US Open Round One: Wawrinka-Dimitrov Has the Makings of a Classic5 min read
Match of the round
Stan Wawrinka v Grigor Dimitrov (Monday)
This is the first match of the tournament on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, scene of Wawrinka’s title triumph two years ago. He’s spent too much of the interim period injured but the Swiss has rediscovered his form on the hardcourts in recent weeks, winning often and testing both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Dimitrov has struggled more and although he did take a set off Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati, I can see Wawrinka repeating his recent Wimbledon victory over the Bulgarian.
Wawrinka to win at
#BetBoost: Wawrinka to win 3-0, serve most aces and least double faults v Dimitrov at
Best of the rest
Denis Kudla v Matteo Berrettini (Monday)
I’m surprised to see Kudla as the underdog here and he’s my bet of the round. Put simply, he’s the better hardcourt player. The American beat Berrettini to qualify for January’s Australian Open where he then defeated Steve Johnson and pushed Dominic Thiem to a fifth set. More recently, Kudla made the quarter-finals in Washington, where he beat Lucas Pouille and Karen Khachanov, before qualifying in Cincinnati and pushing Nick Kyrgios. His serve has been working well – he lost it only once in his three matches in Cincy – and I think he’ll have too much for Berrettini, who prefers slower conditions.
Kudla to win at
Shuai Zhang v Garbine Muguruza (Monday)
There will be plenty of cakewalks for the big names in round one but I doubt that will be the case here. Muguruza has been struggling with an arm injury during the summer hardcourt season, playing only one match and losing it. Shuai – who only just missed out on a seeding – beat the former Wimbledon champion on a hardcourt in Dubai last season. Her form is nothing special but given Muguruza’s issues, the upset is worth chancing.
Shuai to win at
Ryan Harrison v Kevin Anderson (Monday)
Their most recent meeting – on a hardcourt in Tokyo last October – went all the way to 7-6 in the decider, while all three of their previous matches have featured a tie-break. With both men good servers, it’s easy to see plenty of tight sets here. Harrison is in good form having made the final in Atlanta and the last eight in Winston-Salem. He can test the bigger name here, last year’s runner-up having not been at his best of late.
Over 38.5 games at
Marin Cilic v Marius Copil (Tuesday)
Copil boasts a dangerous serve and the Romanian has given Cilic problems in both of their previous meetings. He won the first, in 2012, although more relevant is their recent Cincinnati clash which saw Cilic win 6-4 in the third. I fancy Cilic to go well at the tournament but can see Copil pushing him a bit. There may be better markets on game-day (over games if the figure is around 33.5) but at time of writing a 3-1 win for the favourite looks fair.
Cilic to win 3-1 at