Day 12 of the US Open sees both men's singles semi-finals take place, and with Juan Martin Del Potro denying us the dream Nadal/Federer final, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, previews tonight's two matches...
"Questions over Rafa's early form in the event appear to have been answered, dropping a mere 12 games across his last two victories, against Alexandr Dolgopolov and Andrey Rublev - Del Potro's last two matches have been across nine sets, and has spent 188 more minutes on court in the last two rounds than Rafa."
Federer exit sees Nadal move odds-on for the title
Victories for Rafa Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro on Wednesday night saw the duo meet in today's semi-finals, and Del Potro's win over Roger Federer had considerable impact on the outright market.
Prior to the quarter-finals on Wednesday, Rafa was available in the outright market at [2.68], but he's now contracted into odds-on status at the time of writing, at [1.62], with Del Potro further back at [4.6].
The market is pretty convinced that the tournament winner will come from this second semi-final tonight, with Kevin Anderson priced at [7.8] to win the event. The South African is a solid market favourite to beat Pablo Carreno-Busta this evening, and the less illustrious Spaniard is currently available at [23.0] for the title.
Carreno-Busta not without a chance as a heavy underdog against Anderson
It's this first match where I start tonight's previews, with Anderson trading at [1.44] at this time on the Exchange to make the final. In effect, either winner will provide a surprise finalist, and while I make Anderson a favourite to win this evening, this price does appear rather short, given that data shows both players are relatively well matched statistically.
In 2017 on hard courts, the big-server, Anderson, has held serve 91.3% of the time, breaking opponents 19.3% (combined 110.6%) and these are considerably his best year statistically of his entire career. However, Carreno-Busta's stats are also very strong, holding 82.8% and breaking 26.2% (combined 109.0%), and it's difficult to make a fair case for Anderson to be as short as he is in the market, particularly when you consider that Carreno-Busta is yet to drop a set in the entire event.
Nadal's recent results address doubts
Nadal also represents some value at [1.37] against the Argentine, Del Potro, with the King of Clay priced at [1.25] by my model. Questions over Rafa's early form in the event appear to have been answered, dropping a mere 12 games across his last two victories, against Alexandr Dolgopolov and Andrey Rublev - Del Potro's last two matches have been across nine sets, and has spent 188 more minutes on court in the last two rounds than Rafa.
Accumulated fatigue may impact Del Potro
Accumulated fatigue is never as important as in Grand Slams, and Nadal having three hours extra rest will be a huge positive for a best of five match tonight. Furthermore, with Del Potro only breaking 21.6% of the time in the last 12 months on hard court, it's extremely unlikely that he'd be able to pressurise Nadal's serve with any regularity, and dominant set victories for the Tower of Tandil is not something I particularly anticipate.
Therefore, taking Nadal giving up 4.5 games on the game handicap can definitely be considered at [1.79] this evening.
Back Rafa Nadal -4.5 games at [1.79] to beat Juan Martin Del Potro
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