US Open Round 4 Preview: Anderson v Thiem the Standout Last 16 Tie5 min read
Round three wasn’t the best for this column, things summed up when Dusan Lajovic led the first-set tie-break against John Isner 6-3 with two serves to come only to lose it.
It’s back on the horse for the last-16 matches though with some decent-looking odds-against shots on the menu…
Match of the round
Kevin Anderson v Dominic Thiem (Sunday)
I’m a little surprised to see Anderson up 6-1 on the head-to-head here but a closer look shows the last two meetings on a hardcourt have gone to 7-6 in the final set. Having dealt with some decent servers in Steve Johnson and Taylor Fritz so far, Thiem should be well prepared for Anderson’s big delivery. Also in his favour is the fact the match is taking place on the new Louis Armstrong court which is playing relatively slow. With Anderson taken the distance on Friday by Denis Shapovalov, the younger man could also have an advantage in terms of freshness. Al things considered, Thiem looks worth a shot at 6/4.
Thiem to win at
Best of the rest
Ashleigh Barty v Karolina Pliskova (Sunday)
In my outright preview of the women’s singles I highlighted Barty’s chances as an outsider, while also picking holes in Pliskova’s title hopes. After three rounds I’ve not changed my opinion and 4/6 about a win for the Australian looks fair enough. Both players are stepping up a level on their first-week exploits here but Barty, who has only lost to Simona Halep this hardcourt swing, looks better equipped to progress. Pliskova’s confidence will still be brittle against the better players and I can see her struggling against Barty’s assault. Another bet to consider is a first-set tie-break at 9/2. Five of the eight sets these two have played have gone the distance which is a strong stat even given the fact they are both among the top six on the season ace count.
Barty to win at
First set tie-break at
Aryna Sabalenka v Naomi Osaka (Monday)
Osaka has dropped just seven games to get to this stage and the mental demons which have dogged her since her Indian Wells success earlier in the season may just have been banished. She comes in as underdog – another plus for a player who has struggled to deal with pressure. Sabalenka was among my outright picks and hasn’t disappointed so far, dismissing Petra Kvitova in the last round. However, the negative in backing her pre-tournament was always going to be the amount of tennis she’s played of late. She’ll have to chase down some big shots from Osaka in this one and the Japanese is worth chancing at odds-against.
Osaka to win at