US Open Quarter-finals: Nishikori Looks Too Big a Price Against Cilic5 min read
We’ve been on a successful run in the last couple of days, with odds-against winners coming in round four of the US Open. Here are my best bets for the quarter-finals which start on Tuesday.
Match of the round
Rafael Nadal v Dominic Thiem (Tuesday)
Reigning champion Nadal leads Thiem 7-3, although all of their previous meetings have taken place on a claycourt. That adds a little bit of intrigue here. Thiem has played well and eased past the other 2017 finalist, Kevin Anderson, in the last round. However, his run so far has seen him face some similar opponents – Anderson, Taylor Fritz and Steve Johnson all try to control matches with their serve. Nadal is completely different and he’ll look to take Thiem’s game apart with his groundstrokes. The Spaniard looks better prepared for the match given Nikoloz Basilashvili threw everything at him on Sunday – Thiem will surely try similar all-out-aggression here. When it comes to a bet, no tie-break in the match looks more than tempting at 7/4. The pair have played just two in 24 sets so far and while they were on clay, these are not the fastest hardcourts – it’s pretty clear they are playing slower this year than in the past. I’m envisaging plenty of breaks and although they can cancel each other out, that risk is built into the price.
No tie-break in the match at
Best of the rest
Juan Martin Del Potro v John Isner (Tuesday)
It’s always good to see more sub-markets being added as we get towards the business end of the tournament and these often create some good opportunities for punters. In this match, it’s the double-faults market which makes most appeal with Del Potro looking the wrong favourite to serve the most. Isner has served more double faults in seven of their 11 matches (with one tie) and there is also little in the current tournament stats to suggest the trend won’t continue. Isner has served eight in 17 sets thus far, Del Potro six in 12. Isner’s will almost certainly serve more aces and he’ll be tough to break but Del Potro is clearly the better returner – an awful lot better than Milos Raonic, Isner’s previous opponent. He’ll put Isner’s serve under pressure at various moments and that can lead to mistakes.
Isner to serve the most double faults at
Marin Cilic v Kei Nishikori (Wednesday)
While I’ve fancied Cilic from the off, now may be the time to oppose him. The Croat survived a tough five-set battle with Alex De Minaur on Saturday so will have been pleased to see off David Goffin in straight sets in round four. However, he was suffering from a cold during that clash and wasn’t as convincing as the scoreline suggests. We also found out afterwards that Goffin was suffering with an arm injury, one he said would have forced him to quit a smaller tournament. Nishikori has enjoyed largely untroubled progress and is returning to form. He leads the head-to-head 8-6 (5-3 on outdoor hard), including a win on clay earlier this season. I’d expect him to return Cilic’s serve well here and the Japanese looks too big at 6/4.
Nishikori to win at