The first of the men’s quarter finals at the 2016 US Open are scheduled for Tuesday at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, with an all-French battle starting at 13:00 local time.
Monday’s wagers yielded one winner and a very annoying loss, as Kei Nishikori eased past Ivo Karlovic in straight sets to cover the handicap, but Stan Wawrinka failed to serve out his match.
Wawrinka led by two easy sets and *5-4, but he failed to put Ilya Marchenko away and then went a break down in the fourth before recovering, but that was a frustrating one for 3-0 backers.
It’s set to be windy again and a little rainy in Flushing today, but we’re on Ashe, so it shouldn’t be an issue in Tuesday’s matches.
Gael Monfils vs Lucas Pouille
I was on Monfils outright pre-tournament at a big price and I was happy to see Milos Raonic and Rafael Nadal lose early on and now, having not dropped a set so far this tournament, is a big favourite to make the semi finals.
The difference in match time between Monfils and Pouille could scarcely be more stark, with the latter having played three five setters in a row and 19 sets in total to the 12 of Monfils.
And then there’s all the emotional energy that’s gone into Pouille’s matches – the Nadal match in particular – and you’d think he’d be feeling it by now, but at 22 years old and into a US Open quarter final he’ll be on an adrenaline high.
It’s questionable as to whether Pouille could go a long four or five against an opponent like Monfils, who’s able to rally for long periods of time, but there’s no reason why the younger Frenchman can’t win set one.
Pouille came out on fire against Nadal in set one after back-to-back five setters and he looks big at 3.40 to win the opener, just as he did when he faced Monfils in Melbourne last season.
Pouille led Monfils 2-0 that day before the latter came back to win it in five and Pouille is yet to beat a fellow Frenchman on an outdoor hard court in four tries and he’s 4-11 overall versus fellow countrymen.
Monfils is 14-9 versus Frenchmen on outdoor hard and only once has he lost to a Frenchman ranked lower than him at the time of the match, which was when Richard Gasquet was ranked 31 and beat Gael in Shanghai in 2010.
I’ve said a few times this week that Pouille is a big match player and his numbers in majors are better than his general stats, with an 8-2 record, 81.6 percent holds and 23.3 percent breaks of serve in his last 10 matches.
That isn’t too far away from Monfils’ 8-2 win/loss, 85.7 percent holds and 28 percent holds and the only reason for the price on Gael today has to be the presumed fatigue of Pouille.
It is a tall order for Pouille to come out and play the sort of tennis that we saw in the three sets he won against Nadal to win this match and his first serve percentage is still poor – it was down at 45 percent against Nadal, yet he still won.
Pouille’s game is getting better and better and more complete, with net play as well as easy power from the back on both wings and the underdog has to be decent value at 3.40 to take set one and particularly when considering Pouille's fine record as a big-priced underdog in the last year or so.
Long shot: Back Pouille to win set one at 3.40