US Open Men's Singles Day Four: Schwartzman can be tested by Munar
Thursday's US Open action sees a further 16 second round men's singles matches, and after an underdog winner on day three, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns with his thoughts...
"In addition, when Munar has played considerably better opponents on hard court, he’s not been schooled at all. He’s won two of four when a heavy underdog on hard court, and his losses were 6-4 6-4 and 6-4 3-6 6-3 - if we use these as ratios per set, he’d cover the +6.5 game handicap in these defeats."
Medvedev gains deserved win over Tsitsipas
We picked up a decent underdog winner yesterday in New York, with Daniil Medvedev converting against Stefanos Tsitsipas in four sets. With Medvedev also a break up in set three, when 2-0 up, it could easily have been a straight set win, although having won 56% of points in the match, it is difficult for anyone to suggest that Medvedev didn't deserve to make it through to round three, where he faces Borna Coric in another superb-looking Next-Gen clash.
In addition, both of our outright selections, Rafa Nadal and Borna Coric, progressed with minimal fuss, and Nadal is now into [3.20] in the tournament winner market, strengthening his position at the forefront of that market.
Djokovic and Zverev looking short on day four
Certainly, Novak Djokovic has seen little support in this area since his struggle past Marton Fucsovics in round one, and the former world number one faces home player Tennys Sandgren tonight. After those issues, I'm definitely not going to advocate backing the Serb at a very short-looking [1.04].
Alexander Zverev also looks a little short at [1.05], given his traditional Grand Slam woes, as he faces lucky loser Nicolas Mahut. While Mahut, at 36, has had a pretty poor year, and may not be far from pulling the plug on a decent career, he's unlikely to be an absolute pushover, and with Zverev having much to prove in the best of five set format, he's another who I wouldn't dream of backing at a prohibitively short price.
Baghdatis with a chance against Pouille
If it was best of three sets, Marcos Baghdatis would look more of an attractive proposition at [2.80] for his match with Lucas Pouille, with the Frenchman's level over the last few months not being overly impressive.
Despite relatively mediocre results himself, Baghdatis seems to be able to keep himself afloat on tour at the age of 33, and his data on hard courts over the last year isn't bad at all, particularly on return. However, I do feel that Baghdatis' best chance will be avoiding being drawn into a lengthy match, where his fitness may be tested.
De Minaur with market support against Tiafoe
However, after discussing the prospect of a Next-Gen match-up between Medvedev and Coric tomorrow, there's another on the schedule today, as Alex De Minaur faces Frances Tiafoe.
After considerable price movement, it's now a 'pick-em' match and this looks about right. The opening lines of around [2.30] on De Minaur were unfair on the Australian talent, as when looking at hard court data over this year, and the last 12 months, there really isn't much between the two players. If the opening line was still available, I'd have gone with De Minaur today.
Munar can compete with Schwartzman
On a day where value is thin on the ground, pre-match stakes should be kept low, but the best of a bad bunch probably is Jaume Munar on the game handicap against Diego Schwartzman, who is [1.21] to get the win.
Coming from Spain, Munar is probably thought of a bit as a clay courter, but he has had decent Challenger results on hard court. He beat Andrey Rublev last week in Winston Salem, and won a hard court Challenger event in Segovia last season, where he defeated Marcel Granollers and the aforementioned De Minaur.
In addition, when Munar has played considerably better opponents on hard court, he's not been schooled at all. He's won two of four when a heavy underdog on hard court, and his losses were 6-4 6-4 and 6-4 3-6 6-3 - if we use these as ratios per set, he'd cover the +6.5 game handicap in these defeats.
With this in mind, favouring Munar with this 6.5 game head start looks a decent plan, and the Exchange is currently offering [2.12] here - although I do feel it will inch up to around [2.20] by the match start.
Federer in fascinating match-up with Paire
Finally, we see a number of big names in action. Marin Cilic got through a tricky-looking opening round with Marius Copil following the Romanian's retirement, and faces a decent prospect in Hubert Hurkacz - it will be interesting to see how well Hurkacz can compete here.
Roger Federer also plays his second round match tonight, with the Swiss man facing a volatile opponent in Benoit Paire. I've long had the suspicion that Paire saves his antics for players he doesn't respect as much, and he's more sensible against the better players on tour. If peak Paire can get Federer moving consistently with those fabulous drop shots, it could make for a fascinating match-up.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
Back Jaume Munar +6.5 games at [2.12]