Evans scheduling a notable talking point after Federer loss
Nikoloz Basilashvili was disappointing for us last night at the US Open with a four-set loss to Dominik Koepfer, and with such a mediocre first serve percentage in the match, it was tough for the Georgian to get the job done.
In a discussion point which has been predominant on social media, Roger Federer finally eased to a win here after a tricky couple of opening matches, with Dan Evans admitting himself that scheduling didn't do him a favour.
Regardless of whether it is the case or not, the tournament organisers perhaps didn't do themselves any favours with regards to accusations of bias towards Federer with today's men's matches bottom half not starting until 1830 UK time tonight, while Evans - who had less than 24 hour turnaround from his delayed second round match - was forced to take to the court second on the schedule, not before 1700 UK time yesterday with men's matches in the top half of the draw starting at 1600.
It is my view that all players should face an even playing field, with no scheduling advantages or disadvantages (perhaps a random draw for the order of play would be fairest?) but there's probably more likelihood of a Brexit outcome which will please the entire population than this eventuality occuring.
Monfils with advantage over Shapovalov
Getting back off my high horse, there's eight third-round matches tonight, with action starting a little later than earlier in the week. Rafa Nadal is expected to ease past Hyeon Chung and is an overwhelming favourite, but there's plenty of more competitive matches on the schedule.
Gael Monfils, if fit, looks decent value even against the improving Denis Shapovalov. I've noticed a little upswing in Shapovalov's hard court numbers of late - logical considering his age - but Monfils has better hard court data and assuming his ankle is in reasonable shape, does appear a little generously priced at 1.774/5.
Rublev with underdog potential over Kyrgios
Andrey Rublev is another improver and the Russian looks under-rated at 2.6613/8 against Nick Kyrgios. If there was one non-elite player who I'd pick to play a one-off match against one of the elite three, Kyrgios would be that man, but he's not got a consistently high level and it will be interesting to see how he copes with the Russian prospect, who has done very well indeed of late.
Kyrgios' results this year tend to come via huge overperformances on key points and tiebreaks, and this does tend to be unsustainable. With him having a reputation for being the man for the big occasion, he perhaps has more chance of sustaining this to an extent, compared to other players, but this is still a big ask.
Schwartzman value to cover game handicap
However, today's recommendation is Diego Schwartzman on the game handicap against Tennys Sandgren. The diminutive Argentine has eased to straight set wins so far, winning by 10 and 12 game margins in those matches so far, and against an opponent who has spent seven hours on court already in nine sets, I think he's well suited to get another pretty straightforward victory.
Schwartzman is 1.351/3 to progress, and I do make this a little shorter. We should be able to getaround 1.9620/21 on him to win giving up a 5.5 game head start, and I think this is a pretty decent line for an return-orientated heavy favourite with significantly less accumulated fatigue so far. I also suspect Sandgren is better suited to quicker conditions - Schwartzman will likely want things to be pretty slow, as he's likely to find here.
In other matches, I'm expecting a tight, serve-orientated encounter between John Isner and Marin Cilic, while when I saw the initial line of Pablo Andujar being around a 1.645/8 favourite over Alex Bublik, I thought it looked a bit off. However, having run the numbers, it doesn't look that far from being accurate.
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