Chatting with some layman friends over an IPA in the pub this lunchtime about the upcoming US Open (strictly tennis laypersons who scratch their heads when I tell them Alexander Dolgopolov has been match fixing lately) and the main thing they focus on is the obvious absence of Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka and Raonic. I was quite impressed that they managed to pull the gum-shield-wearing Canadian Legoman out of the bag and yet aside from that the group were somewhat despondent on the event and chatter soon reverted to the much more serious matters such as the Mayweather vs Mcgregor fight and Fantasy Premier League.
This apathy to tennis is somewhat unsurprising when you consider that the entire TV rights to the US Open costs less than a single Premier League match. But what do they know, eh? One thing they did get right, however, is that there simply must be some outside value in the lesser known players of the ATP draw and us traders at JAbet think they could be onto something!
Taking firm-favourite Federer out the equation, the obvious man of the moment is Alexander Zverev, who at age 20 has catapulted himself to no.6 in the ATP rankings. Despite this, the aforementioned lads in the pub were relatively clueless to his existence. Could this be the moment he becomes a household name?
He may have lost to Frances Tiafoe in Cincy last time out but he looked haggard and that’s understandable after previously beating Roger Federer, his role model, in straight sets in the final of The Rogers Cup. If there is a moment where you arrive it is when you beat your childhood hero in a final, and it’s only natural to have a lull after such a seminal moment in the young man’s career. Still, the US Open odds reflect his continued unplayable performances and have crashed from 20s to 8s. It remains a tempting proposition considering his freakishly focused attitude and clear cut desire to be number one.
On the WTA side of things, it’s “OMG, LOL, WTF, this CANNOT be happening'” etc, etc as Twitter has been ignited by the fact that Sharapova has drawn the Romanian wall, Simona Halep, in the 1st round. Just another curveball in the ongoing Slam lottery that (very) soon to be mother, Serena Williams, has beset upon the Woman’s tour amidst her maternity leave.
We usually have two firm favourites at JAbet HQ, and they go by the names of Garbine and Elina. There’s a slight issue for Svitolina backers in that her draw looks like an absolute gauntlet. The worst case scenario is Siniakova, Bouchard, Gavrilova, Keys, Kerber, Pliskova and then Halep or our Garbine in the final. Ay carumba!
This leaves us looking elsewhere and Coco Vandeweghe is a name that’s been regularly bandied about the office. She has a better rub of the green (or blue) than fellow in-form country-woman Madison Keys with respect to their draws and has become mentally stronger recently, losing focus less and less in matches. And after (somewhat surprisingly) running into an on-fire Rybarikova in this year’s Wimbledon QF, she’ll be hungry to better that run at Flushing Meadows and 30/1 is certainly worth slapping a few bucks on.