The second week of the US Open gets underway today and by the time you read this article the first set of men’s and women’s quarter final places will have been determined. In the bottom half of the draw the highest remaining seed 12th seed Carreno-Busta let his remaining opponents know he means business with a highly impressive performance on Arthur Ashe stadium on Sunday defeating the current hot young thing Dennis Shapovalov in straight sets 7-6, 7-6, 7-6.
If Carreno-Busta (20/1) continues to play at the same level for the remainder of the tournament he is my idea of the player most likely to make the final from the bottom half of the draw and he does fit the bill from a statistical perspective as no player seeded higher than 14 has reached the final over the last decade.
In the Sunday evening matches, Querrey (seeded 17) beat Zverev in straight sets, Anderson beat Lorenzi 3 sets to one and, in a shock result Schwartzman (conqueror of Cilic) continued his good form by disposing of Pouille 3-1.
Tonight’s men’s fourth round matches will attract the most attention as they feature top seed and tournament favourite Nadal and third seed and second favourite Federer. Nadal (1.12) faces arguably his toughest test to date against the unseeded, in-form Dolgopolov, who has experienced success against Nadal in the past, winning two of their eight encounters. If the Ukranian can maintain his current form, continue to play his free-flowing aggressive style of tennis and let his personality come to the fore I see him causing Nadal problems again and the New York fans warming to him.
The game between ninth seed Goffin and the exciting NextGen star Rublev should be a cracker and I would not be surprised if Rublev caused the upset while 24th seed Del Potro is the favourite to progress against sixth seed Thiem. It should be a highly entertaining encounter with two of the hardest hitters of a tennis ball in the men’s game battling it out over the best of five sets and I think Del Potro’s booming forehand and greater experience will get him through this.
Players who had progressed to the quarter-finals at the time of writing were the unseeded and rersurgent American Stephens who knocked out 30th seed Goerges 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 and it was great to see “drug cheat” Sharapova sent packing last night against the wily Sevastova and the sooner Sharapova retires the better for me as she only continues to bring the game in to disrepute.
Svitolina plays her fourth-round match tonight against 15th seed Keys and the bookies have Svitolina as the marginal favourite but this one could easily go either way so you may want to hedge your bets if you have backed Svitolina for the tournament. Top seed Pliskova (1.12) who came close to losing in her last match against Zhang will need to improve against the unseeded Brady if she wants to defend her 2016 final points. However, Pliskova has struggled in all her matches so far and it looks like it’s just a matter of time before she loses. If Brady can stay solid throughout and use the home crowd to her advantage tonight she has every chance of causing the upset and recording the biggest win of her career.
Finally, veteran Safarova (2.1) is looking in great form so far and leads the head-to-head 3-1 against 20th seed Vandewhege. She won the last three in a row and two of the wins came on hard courts in America, including one this year at Indian Wells, where she came from a set down to win and I see Safarova continuing that trend tonight and I would not discount her reaching the final especially if Svitolina loses tonight.