US Open 2021 Preview – Quarter by Quarter.

A slam without Serena, Rafa and Roger. I think I read with Venus pulling out it is the first slam since 1997 where one of them has not competed. Sad times. The men’s defending champion, Dominic Thiem is out for the remainder of the season too with a wrist injury, it may require surgery. So, with the sad news out of the way let us get on with it.

Men’s


FIRST QUARTER

With Djokovic going for a calendar slam the pressure is on him, quotes of as short as 1/7 show just how fancied he is, Bet365 & Hills are both here in the market. You can get 1/5 on Victor Chandler but it’s not for me. Matteo Berrettini (13/2-9/1), Hubert Hurcakz, Ilya Ivaska, Alex De Minaur, Kei Nishikori and the highly-rated Jenson Brooksby are all in this section, the latter plays Mikael Ymer first. I will look elsewhere in the shape of an Italian and it is not Berrettini or Fabio Fognini. I will have a very small bet on Lorenzo Sonego and I mean a very small go. Not only was I reasonably impressed with his last 16 showing at SW19, but he also gave Tsitsipas a game in Cincinnati.


Recommendations
A bet for a bit of interest in Lorenzo Sonego at 80/1 with Hills/Bet365/Betfair Sportsbook or 100/1 with 888 Sport if you can get on with them. I will not be expecting to collect here and will keep this to my smallest bet of the event.


SECOND QUARTER


Sascha Zverev leads this section at 11/10 top price. The German has won back to back titles at the Olympics and in Cincinnati and has a really good chance of challenging Djokovic on paper in this half. My main concern is all the stuff going on off-court with his ex-girlfriend. Zverev seems to be saying he will take legal action against her and the people that published an interview with her on the allegations made him against him. Behind him in the betting is Denis Shapovalov and Jannik Sinner. The Canadian isn’t in the best of form after Wimbledon and Sinner won in Washington but has had a few early exits after that in the masters series. Shapovalov is a top-priced 7/1 and so is Sinner with the same firms, though Shapo is generally around 5s and Sinner a bit shorter. I really rate both players but if picking I would hope that Shapovalov can get through a few rounds here and find some form. Pablo Carreno Busta is a top-priced 18/1 with Betfair Sportsbook, Sebastian Korda is a general 18/1, then you have Karen Khachanov at 20s, Gael Monfils 20s-33s and Reilly Opelka at a top price 40s with Hills, he made the final in Toronto, losing to Medvedev. I have gone with Carreno Busta a few times before, so might as well have a small go here. The Spaniard is usually pretty consistent and has made the last four twice in New York and has a bronze medal to show for his efforts this year.


Recommendations
I would be backing Zverev all day long here usually but the off-court issues that are ongoing are enough to make me think it could be risky to part with my money. There is too much uncertainty over a lot in this section and that worries me. I will take the 9/1 Shapovalov with BetfairSportsbook/Paddy’s or the 7s with VC and the 18/1 Carreno Busta with Betfair Sportsbook (11/1 with 888Sport if not).


THIRD QUARTER


A quarter that has Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Felix AA, Ugo Humbert, Roberto Bautista Agut, Nick Kyrgios and Cam Norrie. I trusted Tsitsipas here last year where he lost in the third round to Borna Coric and though he has improved vastly at 5/4 top-price with VC and Hills, it isn’t big enough for me to put my faith in him again. Stefanos has also drawn Andy Murray first round and though he will be expected to win comfortably it just adds to me putting the line through him. Bautista Agut and Kyrgios also play each other first up. Felix hasn’t quite done it when it’s mattered thus far in the slams (he did make the last 8 at Wimbledon) or ATP finals for that matter and Norrie seems to have struggled after taking the title in Los Cabos a month ago, he also plays Carlos Alcaraz first. That leaves me with Andrey Rublev who made the final in Cincinnati. In making the final here he finally beat his friend and nemesis, Daniil Medvedev, he has also made the quarters in NYC a couple of times including last year and I think this represents a decent opportunity. Ugo Humbert and Frances Tiafoe look like the players who could go well at big prices, the American is as big as 50’s but he is in the same section as Rublev. Humbert is in the bottom section where he would face Tsitsipas in the last 16, he beat him at the Olympics and lost in Toronto recently and that is enough for me to have a few quid as a saver. I have been keeping tabs on him the last year or so, so let’s see how he gets on here.


Recommendations
Andrey Rublev at 7/2 with VC, Hills and 888, you can actually get slightly bigger with BET365 and a savour on Ugo Humbert at 18/1 with Hills or 25/1 with Betfair Sportsbook/Paddy’s if you can get on with them.


FOURTH QUARTER
Daniil Medvedev is a top-priced 8/13 for this quarter and in all honesty, he will take some beating. Casper Ruud, John Isner, Diego Schwartzman, Grigor Dimitrov, former Champion Marin Cilic and my man Dan Evans are all in here too. The Russian seems a level above this though and despite Isner showing some good form of late and Ruud proving relatively solid on the surface it is difficult to see away from Medvedev who won the title in Toronto recently. The Spaniard, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina would be a saver at 40/1 but certainly not with the 12/1 and 16/1 that are quoted elsewhere, he made the last 16 here last year.


Recommendations
Daniil Medvedev 8/13 will Hills and Bet365 and a cover at 40/1 on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina with 888Sport.


OUTRIGHTS
Based on this I will back Andrey Rublev, Denis Shapovalov and Pablo Carreno Busta each way and will back Daniil Medvedev to win. There is no doubt Djokovic is a worthy odds on jolly here but I will be hoping the pressure of the calendar slam proves too much, stranger things have happened.


Recommendations
Daniil Medvedev win only at 4/1 (general), then each-way bets Andrey Rublev at 33/1 with Hills, Shapovalov at 50/1 with Boyles and Pablo Carreno Busta at 80/1 with Victor Chandler.

Women’s

FIRST QUARTER

Top seed Ash Barty comes in here around the 5/4 mark generally but 11/8 with Victor Chandler and even a bit of 7/5 with BetfairSportsbook/Paddy Power. She recovered from not winning the Olympics by winning Cincinnati without dropping a set. Then you have Iga Swiatek at a top go 11/2, Belinda Bencic at a top-priced 10/1, the two American’s Jen Brady and Jess Pegula between 12-1 – 16/1 with Teichmann, Kontaveit and Muchova available at 20/1. I would have thought Brady was someone I would be looking out for here but her form since the foot injury and her retirement in Cincy show all may not be well still. She also plays Emma Raducanu in the first round after the Brit got through qualies.

Recommendations

Backing Barty at the 11/8 mark with VC, if you can get on with Betfair Sportsbook/Paddys maybe take the 50s Jill Teichmann if you want some value, the 20s is nowhere near as tempting though.

SECOND QUARTER

Karolina Pliskova is the 10/3 favourite but as usual, I will be taking her on. The Wimbledon finalist was also a runner-up in NYC in 2018 when she lost to Kerber. I don’t disagree that she is the jolly here but it is quite a competitive section with Paula Badosa a top-priced 5/1, similar to the former champion Bianca Andreescu but then VC go a clear standout 9/1 about her. It is difficult to back her based on what we have seen lately. Maria Sakkari is around the 8/1 mark, then Kvitova (10/1), Pavlyuchenkova and Ostapenko go from 12/1-20/1. I have been watching Badosa lately and put her up for her quarter at the French. She seems like she is going places. I won’t be going stupid at 11/2 with Hills but will back that and take Anastasia Sevastova as a small cover at a general 40/1. I won’t be expecting too much from the Latvian as the price suggests but she has made the semis a few years ago and a quarter-final showing previous to that.

Recommendations

Nothing too silly or big but Paula Badosa at 11/2 with William Hills and 40/1 Anastasija Sevastova at a general 40/1.

THIRD QUARTER

Simply wow, this is rock hard. Two times Champion Noami Osaka is around a 2/1 poke, then it is Coco Gauff around 7/1, Angie Kerber and Elena Rybakina at 9/1 and Elina Svitolina and Marketa Vondrousova around the 10/1 to 11/1 mark. Simona Halep is next at 12/1 and then players like Camila Giorgi, who won Toronto at 20/1 and Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys around the 28’s mark. This is full of quality. I will be swerving Osaka for the time being, she has undoubtedly been the standout performer on the US hardcourts the last few years but it is difficult to get involved when things have been how they have lately, including taking time out for her mental health. Coco isn’t far away but I think this looks a tough draw right now. It leads to me backing Angie Kerber as my main bet and I will have a saver on Elena Rybakina. Kerber has impressed me over the summer and looks back to somewhere where she needs to be, making the semis at Wimbledon and Toronto, losing to Barty on both occasions. Rybakina looks to be pretty solid in the majors and could take advantage of everyone beating each other up.

Recommendations

Angie Kerber at 9/1 with William Hills and a saver on Elena Rybakina at 9/1, also with Hills.

FOURTH QUARTER

I am finding this another very close one to call, do I trust Aryna Sabalenka to get the job done at 3/1? Not really no, I have tipped up a few more favourites this time, more than I do in these blogs usually. The thing is where do I go? Before looking at the prices I thought French Open runner-up Barbora Krejcikova might be value, then I find out she is a top-priced 11/2 (7/2 – 4/1 generally). Looking at this section it is full of players I haven’t shown much trust in of late. Garbine Muguruza is added to that list with Sabalenka and she is generally the third favourite. Danielle Collins is another player I thought might be worth a go at a big price as I have done before but she is a top-priced 10/1 and as short as 7/1 in most places. Further down we get to Elise Mertens and Jo Konta, do you see my predicament. I never thought I would be saying this (as I thought she would be shorter) but I am going to go with Vika Azarenka at 10/1 with Hills/Betfair. The three-time runner-up in New York hasn’t faired too well against compatriot Aryna Sabalenka of late but if they were to meet in the quarters maybe the second seed will feel the pressure at that stage. Ons Jabeur is someone I like but she just seems to be out of form at the moment, hope I don’t regret not adding her as a cover, Cornet is a nasty match first up.

Recommendations

I will take the 10/1 Vika Azarenka with Hills/Betfair Sportsbook.

Outright

I am going to go with the tournament jolly and then players with past form at the event and see where I end up.

Recommendations

I will back Ash Barty win only at about 4/1 on the exchanges (7/2 with firms generally). Then I will have each-way bets on Angie Kerber at 33/1 (general), Vika Azarenka at 40/1 (general) and the smallest of small bets on Anastasija Sevastova at 250/1 or bigger (general).

Al Davies (Andy Del Potro).

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