It’s the semi-finals of the US Open in New York City where we are all looking forward to two fantastic men’s singles matches.
PCB looks A-OK
Carreno Busta to win
Zverev won the pair’s only previous meeting in straight sets on similar Laykold courts in Miami in 2018.
He did so without facing a break point which suggests if he serves well here, he’ll win.
The problem is, Zverev has long-standing issues with his serve and it certainly isn’t as consistent as it was back in 2018, the year he won four titles, including the ATP Finals, and reached world number three.
That is summed up by the fact he’s served at least 10 double faults in three of his five matches so far in New York.
When the serve is struggling, confidence dips and other parts of the German’s game can be affected. That certainly looked the case when he went a set and a break down to Borna Coric in the last round.
The Croatian let Zverev off the hook that day in what was a pretty low-quality match.
The level shown by Carreno Busta was higher in his five-set upset victory over Denis Shapovalov and he looks capable of making life hard for Zverev, certainly in their exchanges from the back of the court.
If Zverev is to win, I suspect he’ll need to keep the rallies short – and that’s obviously where a strong serving performance would help.
But with that service also a potential stumbling block – one which could become bigger given Zverev faces the pressure of being a fairly strong favourite to reach what would be his first Grand Slam final – I’m more than willing to take a chance on the underdog at 9/4.
Medvedev to edge cracker
Medvedev to win 3-1
This has the potential to be an absolute barn-barner of a match.
Both men looked in great form in their quarter-finals as they posted straight-sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Alex de Minaur respectively.
Medvedev, who remains on course to become the first player since Neale Fraser in 1960 to win the title without losing a set, has been installed as the 7/10 favourite which is probably fair enough given the fact he beat Thiem for the loss of just four games in Montreal last season.
But the worry backing him would be his physical condition during his quarter-final victory.
Medvedev needed treatment on a shoulder problem and was also cramping despite it being a fairly short match. He admitted afterwards to feeling “drained” and that it would have been “really tough to win the match” had he not won the third-set tie-break.
Thiem is not a player you want to face if your physical condition is below par.
The Austrian has become one of the tour’s fittest players and he’ll be more than ready to drag this one long. If he does, I’d favour him prevailing.
His thumping groundstrokes will give undoubtedly test Medvedev to the full but how he deals with the changes of pace and spin provided by the Russian may well decide the outcome of this match.
Medvedev came out on top on that front in their 2019 meeting and while I’d expect a closer contest this time around, he may have the edge again.
Given those potential fitness issues, it’s hard to be too confident but a four-set win for the Russian at 7/2 looks a tempting price.
Zverev to win the title
Given what we’ve seen at the tournament so far, the winner of the title looks likely to come from the Medvedev-Thiem semi-final – unless it turns into a five-hour marathon.
That’s reflected in the prices with Medvedev at 6/5 and Thiem 11/8. Given what I’ve said about the semi-final, Medvedev looks a worthy favourite, although there appears little value left in his price.
For value seekers, Zverev is probably now the best option in the outright market.
While clearly I feel he’s too short for his semi-final, 7/2 for the title will look big if he does get through.
Zverev holds a significant 5-1 win-loss record over Medvedev with four of his wins having come in straight sets.