By the time you read this article the third round line-up for the US Open should be complete and, so far, the leading tournament favourites such as top seed Nadal, second seed Federer and sixth seed Djokovic are all progressing ominously well even in the oppressive heat. At the time of writing and to name just a few, Nadal, third seed Del Potro, fifth seed Anderson, ninth seed Thiem, eleventh seed Isner (advised 10/1 to win 2nd quarter) and twentieth seed Coric were already through to the third round and they are scheduled to play today.
Nadal faces a tricky test against the dangerous big serving and hitting Russian Khachanov who is seeded twenty six and Nadal is not surprisingly the hot favourite and leads the head-to-head 5-0, has not dropped a set in any of these matches and he should progress to the fourth round in similar fashion. Third seed Del Potro is also a hot favourite to beat thirty-first seed veteran Verdasco and he should win as he’s looking in decent form so far this week, he leads the head-to-head 3-1 and I think the best Verdasco can hope for is winning a set.
Fifth seed Anderson faces NextGen star and twenty eighth seed and this has the potential to be a real cracker of a match if both players can produce their best tennis, and I expect Anderson to win this one if his serve and fearsome ground strokes are on fire. Sixth seed Thiem came through an epic five set second round match against the in form American Johnson and the young Austrian faces another American today, NextGen star Fritz. Thiem beat Fritz in four sets here in the fourth round last year, however, after Thiem struggled to see off Johnson in the last round, I think he’ll face a similar challenge today and I can see the young American taking this one in four or five sets as he has the weapons to hurt Thiem.
After his five set marathon against Jarry in the last round, Eleventh seed Isner faces another potentially tough test today against Serbian Lajovic who impressed beating Dzhumur and Corrie. If Isner has recovered physically in time and can serve lights out he has a good chance of winning as he’s won four of their six previous encounters, including the last three in a row, but many of these matches were close and went to two or five sets so its far from a certainty.
Twentieth seed Coric faces of against the unseeded Medvedev, who won Winston Salem last week in a NextGen clash that has the potential to be an explosive and highly entertaining match if both players are fully fit. I’ve been very impressed by Medvedev continuing to win after winning a tournament last Saturday and he seems to be relishing in the very hot and humid condition, which does play to his aggressive style of game. This is a tough result to call but I’ll edge for Coric as he leads the head-to-head 2-1. Finally, twenty fifth seed Raonic (advised 50/1) plays his toughest match so far against a resurgent Wawrinka, who has been playing well since the start of the US Open Series hard court swing. This is a tough one to call as both have been in good form of late and this week, Wawrinka leads the head-to-head 4-2, but Raonic won the last two back in 2016 and I think this one could go the distance and has the potential to be a classic US Open five set epic.