Tennis specialist Craig Vickers (@craigvickers_) previews the men’s semi-finals at the US Open and provides us with his best bets.
- 2019 Profit & Loss: +21.9pts
2019 US Open Semi-Finals Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 26 August-8 September
- Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York
- Channel: Amazon Prime
The men’s semi-finals are upon as at the 2019 US Open and there are a few surprising faces after the early departures of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Still there and standing, of course, is three-time champion Rafael Nadal, and the Spaniard is the overwhelming favourite to add to his collection on Sunday. He will face the 23-year-old Matteo Berrettini as he chases the 19th Grand Slam of his illustrious career.
Meanwhile, Grigor Dimitrov stunned a out-of-sorts Federer – complaining of a back issue – in the quarter-finals on Wednesday and his reward is a showdown with Daniil Medvedev, the storyline of this summer’s North American hard court swing.
Grigor Dimitrov v Daniil Medvedev
Medvedev will contest his first major semi-final appearance first up on Arthur Ashe Stadium and his run in New York is entirely in-keeping with a historic summer on the hard courts.
The Russian is 19-2 since the start of the Citi Open at the end of July and he has reached at least the final of all three warm-up events. He captured his maiden Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati last month, which included a semi-final triumph over Djokovic despite trailing by a set.
His path to the last four in New York has not been without its bumps, dropping a set in four of his five matches until this point, but he showed immense mental fortitude to oust former champion Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals.
The major concern for Medvedev, of course, is his fitness levels after a gruelling month and his defensive style of play forces him to battle for each victory. It will be an area Dimitrov hopes to exploit.
The Russian has battled cramps all of this week and he seems to be operating solely on adrenaline, with his well-established patterns of play proving the downfall of his previous three opponents. Conditions, too, are set to be much cooler in New York on Friday – rain is expected so the roof may be closed – and that could aid Medvedev’s ailing muscles.
Dimitrov, on the other hand, has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence considering he had won only one match in his previous six tournaments heading into the US Open. The malaise saw the Bulgarian – who has reached the last four at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open – plunge outside the world’s top 70, but he has seemed to relish the underdog tag.
He has travelled without his two star coaches, Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek, and his straight-sets victory over Alex De Minaur in the fourth round – after a relatively stress-free opening week – seems to have restored his swagger.
He kept his poise against Federer in the last round, but it was a curious performance from the Swiss, who was unwilling to trade from the baseline as he struggled with his back problem.
Medvedev has clearly benefitted from the days rest afforded to players at Grand Slams and his remarkable consistency from the baseline is likely to trouble Dimitrov.
Rafael Nadal v Matteo Berrettini
Nadal, meanwhile, faces another Grand Slam semi-final debutant in the Italian Matteo Berrettini.
The pair have never squared off in their careers, with Berrettini able to capitalise on the early exits of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Roberto Bautista-Agut and Dominic Thiem to seal his berth in the last four.
However, it could prove a nightmare match-up for the burly Italian, much in the same way he was obliterated by Roger Federer on his Centre Court debut in the fourth round of Wimbledon earlier this year.
Berrettini could barely muster a game that afternoon, and his weakness – chiefly his backhand – could well be exploited by a fit and firing Spaniard.
The 23-year-old tends to slice his backhand – he revealed after his fourth round win it was necessary after a wrist injury as a teenager – and he will struggle to utilise such a weapon with Nadal’s forehand containing so much topspin.
Instead, he will have to serve immensely to present enough opportunities to pulverise his forehand early in the rallies and it could be an area Nadal exploits quickly to evoke those painful memories from Wimbledon for the Italian.
The Spaniard was hardly imperious in his straight-sets dismissal of Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals – he blew double break leads in both sets one and two – but he was able to get off the court in under three hours which is crucial to his chances of success in New York.
Berrettini, in contrast, took four hours to prevail over Gael Monfils and the occasion seemed to get to him as he served for the match at 5-4 in the decider. He double-faulted on his first match point before squandering a further two on the Frenchman’s serve in the twelfth game.
Nadal would have much preferred a showdown with Monfils considering the Frenchman’s penchant for defence, but his form and freshness coming into Friday’s contests should afford him a big advantage.