring players in the top 100 Townsend was the star player this summer – voted the women’s MVP of the tournament – and should head into the US Open with some confidence.
Anisimova and Townsend met last season in Miami with Townsend winning fairly comfortably in the end. Yes, it was against a 15-year-old Anisimova but it should still count in her favour.
I think there is a fair deal of hype in the Anisimova price – she starts as as short 1/3 with some books. It suggests Anisimova is already a top 50 player which she almost certainly will be, but she has a lot of work ahead of her to reach that level.
A small bet on Townsend at 47/20 (Unibet) may again provide decent value.