We are back in Flushing Meadows, New York for the final Grand Slam of the year and the excitement is palpable as the old gang are back together for the first time this year.
Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray finally will all be serving it up in the same tournament and we best stop these nostalgic escapades down memory lane before we get a tear in our eye.
The draw took place late on Thursday night and the top half certainly looks the easier to progress through. Undoubtedly, last year’s champion Rafa Nadal will be smiling ear to ear after seeing his potential route to the final.
He meets his fellow country man and near pensioner (in tennis terms at least) David Ferrer in the 1st round (We have Nadal at 1/80 for this one). Canadian Vasek Pospisil will merely be a speed bump in round two, then probably the talented young Russian Karen Khachanov awaits in the third.
Things don’t get much more testing in the fourth round as he could likely meet the out of form duo Jack Sock or Kyle Edmund. The quarter-final will probably see him pitted against the big serving Kevin Anderson or the dogged Dominic Thiem. His first proper test may not come until the Semi Final stage where he will perhaps meet the charismatic Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro.
Nadal simply looks sublime this year, and his clever choice of tournaments is working out well for both his health and his bank account.
Since retiring in the quarter-final of the Australian Open back in January, he has won Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Roland-Garros and the Toronto Masters.
Throw in a very unlucky loss to Novak Djokovic in a tremendous semi-final at Wimbledon and it has been a spectacular year to date for the Spaniard.
We currently have Nadal at 3/1 for the outright and 5/6 to win his quarter which look like two great bets. Some other matches of note form the top half of the day include Andy Murray (1/14) vs Australian journeyman James Duckworth (7/1) and possibly the tie of the first round in Stan Wawrinka (9/10) vs Grigor Dimitrov (9/10).
The bottom half of the draw, however, is pure, unadulterated filth….
With the likes of Federer, Djokovic, Kyrgios, Sasha Zverev, Goffin, Nishikori, Cilic, Chung, Gasquet and Pouille to name but a few battling it out for that elusive final spot, it is going to be a battle royal to see who progresses.
Unlike his rival Rafael Nadal, current world no. 2 and all-time great Roger Federer has quite a testing draw.
Once he gets past what should be a simple opening match against Yoshihito Nishioka, he will likely meet the flamboyant Frenchman, and Power Tower favourite, Benoit Paire in the second round and then a tricky encounter against the unpredictable Nick Kyrgios in the third.
On his day, the young and massively talented Australian, Kyrgios can beat anyone but when he isn’t in the match mentally (which is quite frequent) he can simply be a disgrace. But the allure and the unknown keeps us tuning into watch him and no doubt some fireworks will be in store if these two meet.
The fourth round against possibly either Fabio Fognini or the out of sorts Hyeon Chung shouldn’t pose too many problems however his quarter-final meeting against the form horse and current Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic most certainly will. Let’s hope as fans of the game that this match materialises as it is sure to be a hugely exciting encounter. We currently have Federer at 5/1 to win the tournament outright and 6/4 to win his quarter.
Back Nadal for Everything
John Isner to win Quarter 2 – 8/1
This really comes down to a process of elimination. With Wawrinka playing Dimitrov in the opening round a favourite will be knocked out early doors and with the winner of that match most likely meeting Milos Raonic in the third round, another one will bite the dust.
Big John on the other hand should coast to the fourth round and then it will be a matter of whether he can win the tie-breakers to advance to the quarter-final match. There’s value to be had here at 8/1 for the in-form American who is having the year of his life.
Frances Tiafoe to win Quarter 3 – 40/1
This is arguably the most open of all the quarters with both the market favourites Alexander Zverev (9/4) and Marin Cilic (5/2) susceptible to crashing out in the early stages of slams. Cases can certainly be made for Goffin (8/1) and Monfils at a nice price (20/1) but we see some excellent value in the young American talent Frances Tiafoe here at 40/1.
He has had good wins over Milos Raonic and Marco Cecchinato at Toronto recently before being very unlucky to lose to Grigor Dimitrov in three sets, the last a tie-breaker.
Most recently at Cincinnati he was serving for the match against the fancied Denis Shapovalov before letting slip a contest he should have easily won. Despite this, he looks to be in good form and will love the home crowd here.
He opens his challenge against a tough competitor in Adrian Mannarino, with possible match-ups against young Australian Alex De Minaur in the second round, Marin Cilic in the third, Goffin fourth. Zverev is his possible quarter-final match. On his day he is more than capable of beating all these players and is certainly worth a punt at 40/1 for this quarter.
*All odds correct at time of posting