The final Grand Slam of the year begins in New York today time and offers a host of first round betting opportunities.
As ever on day one, the stars are out in force with Sam Stosur, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka, Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova topping the bill. But none offer much in the way of value except to those chancing their arm on lengthy accumulators, so instead I’m going for a double in the men's draw today.
For the first leg, I'm backing James Blake to beat Lukas Lacko. The New Yorker will be desperate to do well again in front of his home crowd, has never been beaten in the first round, and has only lost to top-10 players here. Federer, Agassi, Hewitt, Haas, Fish, Robredo, Ferrer and Djokovic are the only players to triumphed over Blake since he first made the main draw in 2001.
Blake certainly won’t want to add Lacko’s name to that list and at 1.42 he’s a decent price to win. Lacko is on a five-match losing streak and hasn’t won a hard court match since Miami, so confidence will be low in their first career meeting.
Blake can be doubled with Marcel Granollers, who at 1.20 is once again underrated by the layers against American Denis Kudla, who is playing just his second match in the main draw of a Slam.
Granollers has shown some much improved form in North America this time around after tending to struggle on this swing in the past. He’s recorded some very good wins, reaching the last eight in Toronto and Winston-Salem. That kind of quality will be too good over five sets against the limited Kudla and the double pays 1.70.
There are three matches on the women’s side that I fancy to make a nice treble at a price of around 1.91.
Aleksandra Wozniak should prove far too much of an opponent for clay courter Alexandra Cadantu, who has only played the main draw of two hard court tournaments in her career so far. She’s never played the main draw in New York and is yet to win a match at any Grand Slam. Wozniack also won the only match between the pair so far, which took place on clay.
Nadia Petrova has surely overcome a bout of dizziness that led to her retiring in the first round of Cincy and she should have too much game for Jarmila Gajdosova, who has won one match in a hard court major since 2006. Petrova is yet to drop a set versus the Aussie in their three previous meetings and it took eventual champion Sam Stosur to defeat Petrova here last year in a very tight three-set battle.
Finally, Laura Robson has by far the best draw of the British women as she takes on American qualifier Samantha Crawford, who is ranked down at number 394 in the world. Crawford has done well to qualify having been odds-against in all three of her qualifying wins, but this will be her first ever Grand Slam main draw match and nerves are bound to kick in. Despite being only 18 herself, this will be Laura’s 10th Slam match and she should be too classy for Crawford to deal with today.
Back Granollers and Blake in a double at 1.70
Back Robson, Petrova and Wozniack in a treble at 1.91