Plenty of value today guys
Tommy Robredo @ $1.84(20 Units)
The only thing to take from Safin's win over Spadea was the fact it took him 5 sets to beat an inferior mirrored-version of Robredo and that his mind is elsewhere. The Russian was enraged by a critical foot fault count (not uncommon to him for some reason) and post-match was more focused about berrating the officials who are only implementing the rules that have been in the game for so many years. It's a shame really - this guy is a former champion and has loads of potential but simply insists on not utilising it to its full extent. He produced more double faults than aces, executed countless unforced errors off the forehand wing with some lazy footwork and questionable shot selection and won less than half the points behind his second serve which saw him broken on 4 occasions. He'll face a similar slugfest here facing Robredo, who was an easy winner in R1 against a similarly powerful and big-serving player in Mischa Zverev losing serve just once and making just 17 unforced errors in the 94 minute clinic. If Robredo can win near enough to the 78% and 61% of first and second serve points that he won against Zverev respectively, he'll have the Safin serve under pressure which we know can end up in tatters. The Spaniard will be content on standing just behind the baseline and retrieving everything that big Marat has to offer, and on the last two occasions on this terrain he has gotten the better of the Russian though both matches were incredibly close. For Tommy, a place back in the top 10 and a chance to make the TMS Cup beckons, he has not lost this early at the US Open since 2003 and should play the typically smart and tactical match that will allow Safin to once again hang himself.
Jo Wilfried Tsonga @ $1.86(20 Units)
Tsonga passed his first test after coming back from a knee injury as he came from a set behind to defeat Ventura despite "not playing his best tennis at all". The loveable Frenchman was cool under pressure as he always seems to be, but he remained realistic about his chances of a repeat Australian Open. Having said that, the man likened to Muhammed Ali produced 9 aces and won 84% of first serve points and looked very sure of himself at the net where he has so many skills and great net coverage (he won 71% of the 42 approaches). Veteran Carlos Moya was locked in a tense battle with serve-volleying Pakistani Qureshi before he coasted through a third set breaker and ran out the fourth in style. The Spaniard was visibly frustrated at times on the return as Qureshi mustered up 33 aces and lost just 19% of first serve points, but Moya remained cool and won 91% and 70% behind his own deliveries and never once faced a break point. But add a marvellous baseline game, superior skills in the forecourt and ten times better athleticism to Qureshi and you have Tsonga. The Frenchman really does lack a weakness aside from his slight inexperience - he really is just the complete package as he showed Nadal at the AO. The backhand is as steady as a rock and just as dangerous, the forehand has pure class written all over it, he moves as if the tennis court is just a metre wide and the serve and the volley are probably still the two big weapons to his game...scary stuff really. He is destined to become a world number one injuries aside, and I'm satisfied that the rustiness will have mostly disappeared. Moya will test him with his serve, but his over-reliance on the forehand and some questionable lateral movement in his latter days make him susceptible to such a crafty, accurate and powerful player such as Tsonga. Probably won't be straight sets, but I see only one winner and if it is the case Djokovic could be one very afraid young man.
Tsonga 3 - 1 @ $4.30(6 Units)
Guillermo Garcia Lopez @ $3.55(10 Units)
Garcia-Lopez atoned for his woeful defeat to Levine at New Haven by coming from behind to knock out veteran Dom Hrbaty. The sometimes-magical Spaniard served just 51% of first balls in and produced 12 double faults to accompany his solitary 2 aces and was broken on 8 occasions though luckily for him the Slovak managed to lose serve 10 times. That match was a poor standard, then again not much better was the error-riddled affair between Lee and Seppi where the Italian almost squandered a 2-set lead before breaking early in the third to steady the ship. Seppi almost tripled his winner count with 64 unforced errors, he won just 52% of all serving points and was also broken on 8 occasions. He has major trouble maintaining focus through a match and often after achieving a break you'll find him cough it back up just as fast, perhaps trying to do too much or perhaps a little complacency sets in. The 3-hour marathon is likely to test the back-up abilities of the Italian who in his last 5 5-set victories has lost the next match on every single occasion. Garcia-Lopez has a slightly better serve, both men move just as well, but the Spaniard although not as sound in defense as Andreas has more attacking potency that could find the 21st seed out. On this terrain, it's been the aggressive types in Youzhny, Blake, Berdych, Haase, Djokovic, Calleri, Gabashvili, Tipsarevic and Verdasco who have all gotten the better of him and if Garcia-Lopez can paint the lines and pressure the vulnerable Seppi serve he should feel confident of causing an upset here.
Roddick 3 - 0 @ $3.00(15 Units)
If there were any doubts about Andy Roddick leading into the tournament, he soon squashed them with a devastating victory over the magical Fabrice Santoro. The A-Rod demolished the Frenchman with a barrage of serves up the tee and at the body, he wrapped up the victory in just 78 minutes losing 6 games whilst firing 15 aces and losing a total of just 11 points behind his serve for the entire match. Most impressive also was his 41 winners to 14 unforced errors, not bad for a guy who is quote some others on the site "very restricted from the back". Ernests Gulbis is an emerging star who has shown at GS level this year that he is quickly developing into the next big thing, but struggled at the start and the end of his match against the veteran T-Jo. He eventually won in 2 hours though despite his 18 aces he amassed 31 unforced errors, was forced to save 8 break points of 9 and won just over half the points on his second serve. He is a more aggressive version of Roddick, with some blazing groundstrokes off both sides and not as much patience in the extended rallies though admittedly that has improved from a couple of years ago. The Latvian can be susceptible in the tight matches and the unforced errors can spray, this should play right into the hands of Andy who is superior at constructing the points and working his opponent over. The American loves this event, the crowd love him and judging from his demeanor in the first round he is really out to prove a point here where Ernests is unlikely to see many opportunities on the return. Im confident on Andy in three for this one.
Robby Ginepri @ $2.30(10 Units)
Cilic outlasted Benneteau in a marathon 5-setter in the first round lasting 4 and a half hours and seeing many ebs and flows. The volatile Croatian youngster should have wrapped things up in the fourth set breaker where he squandered two set points on serve, but steadied in the decider and ended up with 28 aces, won 77% of first serve points but won just 45% on the second ball and missed 18 of the 26 break chances he created whilst coughing up serve 5 times himself. Ginepri won an all-American affair with his good friend Amer Delic adding to an improving summer where he represented the US in Davis Cup and also in the Olympics. Delic seemed to be struggling with a shoulder injury midway through the second, but even before that was proving no match for Ginepri who was working his compatriot overtime on the baseline and was making few unforced errors (just 19 for the entire match). Ginepri finished up firing down 8 aces, won 75% and 66% behind the first and second balls respectively and returned with purpose, he also gave the big American a torrid time at the net when he attempted to rush Robby on the approach shots. It's clear that Ginepri loves playing on this surface and in front of his home crowd, he is a former semi-finallist at this event and is a hard player to overpower from the back of the court. Cilic also has a big serve but the percentage can wane under pressure, and like Delic he is likely to fall into high counts of unforced errors if Ginepri can keep good depth in defense. Ginepri has the fresher legs and will be hoping Cilic is a little hungover, and knows a place re-entering the top 50 beckons should he win this match. This year, the American has matched wits with similar style of players on this surface in Gulbis (win), Fish (win), Blake (narrow 2-set loss), Mathieu (win) and Calleri (win) and under the circumstances he looks a nice value bet to earn a shot at Djokovic to avenge for his Olympics loss.
Davydenko 3 - 1 @ $3.45(5 Units)
Neither player broke into a sweat in the first round with easy victories against outclassed opponents. Davydenko needed just under 2 hours to see off Dudi Sela breaking the Israelian on 6 occasions and winning more points (70%) off his second serve than his first (68%) though he did commit 29 unforced errors. Calleri was on fire - he amassed 17 aces (only 2 double faultS), won every single point behind his first ball and never once faced a break point. But let's put that into perspective - he was playing a college kid who was playing his first match on the big stage in Austin Krajicek. The Argentine knows complacency cannot set in because in all 4 previous encouters with Nikolay he has lost in straight sets on every occasion, including twice on hardcourts. Davy has gone under the radar for this event with limited preparation, but that's just the way he likes it and this is an ideal match-up for him. Calleri is ultra-aggressive, goes for broke from the back of the court and has a rocket serve. Davydenko can quell the bullets because he is one of the best returners in the game, can defend the big groundies as he is super quick and hits very consistently off the ground and can quickly turn defense into attack with seething angles. The flashy Calleri simply doesn't have the patience or the stamina to go the distance with a warhorse like Davydenko and the Russian would need to have one of his "off days" on the serve in particular to see a different result. I foresee Agustin starting well putting Davy under pressure on the return, but it won't be long before the more consistent player gets on top and the Russian should prevail in 4.
Magdalena Rybarikova @ $3.25(20 Units)
Schnyder has knocked out two young Russian in contrasting style to earn her spot. While the blossoming youngster Rybarikova has ousted the very consistent Dulko and the young gun Paszek with the loss of just 7 games in total. This Slovakian youngster is my favourite up-and-comer because she has such a beautiful style to watch, and if her form is anything to go by the veteran is in for a tough time. Rybarikova won 76% of first points against Dulko and took all 6 of her break point chances, then against Paszek she didn't face a single break point and won 73% of all service poitns against a dangerous baseline opponent. Schnyder will need to repeat her serving display against Pavlyuchenkova (lost just 9 points on the first delivery) if she is to quell the brutal returning of Rybarikova who seems to relish first-strike tennis and dictating terms to her opponents with great depth, power and placement. Schnyder has the variety that could trouble the Slovak and give her the low slices and whippy angles she's not used to, but Patty's work ethic these days isn't as high and she has been overpowered convincingly this year by some lesser types such as Kanepi. In this form, it would be brave to bet against Maggie especially at the odds and I feel a sense of loyalty is required for a girl who has been a great money spinner in the first two rounds. Tip: she'll be in the top 20 by the end of 2009.
Davenport 2 - 0 @ $2.14(10 Units)
Lindsay Davenport was delighted after her match with Alisa Kleybanova to prevail in straight sets despite not "serving too well" as she claimed, but the happiness etched in her face shows she is really enjoying what is sure to be her last Open. She fired down 8 aces and won 79% behind his first serve, whilst taking all 6 break opportunities she conjured up on the big Russian's service games. Even though it was rusty at times, the fact the American didn't slump her shoulders as she would in year's past and instead focused on the next point says to me she is really enjoying her tennis right now. She also declared she was "fully fit and healthy" and vowed to improve on winners-to-unforced error ratio (26/23) in her next match with Marion Bartoli. The much-maligned Frenchwoman came from a break down in the first set to win 9of the last 11 games to eclipse veteran doubles speciallist Ruano Pascual in an hour and a half, though she did win just 62% of all service points and made a host of unforced errors in the opening set. 2 of the pair's 4 meetings have been withdrawals or walkovers, but the two completed matches were a narrow win for Davenport on her most-hated clay surface in 2004 followed by a most important routine win at Indian Wells on hardcourt earlier in the season where she amassed 17 aces, won 76% behind the first serve and broke Bartoli's suspect serve on 4 occasions. Bartoli is often at a hiding-to-nothing when she comes up against the big-serving and powerful and penetrating hitters such as Davenport - it's the fact that she is double-handed off both sides and players like Lindsay who dictate baseline rallies and send the ball from corner to corner are going to benefit from her comprimised reach. Add to this that Davenport is sure to have done some work on that serve to get it back to its peak which is so dangerous, and also the fact that Marion can really struggle with her percentages not to mention her second serve is often a shank. Davenport has the whole crowd behind her - in fact the whole of America - and she's never been one to disappoint with the expectation on her shoulders. The fact she is "ecstatic" to be in the 3rd round says to me she'll go out there a license to kill and should knock over the injury-plagued Bartoli in 2 sets.
Victoria Azarenka @ $2.50(15 Units)
What a match up deserved of a QF (or thereabouts) and a chance at really making it a long way in this tournament considering the next up seed Jankovic is exhausted and Zvonareva is already out. Azarenka made the semis at Montreal, the 3rd round at Beijing and has come out this week as a woman on a mission with crushing victories over Zakopalova and the rejuvinated Benesova. She was won a combined 73% of first serve points, cracked countless winners and poured heaps of pressure onto the opponent's second ball winning 22 of 25 against Zakopalova in that department then 11 of 18 against the Czech. Wozniacki has had a much heavier schedule as she has had to come straight from her New Haven title and has already played 8 sets this week having also won two doubles matches with Marta Domachowska. She's lost a combined 6 games en route to the 3rd round, but opponents such as Rolle and Camerin are hardly going to prove competition for this rising star from Denmark. Woz has committed just a combined 26 unforced errors and a combined 79% of first serve points, but her opponents were going for broke as they knew no other way to beat her and ended up gift wrapping both matches for Caroline. In Azarenka she'll find a completely different prospect - the Belarussian has a massive serve, penetrates off the ground, is a superb athlete with great stamina and has wonderful volleying skills that she'll look to put on display here against an opponent who will rarely venture off the baseline. Wozniacki can certainly match it with Victoria, but I feel Azarenka's forecourt ability and extra bite off the ground could be what is required for Wozniacki's undoing. Remember Caroline has disappointed at Grand Slam level up until now, and crushing defeats on this surface to the likes of Venus, Sharapova, Kuznetsova and Radwanska would suggest she still hasn't conjured that ability to consistently match it with the world's elite. Will be a glorious match to watch, but in my opinion the bookies have got it all wrong and the fresher legs and superior variety of Azarenka should prevail provided her often-questionable mindset is right.
Amount Staked 131 Units
Returned 117.05 Units
Won - 13.95 Units