The final of the men’s singles at the 2016 US Open is set for Sunday at Flushing Meadows, with Novak Djokovic taking on Stanislas Wawrinka.
One double fault, an absolutely shocking missed sitter of a volley and a broken string in the very first game of the women’s final on Saturday pretty much summed up how our luck’s been going of late.
That did for the first service break wager and to compound it, Karolina Pliskova seemed set to land us the ‘long shot’ of a 2-1 win over Angelique Kerber at 3-1 up in the decider, but lost five of the next six games.
Hopefully our fortunes will fare better in the men’s final at around 21:00 UK time (16:00 local) on Sunday when world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic faces Stan Wawrinka.
After the Serb and his semi final opponent Gael Monfils both suffered in the New York heat and humidity on Friday we’re set for a less humid, sunny day on Sunday at around 28C in the shade and 37 percent humidity.
So, we shouldn’t be needing to factor conditions into our bets today really, as Wawrinka looks to become the biggest priced winner of a US Open final since Juan Martin Del Potro in 2009.
Novak Djokovic vs Stanislas Wawrinka
This 25th meeting between the Serb and the Swiss looks set to hopefully light up what has, in truth, been a largely disappointing tournament that up until now seems likely to remembered for the matches that didn’t take place rather than the ones that did.
Djokovic came into this tournament with a major question mark over his fitness, which still hasn’t been fully answered, thanks to a series of either non-existent or feeble/downright weird performances from his opponents.
Jiri Vesely didn’t show, while Mikhail Youzhny barely did, and the French duo of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils produced barely credible efforts, so it’s up to Wawrinka to give Djokovic an actual match.
And surely he will, with the two-time major winner having won his last 10 finals in a row and being the only right-handed player ever to have beaten Djokovic at a major having lost the opening set.
Stan’s the only player to have beaten Djokovic at a hard court major having lost the opener and as he showed against Kei Nishikori he doesn’t panic at a set and a break down, trusting in his ability and fitness to see him through.
The Swiss is clearly happy with his fitness, saying after the Nishikori match: “I knew I could fight for three, four, five hours. I want to make them suffer.”
Only really Rafa Nadal v Lucas Pouille and perhaps Nishikori v Andy Murray have been the kind of pulsating night matches the US Open is known for, but this evening’s clash has the ingredients for another.
As Djokovic himself realises, Wawrinka is the archetypal big-match player, with that winning run in finals and the fact that he’s twice won a major (beating Djokovic both times) yet only won one Masters 1000, and it would be hugely surprising and disappointing if he didn’t make a match of this.
Stan has won two of his last three Grand Slam meetings with Djokovic and the last three that he’s lost have been in the fifth set and with the Serb yet to show that he can go toe-to-toe with the best over five this fortnight we have to side with Stan in some way here.
Djokovic has shown the tetchiness of a man not confident in his physical fitness and regardless of his assertions of being fit I’m not convinced and this match has the feel of a potential five set battle about it.
Wawrinka +1.5 sets at 2.10 is one option, as is the over 4.5 sets at 3.30 and the 8.50 about the Swiss winning it 3-2 is hardly a no-hope wager either given their career series in majors.
Both players have shown their irritable sides this fortnight, with Djokovic for no apparent reason, whining at the umpire when it total control of the match against Monfils and ripping his shirt off like Carlos Berlocq (except not through joy), while Wawrinka's been obliterating the odd racquet.
Djokovic is certainly prone to a racquet smash when under pressure and Stan likes to get his frustrations out that way, so 4.0 about a code violation for racquet abuse looks decent.
Their opening sets tend to be quick affairs, with three of their last five in majors going under 8.5 games, which is a 4.60 chance today and another viable ‘long shot’ wager.
Wawrinka to win at 3.20 is also decent, with Djokovic appearing to be less than his usual immense self this fortnight, but nobody has tested him yet. Stan should do today.
Sure thing: Back Wawrinka +2.5 sets at 1.38
Value bet: Back code violation for either player at 4.0
Long shot: Back Wawrinka to win 3-2 at 8.50