US Open Betting: Isner in need of a strong start against in-form Federer

The fourth round of the men’s singles at the 2015 US Open completes on Monday, with Roger Federer looking to book his place in the quarter finals.

Sunday’s bets were a little up and down, with the Feliciano Lopez v Fabio Fognini match going pretty much as I’d expected for a nice winner in that one, but Madison Keys was beaten and Novak Djokovic was poor by his standards.

Lopez rewarded those who took the outright win, and the -1.5 games or the -1.5 sets in a 3-0 win over a typically flat Fognini, but Serena Williams was too good for Keys, while Djokovic made very hard work of Roberto Bautista-Agut.

Djokovic was a set and 4-2 up, looking comfortable, but RBA cut loose for a while and Novak had no real answers and continued hitting and approaching the net to the much more dangerous RBA forehand, for reasons that escape me.

It’s set to be a warm and sunny Labor Day in New York on Monday, with temperatures in the shade of around 30C and a decent wind around for the last of the men’s fourth round matches.

Roger Federer vs John Isner

This looks like is has the potential to be a tricky assignment for Federer, who hasn’t faced the Isner serve for over three years now.

This will be their sixth career clash of a series that Fed leads 4-1, but it may well take the Swiss maestro a while to get a read on the Isner delivery, having not seen it up close for a long time.

Isner, for his part, comes into the fourth round of the US Open for the first time since 2011 and he enters the second week in much better shape than normal having not wasted energy by getting into long matches in the early rounds.

The American hasn’t allowed one single set of the eight he’s played go past 6-4, let alone feature a tie break, and with Jiri Vesely retiring after two sets of their third round clash he’s played fewer sets than Federer in getting here, which is unheard of.

Isner has been returning way better than he used to, which is borne out by the lack of breakers he’s played all summer – just 12 in 17 matches this hard court swing.

Compare that with last year and we find that Isner played 16 in 14 matches in the hard court summer, so he’s gone from over one per match to 0.7 per match.

But with Federer dropping only two service games since the start of Cincinnati we may well see a breaker or two today and it seems like Isner’s best chance of an upset here is to strike early.

The 3.80 on Isner taking the opening set or the Isner +2.5 sets at 2.0 look decent wagers here in this 02:00 UK time (21:00 local) encounter.

I think that’s about as good as it will get for Isner, with Federer holding a fine record of 47-12 against the big servers in my database on outdoor hard courts.

The Swiss hasn’t lost to an out and out big server on outdoor hard since Ivo Karlovic in Cincy back in 2008, but he has been overpowered by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic in recent times.

The 3.85 about a Federer 3-1 win is another option and either that or the Isner set one at more or less the same price look the best long shots today.

Tomas Berdych vs Richard Gasquet

This 22:00 (17:00 local) UK time start will be the 13th meeting between the Frenchman and the Czech and perhaps typically of the pair their series is split 6-6.

The key stat to note in this match-up is the ease of which one player or the other has got the win, with their last eight matches all ended in straight sets wins, and comfortable ones at that.

Their most recent clash, which was on quick clay at slight altitude in Madrid this spring was their closest meeting for four years, with Berdych winning 7-6, 7-5, but the vast majority of their matches have been very one-sided.

Indeed, all eight of their outdoor hard court matches have been won in straight sets and that career score is 4-4.

So, the obvious bet based on that is the unders, with the total games mark of 40.5 looking a tad high and the 1.88 about fewer than that looks very decent.

In terms of form, Gasquet played some very nice tennis against Bernard Tomic in the last round, but was very mediocre in the rounds prior to that, so perhaps he’s hitting form at the right time.

Berdych could easily have been two sets down to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in his most recent match and he doesn’t look fully fit to me, again having strapping on his left ankle during that GGL match.

In view of that and of the career series between them I’m leaning towards Gasquet here, as he has also been in the better form of the two this summer, and the -2.5 games on him looks a possible at 3.15, with the unders a safer pick.

Simona Halep vs Sabine Lisicki

For Monday’s sure thing we head over to the women’s singles and Halep looks highly likely to beat Lisicki, who should have lost in the previous round to Barbora Strycova.

The German has won only two of 13 matches against top-10 opponents since her glory run to the Wimbledon final in 2013 and one of those was against the hapless Eugenie Bouchard.

This a classic match-up of the power hitter taking on the much more solid, consistent quality of the number two seed and unless Lisicki finds her very best tennis from somewhere and keeps it up she has little chance here.

Lisicki came back from 1-5 down in the deciding set against Strycova in the last round and had the physio out for a knee problem, but she could be dangerous for a set with her all or nothing approach.

Against Halep the German has a 1-3 record, with the sole victory coming in their first meeting back in 2011 when the Romanian was outside the top-50 and Lisicki was ranked 26.

Halep can be doubled up with Vika Azarenka, who takes on Varvara Lepchenko and the Belarusian also has a 3-1 record over her opponent, with the only loss coming at an ITF event way back in 2005.

Vika came through a tough test against Angelique Kerber in the last round and Lepchenko may well make this quite close, but it’s hard to see the American getting over the line.

Azarenka has a perfect 31-0 record at Grand Slams as a 1.10 to 1.20 favourite and only once in those 31 matches has she dropped a set, which was to Aleksandra Krunic here last year.

Best Bets
Sure thing: Back Halep and Azarenka in a double at 1.31
Value bet: Back under 40.5 games in Berdych/Gasquet at 1.88
Long shot: Back Isner to win set one at 3.80