Ladies and gentleman, boys & girls, children all of all ages…The final grand slam of 2015 has arrived! The prestigious U.S. Open LIVE from THE BIG APPLE! That’s right, as the summer weather starts to cool down in most American cities, the action has just started to heat up in New York City! Coming from a lifelong tennis fan, who was born & raised in NYC, before moving to Las Vegas to become a professional handicapper and oddsmaker…Attending the U.S. Open is a MUST for your bucket list! And the match-ups of this year’s U.S. Open, look phenomenal from Day 1!
Ana Ivanovic better be well prepared to face the “Pocket Rocket” Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of this year’s U.S. Open, otherwise she may find herself going home after the very first day of the tournament. Surprisingly enough, the world #7 is not a stranger to early exits in recent Grand Slams. She was eliminated in the first round of this year’s Australian Open and the second round of Wimbledon! However, wedged right in between those two results, Ivanovic reached the semi’s of the 2015 French Open, before losing to Lucie Safarova In two tight (7-5, 7-5) sets. So, which Ivanovic will show up on Monday morning in New York City? Cibulkova, the 2014 Australian Open Finalist, is recovering from an achilles injury which caused her ranking to fall all the way down to 58th in the world. Nonetheless, it seems like she’s recovered nicely from her injury, notching wins against Sloane Stephens, Victoria Azarenka and Lucie Safarova. Ivanovic and Cibulkova have played each other four times (2-2 H2H), with Ivanovic winning the last 2 times they’ve met. The last time the two ladies have faced each other, was almost two years ago, though. Whether you decide to take a betting interest in this match or not, it should definitely be an entertaining match to watch.
Simona Halep comes in to the 2015 U.S. Open as the trendy sleeper pick to win the tournament. Halep has not yet won a grand slam in her career, and having been so close, many people feel that “she’s due.” Halep seems to be in good form after defeating Jankovic, Kerber, Radwanska and Errani en route to a finals appearance at the Rogers Cup. She then followed that performance up with tough wins against Mladenovic, Petkovic, Pavlyuchenkova, and Jankovic, before losing to Serena Williams in the Cincinnati Final. Erakaovic, who was as high as #39 in the world in 2012, has seen her world ranking plummet down to 95th in the world, a byproduct of one atrocious performance after another in 2015. Not only did she fail to progress through the qualifying draw in New Haven & Cincinnati, but she’s only won 1 main draw match at the U.S. Open in her career. Can Erakovic finally right the ship on the big stage in Flushing? Or will this be another straight sets thumping in 2015 for New Zealand’s best female tennis player?
The Grandstand crowd will be pumped for an all-American battle between Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe! USA Tennis has high hopes for the futures of both ladies. Coco is probably a little more “raw” at this stage of her career, but some tennis experts argue that she has a higher ceiling than Sloane. Stephens, who’s had to deal with comparisons to both Williams Sisters since her defeat of Serena at the 2013 Australian Open, finally quieted the naysayers this summer, with her first WTA Title in Washington D.C. You have to think, that win should be terrific for her confidence heading into Flushing. Coco, on the other hand, had a tough summer, crashing out BEFORE the round of 16 in all 4 (D.C., Toronto, Cinci, New Haven). of the hard court tournaments that she entered after Wimbledon. The H2H is 2-1 in favor of Vandeweghe, with her winning both of the times (last HC match was Jan 2012) that they’ve played on hard court. However, Stephens won their most recent match this year, in Strasbourg, with a straight set (6-3, 6-4) thumping over Coco. Regardless of the outcome, if you’re a fan of USA Tennis & the WTA, you won’t want to miss this early evening contest between two young ladies giving it their all at their home grand slam.
If you enjoy challenges as a handicapper, you have your work cut out for you here in the first round match between Andrea Petkovic and Caroline Garcia. 2015 has been a roller coaster for both women. Garcia made the finals in Acapulco, was a finalist again in the very next tournament in Monterrey, and people were wondering if 2015 was finally Caroline Garcia’s break out year. Not too long ago, experts were talking about France’s Garcia becoming the future #1 player in the world. A few months later, she found herself losing in the first round of Roland Garros to Donna Vekic, and then losing in the first round of another grand slam, this time at Wimbledon against Heather Watson. Definitely not the results that you would expect from a future top 10 player, nevermind the future best in the world. Petkovic’s 2015 was not much better. She opened the year by losing in the 1st round of the Australian Open, rebounded by winning Antwerp, was a semi-finalist at Miami and Charleston, and Petko hasn’t made it past the 3rd round of a tournament since. Both ladies have only faced each other once, with Petkovic beating Garcia in straight sets (6-2, 6-4) on the grass courts of Eastbourne. Add in the fact that Petko injured her knee in Cincinnati, and you’ll really be left scratching your head.
Andy Murray has a tough 1st round match ahead of him, at this year’s U.S. Open, in the way of Australia’s Nick Kyrgios. You would expect the #2 player in the world, at the U.S. Open, or any grand slam for that matter, to pretty much coast through their first round match. However, that’s not the case for Murray, and oddsmakers agree, making Murray -1000 to get through the first round in Queens, NY. For comparison, Djokovic (playing a far less skilled opponent) is a -15000 favorite to get through the first round. Keep in mind, this is the same Andy Murray who just beat Joker at the Montreal Masters, and seems to be in excellent form. The good thing for Murray though, is that he’s never dropped a set to Kyrgios. Murray really seems to have his number on any surface, for that matter, only losing 25 games in 3 matches. and beat him twice this year. With NYC being a major international hub, will the Australians come out in full support of Kyrgios and cause a big upset in the first round? Nick is an extremely emotional player that seems to thrive on the crowd’s support. Are there any odds of Kyrgios having a tantrum on Tuesday? That may be our best bet in this match!
Another Australian player with a tough task ahead of him on Tuesday, in the first round of this year’s U.S. Open, is Thanasi Kokkinakis who goes against the number 13 seed in the world, Richard Gasquet. Kokkinakis and Gasquet just played each other two weeks ago in Cincinnati, with Gasquet winning 7-6 (7-5), 6-2. It was the first time that they played each other. Both Gasquet and Kokkinakis haven’t played much since Wimbledon. Gasquet is 4-2 on hard courts since Wimbledon, losing to Jack Sock in the R16 at Washington D.C, and losing to Andy Murray in the QF at Cincinnati. Kokkinakis, is also 4-2 on hard courts since Wimbledon, losing in the R32 (after winning 2 qualifiers) at Cincinnati against Gasquet, and losing in the R32 at Winston Salem against Gabashvili. Will Gasquet bring his magical form of the French Open to NYC? Or will one of the Australian “Young Guns” cause a big upset in the first round? Either way, I know I’ll be tuning in!
Wow, what a difference a year makes in the tennis world! Not to take anything away from Borna Coric, he’s a tremendous, 18 year old, up and coming talent from Croatia. But, let’s be real, if this was right after the 2014 French Open, everyone would be thinking that Nadal steamrolls Coric. Fast forward to the 2015 U.S. Open, and everyone wants to see how far Rafa gets before he chokes. And let’s not forget, Coric (at 17 years old, mind you…) beat Nadal in STRAIGHT SETS! How’s Nadal’s health, you ask? This past Friday, Rafa said he “feels great” but still not ready to contend for a title. He thinks that he’s playing better, and he’s definitely feeling better mentally. That’s all good and everything, but it doesn’t actually ooze of confidence. And it doesn’t answer the big question…Does Nadal choke against the 18 year old Croatian kid for the SECOND time in roughly 10 months, and get eliminated on Day 1 of the 2015 U.S Open? We’ll have to tune in to find out!
If you’re wondering why people think Kei Nishikori will win a Grand Slam Final very soon, especially after he named USA Tennis Legend Michael Chang as his coach…Since Chang began working with him, Nishikori has won 7 ATP titles (3 this year alone), broke into the Top 5 in the world (he’s currently 4th), and made it to his first grand slam final at last year’s U.S Open! Talk about a massive impact! Standing in his way, as Nishikori’s first test en route to a repeat of last year’s U.S Open Final, is France’s Benoit Paire, who’s ranked as #42 in the world. Nishikori and Paire have played each other twice in their respective career’s. Nishikori leads the H2H (2-0), with the last match being a 4-set win at the 2013 French Open.
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