AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

US Open Tennis Preview

US OPEN TENNIS PREVIEW: The US Open kicks off later this afternoon with Roger Federer arriving at Flushing Meadows as the clear favourite to win his 3rd major of an incredible comeback year with the withdrawals of rivals Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and 2016 Champion Stan Wawrinka making his task significantly easier.

As a result, the main contenders appear to be Rafael Nadal, 2014 Champion Marin Cilic along with young guns Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov, who are all looking to lift their maiden Grand Slam on Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2 weeks’ time.

When previewing a tennis tournament with 128 players, the best strategy of attack is to try and analyse each quarter/half of the draw, find the weakest section and go from there.

From first viewing, the top half of the draw is incredibly competitive, in particular the 2nd quarter with Roger Federer up against Cincinnati Runner-Up Nick Kyrgios, the dangerous Juan Martin Del Potro, world Number 8 Dominic Thiem and last weeks’ Winton Salem Champion Roberto Bautista-Agut. Although Federer is favourite to get out of this quarter, I am convinced that it will be far from an easy route. With questions marks over his back and the fact that he last lifted this trophy in 2008, backing him at 13/8 is easily avoided. With the difficulty of this section of the draw, this quarter is best left alone.

The top quarter of the draw appears to be much clearer with Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov the main favourites to get out of this quarter. I do expect Rafael Nadal to win this section but an Outright price of 3/1 seems to be on the skinny side given the presence of Dimitrov along with difficult opponents lying in wait in the Semi’s and Final.

Now for the positive news

The stacked top-half of the draw means a much weaker bottom half. Alexander Zverev is the obvious choice to win the third section of the draw but quotes of 12/1 prior to his win in Montreal are long gone and the withdrawal of Andy Murray has shortened him further to an incredible price of 5/1. I cannot imagine backing him at such a short price with Borna Coric a tricky likely opponent in the second round with big servers Kevin Anderson, John Isner and Sam Querrey also lurking in this section, I would not be surprised to see him dumped out before the semi-final stage.

Marin Cilic @ 16/1 has greatly benefited by the withdrawal of Andy Murray who he has replaced as the main seed in the bottom quarter of the draw. An initial tricky first round draw against Gilles Simon has been changed to a much easier challenge in Tennys Sandgren with Florian Mayer or Rogerio Dutra Silva waiting in round 2. David Ferrer and Jo-Wilred Tsonga could provide tougher opposition but if Cilic can replicate any of the form which saw him reach finals at both Queens and Wimbledon, I would expect him to win both encounters.

One other interesting runner in this section of this draw is Montreal Semi-Finalist Robin Haase who is undoubtedly playing some of the best tennis of his career. The big-serving Dutchman also reached the semi-finals in Dubai earlier in the year and the fast courts at Flushing Meadows will assist his aggressive game. He is overpriced at 33/1 to win this quarter of the draw and a small Outright bet at 500/1 will hopefully create a good chance to green up later in the tournament.

Marin Cilic – Outright @ 16/1 – 3pt E/W
Robin Haase to win the 3rd Quarter@ 33/1 – 1pt win
Robin Haase – Outright @ 500/1 – ½ pt E/W