Day two of the 2015 US Open features the round one matches from the bottom half of the draw, with Roger Federer and Andy Murray among those in action in New York on Tuesday.
The players were dropping like flies on day one in New York, with no fewer than six retirements in the men’s draw on Monday when plenty of big names were beaten in both singles competitions.
There was a win for my ‘sure thing’ treble, but losses for the ‘long shot’ and ‘value bet’ on a tricky opening day.
Michael Berrer had to serve at his best to set up the points against Tommy Robredo, but managed the exact opposite on a poor serving day for the German that gave him no chance.
The veteran did appear to struggle in the heat and humidity and had the doctor on court taking his pulse after complaints of dizziness, which presumably goes some way to explaining the scoreline.
John Millman wasted at least four set points for a 2-1 lead over Sergiy Stakhovsky and never recovered, but Andreas Haider-Maurer backers saw the Austrian take down Vasek Pospisil, who I said yesterday was much too short in the betting.
Roger Federer vs Leonardo Mayer
The layers, as they tend to do, have overreacted to Federer’s fine performance in Cincinnati and he’s much too short to win the title in New York given his draw and to beat Mayer today.
On paper this is the toughest round one draw that any of the top-32 seeds could feasibly be handed, with 33 ranked Mayer just missing out on a seeded spot, and it’s the hardest opening round of a major for Fed for a long while.
Usually Fed gets cakewalk draws early on, but he’s been given a rough one here in New York this year and although the Swiss maestro will probably win he shouldn’t be 1.01 to do so.
Federer is Mayer’s idol and that showed when the Argentine had numerous opportunities to beat him in their only career meeting on a fast hard court in Shanghai last autumn.
Federer won that one, but only 9-7 in a final set tie break, and of Fed’s 65 round one matches at majors he’s only faced a top-40 opponent four times.
The last time was against Igor Andreev in Melbourne in 2010 and that one went to four sets and Mayer definitely has the tools to make this tricky for Federer in conditions that don’t suit him quite as well as those in Cincinnati.
He’ll probably look to rush Mayer and a continuation of his new tactic of taking the serve extremely early will probably be a good one here, but the Swiss will do well to win this in three easy sets.
Over 29.5 games looks good here at 1.83 as a value bet, while the over 3.5 sets at 3.40 is also an option, and the over 0.5 tie breaks at 2.48 appeals too.
Ivo Karlovic vs Federico Delbonis
Dr Ivo looks very likely to get his US Open campaign off to a winning start in this one against Delbonis, who has only one win at a hard court major to his name his entire career so far.
That solitary success came against 18-year-old Noah Rubin (ranked 585) here in New York last year and against the top-50 on hard courts Delbonis is 2-10.
Delbonis did test Karlovic greatly in their only prior career clash, which came on indoor hard in Vienna last autumn, and that one went to three breakers, which isn’t exactly surprising given their stats.
Over 10.5 games in set one will probably come in, but it’s a bit tight on price, and I like the idea of adding Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem to make a 1.36 treble.
Wawrinka faces Albert Ramos, who hasn’t even bothered to play a single match on a hard court as a warm-up for a tournament that he has only ever won one match at in five tries.
Stan is occasionally a concern as a short-priced pick, but he has won all 16 of his matches in majors as a 1.01 to 1.10 shot.
Thiem probably wouldn’t be my choice against a decent opponent, as he’s probably tired after a tough couple of months on clay, but he faces Daniel Gimeno-Traver, who has lost his last nine matches and is winless since the French Open.
Hard is a problem for DGT at the best of times, with a 2-6 record at the US Open and a 1-13 record against top-20 opposition on hard courts.
Of the other short ones on Tuesday Tomas Berdych should win comfortably, but Denis Istomin looks far too short, as does Sam Querrey and Jiri Vesely, while Marcos Baghdatis has been injured (as has opponent Steve Darcis) and I couldn’t back Bernard Tomic or Jack Sock at 1.10 and shorter.
Jared Donaldson vs Lukas Rosol
Rosol has a dire record at the US Open in the main draw, with zero wins in his four matches and he’s been on the receiving end of some heavy defeats here, including a real drubbing from Borna Coric last year.
Pospisil thrashed him a few years ago here, and he’s also lost to Benjamin Becker, for whom that victory was only the German’s second since 2006 in New York.
So, it’s fair to say it’s not his favourite tournament and the erratic and occasionally brilliant, but often-dire Czech has won only three matches since the French Open.
Rosol has also lost six of his last 11 matches against under-21 year olds and Donaldson may well be the more motivated of the pair as a wild card in his home Grand Slam.
The 18-year-old played well against Jerzy Janowicz in Cincy and should have taken JJ to a third set after wasting plenty of set points and he was only beaten in three tie breaks by another big server in Sam Groth in Winston-Salem.
The 2.70 about a Donaldson win can be combined with the 2.50 about another underdog in Aljaz Bedene to make a 6.75 ‘long shot’ double.
Ernests Gulbis is another with a poor record in New York and after appearing to have turned the corner in Montreal, with a run to the last eight and a set taken from Novak Djokovic he then lost to Rosol and Ilya Marchenko.
The crazy Latvian has won only three of his last 10 matches at the US Open and he takes on new Brit Bedene, who beat Gilles Simon in Winston-Salem.
It took three breakers for Bedene to defeat Simon and that clearly left him with nothing for the next round when he was easily beaten by Pierre-Hugues Herbert, but if he’s going shot for shot with Gillou he’s in good enough form to beat Gulbis.
Sure thing: Back Karlovic, Wawrinka and Thiem at 1.36
Value bet: Back over 29.5 games in Federer/Mayer at 1.83
Long shot: Back Donaldson and Bedene at 6.75