The fourth round of the men’s singles begins at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre on Sunday, with world number one Novak Djokovic among those set to be in action today.
Saturday’s play in New York brought us two winners from my three bets, with the over 33.5 total games landing comfortably in the Tomas Berdych v Guillermo Garcia-Lopez match and John Isner beating Jiri Vesely.
The only let down was Bernard Tomic, who looked rather flat, perhaps after his tough match with Lleyton Hewitt, and was outclassed by Richard Gasquet in straight sets.
We have four men’s matches on the card today and four on the women’s side, with Serena Williams in third round action, as well as Venus Williams and Genie Bouchard.
In 2014 the men’s fourth round yielded six winning favourites from the eight matches, with the two odds-against winners being only narrow underdogs in Kei Nishikori over Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils over Grigor Dimitrov.
The women’s event a year ago saw two big upsets when Aleksandra Krunic defeated Petra Kvitova as a 10.25 shot, while Mirjana Lucic-Baroni was a 9.60 winner against Simona Halep.
Feliciano Lopez vs Fabio Fognini
Lopez provided us with a nice odds-against winner a couple of days ago against Milos Raonic and I’m happy to side with the Spaniard again today, albeit at a shorter price.
The left-hander takes on Fognini for the first time in his career and Lopez comes into this one with a significant fitness advantage with Fognini having gone through a rollercoaster late night clash with Rafa Nadal.
We had a good win with Fabio that day, but his record after beating Nadal has been woeful on both occasions that he’s bested the Spaniard in 2015.
After he’d beaten Nadal in Barcelona Fogna was a 6-1, 6-3 loser to Pablo Andujar, who had lost his previous six sets to the Italian, while in Rio Fognini was beaten 6-2, 6-3 by David Ferrer after defeating Nadal there.
The next match after he beat Andy Murray easily in straight sets in Davis Cup was a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Milos Raonic, so he has form in this area and after such mental and physical energy was spent clawing back a two sets and a break deficit against Nadal we could well see it again.
Versus the big servers in my database Fognini has a 1-9 record on outdoor hard courts, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a heavy defeat today, with the Italian’s ambitions in this event likely to be done after that win over Nadal.
The -1.5 games on Lopez appeals here at 1.80, while the -1.5 sets is also an option at 2.28 and the 3-0 at 4.10 could well land too.
Serena Williams vs Madison Keys
The best of the ‘long shots’ today seems to me to be Keys, who at her best is capable of defeating Williams and ending the calendar slam dream of the world number one.
Williams is clearly nervous and both Kiki Bertens and Bethanie Mattek-Sands had their chances, but were not able to convert them into a win, but I doubt that Keys would have any qualms about taking down Williams here.
Keys played some excellent tennis in her win over Aga Radwanska that saw the young American in full flow; serving well and dictating off the ground and we know that she can compete with Serena in this manner.
We saw it for a set in Melbourne earlier this year in the semi finals there and if she brings her best game to the court on Sunday a shock is not beyond the realms of possibility.
Williams should have been a set down to Bertens and was a set down to Mattek-Sands and although history tells us that Serena tends to raise her level in majors after being threatened the pressure on her may tell.
She has appeared very edgy all week, even breaking racquets in practice, and I would put Keys ahead of the other big underdogs today in terms of potentially causing an upset.
Novak Djokovic vs Roberto Bautista-Agut
Djokovic wasn’t overly impressive in his third round match against Andreas Seppi, but he has a stellar record in round four of majors.
The world number one has won his last 32 in a row and overall he has a 33-2 record in this round of Grand Slams and he’s won eight of his last nine in straight sets.
Kevin Anderson’s big game on grass was the only one of those nine to go over three sets and it seems very unlikely that today’s opponent for Novak has anything like the game to make this close.
Bautista-Agut was rather fortunate to get through to this stage after David Goffin retired against the Spaniard with a stomach bug after initially taking a two set lead.
It’s not been the best of seasons for RBA and after making three finals in 2014 he’s yet to make one this year and his solid, but unspectacular game is unlikely to bother Djokovic much.
Goffin should have beaten him and Pablo Carreno-Busta probably should have too and overall the Spaniard has a 2-13 record against the top five.
Both his wins came in that excellent 2014 campaign when he beat Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych on hard courts, but since then RBA has a 1-21 record in sets against top-five opposition.
Of those 21 set losses none have gone past 6-4 and Djokovic has beaten him with few dramas in their two meetings in the past, which is hardly surprising.
The flat-hitting Spaniard lacks the weight of shot to punch many holes in the defence of someone like Djokovic and the Serb simply has too much in the locker for RBA.
It should be a 3-0 win for Djokovic to extend his great record in round four of majors and -8.5 games is coverable for the Serb too, while the no tie breaks at 1.42 is another option.
Sure thing: Back Djokovic to beat Bautista-Agut 3-0 at 1.30
Value bet: Back Lopez -1.5 games to beat Fognini at 1.80
Long shot: Back Keys to beat Williams at 5.60