Labour Day Weekend gets off to a thrilling
start at Flushing Meadows on Saturday, as top seeds from both sides Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer,
Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams are all in US Open action.
Novak Djokovic v Nickolay Davydenko
Novak Djokovic has been breezing through
the US Open thus far, in much the same way as he has breezed through the rest
of 2011. Of the four full sets he has played so far in Flushing Meadow, the
Serb has won three of them 6-0 and the other 6-2.
Davydenko is having one of his toughest
years on the tour to date, yet a player who was ranked inside the World’s Top
10 for as long as the Russian was, will always be a dangerous prospect, no
matter who you are. These two met just three weeks ago in Montreal and although Davydenko went up two
breaks in the opening set, he was still pegged back and finished up with a
straight sets defeat.
With that memory so fresh in his mind,
Davydenko will struggle to gain any real confidence, even if he does get off to
a good start, and I see another straight sets victory for the ‘Serbinator’,
with the minimum of fuss.
Novak Djokovic to win 3-0 – 4/11 – Victor Chandler
Djokovic to win the first ser, 6-3 – 12/5 –
Roger Federer v Marin Cilic
This is a tough match for Federer so early
in the competition. Having coasted through the first two rounds without the
loss of a set, the Swiss World No.3 may be in confident mood, but in Cilic he
faces a man who has just defeated up-and-coming Aussie star Bernard Tomic, losing
just three games over the entire match.
Croatian No.27 seed, Cilic is always
capable of causing an upset here in the Big Apple and has knocked Andy Murray
out of the event before now.
The head-to-head record is not favourable
for the Croat, with Federer having won both of their previous battles without
the loss of a set. However we are clearly not dealing with the same Roger
Federer who has swept all aside in previous years and Cilic is certainly in
with a chance here.
Marin Cilic to win the match – 4/1 – Paddy
Cilic to win 3-1 – 12/1 – Victor Chandler
Serena Williams v Victoria Azarenka
This is the toughest test so far for Serena
and if she can get through this one, the draw should start to open up a little
World No. 5, Victoria Azarenka, reached the
semi finals at Wimbledon this year following on from a quarter-final appearance
in Paris. She
has had a smooth path through to this third round meeting with Serena, having
not lost a set so far and will certainly be unhappy that she is playing in what
could potentially be a final match-up, so early in the competition.
Serena leads the head-to-head 5-1 and looks
to be playing somewhere near her best after picking up a title in Toronto just three weeks
ago. Azarenka’s single victory over Williams did come on the US hard courts of
Miami, but I don’t see her knocking Serena out of her stride on Saturday and
I’d forecast a straight sets victory for the three times winner of this event.
Serena Williams to win 2-0 – 4/7 – William
Total Williams games – Under 12.5 – 4/6 –
Caroline Wozniacki v Vania King
Despite being World No.1, Wozniacki has
managed to slip below the radar a little. The return to action of Serena and
Sharapova along with the emergence of Petra Kvitova, has meant there are other
names faced with the pressures of being ‘expected’ to win a Grand Slam.
As the event goes on, the pressure on
Caroline will inevitably begin to increase, but so far she has being going
about her business very quietly and professionally and there’s no reason to
expect she won’t be present for the second week of this event.
American 22-year-old, Vania King has
enjoyed a successful week here so far with two impressive straight sets
victories. Ranked just outside the top 100, King comprehensively defeated the
29th seed Jarmila Gajdosova in the previous round and will have the
backing of the home crowd for this one on Saturday afternoon.
The pair have met on two previous
occasions, both on hard courts, and whilst it was King who took the first set
they played, 7-5, Wozniacki won both matches and has won four of the five sets
If Wozniacki can hold her nerve and stay
confident, she should be able to see this one out in straight sets.
Wozniacki to win 2-0 at tennis odds of 1/5 with Victor Chandler