Thursday was another drama filled day in New York and a very unfortunate one for a couple of my bets. The day began in agonising style as Bojana Jovanovski, needing just a set, was beaten in two tie breakers by Dominika Cibulkova.
It’s safe to assume that those two aren’t best friends after a display of disdain for one another that involved fist pumping at net cord fluke winners and excessive screeching, topped off with a perfunctory handshake at the end.
There was better news later on though as Roberta Vinci toughed it out against Yaraslava Shvedova to earn us a winner before a stunning display of power tennis from James Blake crushed Marcel Granollers. I said yesterday that Blake could become inspired and that’s exactly what happened and the New York-born veteran moved through to the next round with a straight sets win.
While Blake moves on it’s the end of the road for his mate Andy Roddick, who announced his retirement yesterday and who plays Bernard Tomic tonight in what will be the former champion’s final match should he lose. I expect that one to go long and another that surely will be at least four sets is the Lleyton Hewitt vs Gilles Muller encounter that takes place on Court 11 this evening.
Neither of these players know when they are beaten as Muller has shown here many times, including against Mikhail Youzhny a few days ago, and Hewitt has made a career of it. The total games mark has been set at a big 41.5 games and I still think it will go over that at 1.87
Another match that will probably go long in a tournament where we’ve already seen a US Open record of 10 matches where the winner has come from 2-0 down to prevail is the clash between Alexandr Dolgopolov and Marcos Baghdatis.
Dolgo has cost me on several occasions by his no-shows, but I can’t see him putting in another shabby effort here, particularly after his amazing comeback from 2-0 and 4-0 down in the first round. You’d think that might have drained him, but his opponent, who has been suffering from a back injury of late, had to fight even harder for longer to overcome the limited Mattias Bachinger in round one.
The pair have met on five occasions so far, with Dolgo winning the last two and I think that the 1.60 about him winning this match is worth taking.
My final wager today is for Maria Sharapova to hand out a serious beating to American college player Mallory Burdette. Maria does not mess about in the opening stages of Grand Slams, as her early matches here have shown, with 6-2, 6-2 and 6-0, 6-1 wins over decent opponents.
The Russian has been given a -7.5 game handicap against her – how can I put this kindly – not overly athletic opponent and she’s covered that mark in the early rounds of majors eight times already this year. Burdette’s confidence will be high after a great recent run at lower levels and she’s an up and coming young player, but I feel she’ll get a severe lesson from one of the best today.
The 21-year-old will be experiencing her first taste of Arthur Ashe Stadium Court today and her ruthless opponent looks sure to make it a quick one at odds of around 2.0
Best Bets: Back over 41.5 games in Hewitt vs Muller at 1.87. Back Dolgopolov to beat Baghdatis at 1.60. Back Sharapova -7.5 games to beat Burdette at 2.0