The second round of the men’s singles at the 2015 US Open completes on Thursday, with Swiss stars Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka among those in action on day four.
We got off to a winning start on Wednesday when the over 34.5 games came in comfortably in the end in the all-Spanish clash between Roberto Bautista-Agut and Pablo Carreno-Busta.
That one went the full five sets in the end and there was also success for the ‘sure thing’ treble of David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Rafa Nadal, who all won in straight sets.
Marsel Ilhan had his chances against Benoit Paire, but needed to win a pivotal third set, with the Frenchman hot and bothered at that stage, but the Turk blew it with errors and handed it to Paire.
It’s set to be hot again in Flushing today, with temperatures of 32C (in the shade) and high humidity, so it will be a real test of fitness as well as tennis skill again on Thursday.
Aljaz Bedene vs Donald Young
I have to take ‘The Don’ on here after one of the best wins of his career over Gilles Simon in round one.
Indeed, that victory over Simon was only Young’s second ever top-20 win at a Grand Slam, with the other coming against Stan Wawrinka again in New York back in 2011.
But I don’t like the chances of the American at 1.60 to back up the win, as he is just the sort of player to struggle to raise his level in the next match.
Young was guilty of that in Montreal when he beat Tomas Berdych and was then taken down in straight sets by Ernests Gulbis, while the same thing happened the previous time he beat a top-10 opponent.
When he beat Andy Murray at Indian Wells he got walloped by Tommy Robredo the next round and so it goes on, which leads me to side with the in-form Bedene here.
The Slovenian-born Brit also defeated Simon recently – last week in Winston-Salem – and to highlight how tough it is to take down Gillou it was all too much for Bedene, who had nothing left the next round.
That could be another factor in this boiling hot US Open, with Young having gone the full five sets with the Frenchman, while Bedene only played two and a bit before Gulbis retired in round one.
Bedene won the only prior career clash between the pair on indoor hard in Vienna and it seems to me to be a chancy wager taking The Don at odds-on in these (or most) circumstances.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs Hyeon Chung
Chung has climbed swiftly up the rankings this season and is very highly rated, but surely it’s too early in his development for him to be beating the Stan Wawrinkas of this world.
The 19-year-old from South Korea would reach a career high ranking of 66 with a win today against the French Open champion, but at main level against the top-50 he’s only managed to win two sets in the 13 he’s contested thus far.
And the two were against Marcel Granollers, so over best-of-five it’s a lot to expect of Chung to even make this close let alone take down Wawrinka, even if the latter has one of his frequent off days.
Wawrinka is 17-0 at majors as a 1.02 to 1.10 favourite and unless injury or illness intervenes it’s hard to see the Swiss not winning this match, such is his superiority in power and experience.
Stan can be lumped together with Kevin Anderson and Tomas Berdych to make a 1.27 treble on the day.
Anderson is 13-0 at main level as a 1.10 to 1.20 favourite and takes on Austin Krajicek, who has struggled against big servers so far, although he did beat Ivo Karlovic indoors earlier in the season.
Berdych faces the ageing Jurgen Melzer, who has little to offer at this level these days and may well be joining the likes of Jarkko Nieminen and Lleyton Hewitt in retirement at the end of this season.
The Czech should be too powerful for the Austrian again, as he has been in their last three meetings going back to 2011, and he hasn’t dropped a set to Melzer since 2007.
Melzer hasn’t beaten a top-10 opponent since 2011 and he’s only won two of his last 18 against top-50 opposition.
Jiri Vesely vs Ivo Karlovic
Of the long shots today the one to my mind who has a decent chance of causing an upset is Vesely, whose youth and fitness could easily end up on the winning side against an ageing opponent.
Karlovic has often struggled in the heat and his record here at the Open is poor, with the Croat never having won more than two matches at any of his visits here and he’s been beaten by the likes of Marcel Granollers and Jimmy Wang here in recent years.
This one will be played at around 14:00 local time and it’ll be very hot then, which surely won’t favour Karlovic and he’ll be relying heavily on his serve leading him to victory here.
Vesely has had success against big servers, with wins over the likes of Anderson on hard this season, and he did beat Karlovic, albeit on clay, in their last meeting.
The Czech has rarely faced big servers on hard courts, but when he has he’s done well, with that win over Anderson and a five set loss to the same opponent in the heat of Melbourne in 2014.
Tie breaks are likely here, with Vesely a strong server, and over10.5 games in set one is also an option, but I’ll take a chance on the Czech here at 3.15.
Of the others, Robin Haase could have half a chance against Richard Gasquet, but they play later when it’ll be cooler, however Mikhail Youzhny shouldn’t be discounted against John Isner, who also has a very mediocre record at the Open and could struggle in the heat.
Sure thing: Back Wawrinka. Anderson and Berdych at 1.27
Value bet: Back Bedene to beat Young at 2.23
Long shot: Back Vesely to beat Karlovic at 3.15