The third round of matches in the Men’s Singles at the 2014 US Open gets underway at Flushing Meadows on Saturday, with eight matches on the card for today.
My bets on Friday were both winners as Gael Monfils overcame a slow start in which he threw in four double faults in his opening service game of the match to cover the handicap against Alejandro Gonzalez.
Lamonf was his usual brilliant and daft self and almost threw it away at the death when 5-0 and match points up, but two games later he broke the Colombian for victory.
Then Federico Delbonis won the second set of his match with Gilles Simon from 1-3 behind to land the +2.5 sets handicap in that one.
It’s set to be an uncomfortable day for the players weather-wise on Saturday, with the humidity rising to around 78% late in the day and 13mph winds to boot, so conditions are set to be testing.
Philipp Kohlschreiber vs John Isner
This is not a good match-up for Isner, with the German player having beaten him here at this third round stage twice before and taking a set on every other occasion they’ve met.
If it weren’t for the fact that Isner is far more clutch than Kohlschreiber the 4-2 head-to-head lead that the American currently holds would probably be the other way around and for me there is value in the German here.
Isner has been struggling with a bad ankle that saw him pull out of Winston-Salem – a tournament he won on two prior occasions – and he hasn’t looked in the best of form so far this fortnight in New York.
Kohlschreiber had a comfortable passage – perhaps too comfortable – to this stage when Michael Llodra retired in their second round match and he wasn’t tested in round one either.
He seemed to be striking the ball very well against Llodra though and he scores against Isner by taking the ball early, returning well and rushing Isner – putting him into places he doesn’t want to be in.
This makes Isner miss and he’s not able to tee off on his forehand as often as against some players, which means he has to serve at his absolute best all match to beat Kohlschreiber.
Conditions here don’t suit Isner as much as, say, Indian Wells or Cincy, where his serve gets up much higher and a hat trick of wins here for Kohlschreiber over Isner in three straight years is on the cards.
For reasons, I’m not so sure about this one has been scheduled for around 15:00 local time (20:00 UK) on Louis Armstrong Court, while the night match on Ashe has been given to Nick Kyrgios and Tommy Robredo.
Perhaps the heat of the day will be better for the Isner serve, but for me the value lies with Kohlschreiber at 2.28.
Kei Nishikori vs Leonardo Mayer
I think it’s worth taking a small chance on Mayer here at decent odds with the possibility still very much in the air that Nishikori could struggle having just returned from injury.
Always a retirement risk at the best of times, the Japanese star was perhaps reducing expectations at home by playing down his chances of doing anything in this tournament.
Nishikori said he may not even play his first round match, but play it and win it he did and that was followed up by another victory – ironically by way of retirement – against Pablo Andujar in round two.
All very good for Kei, but he was barely tested in either match and I’m not convinced that a real test against quality opposition won’t see him struggle physically.
Mayer has been playing very well of late and looked good against an admittedly crocked Matt Ebden in round two and there’s no reason why he can’t give Nishikori a big test today.
There’s little point in playing the handicaps in this situation and the straight win is worth chancing at 3.60.
Elsewhere, the +2.5 sets on Blaz Kavcic is tempting against Stan Wawrinka, who, when he’s not telling the crowd to be quiet is always likely to lose concentration and drop a set, as he has before to Kavcic.
Back Kohlschreiber to beat Isner at 2.28
Back Mayer to beat Nishikori at 3.60