Come join us for an overview of the twelfth day of US Open action, and get insight on our best tennis picks to pocket profit over the fortnight! We’re well into the business end of this year’s COVID-19 edition of the US Open. After almost a fortnight of action, only four men’s players remain in the quest for glory, and we’re only a few days away from crowning a maiden Major champion.
Daniil Medvedev(3) vs. Dominic Thiem(2)
FridFriday, September 11, 2020 – 06:00 PM EDT – New York
At around this time last year, Daniil Medvedev went on a massive summer surge, where a final appearance at Flushing Meadows was included. Holding two break points in the fifth set to go up on Rafael Nadal, the 24-year old Russian could well have become champion. With Novak Djokovic now out of the picture, Medvedev emerges the favorite to take the title. Building up the something akin to a great wall of Moscow during rallies, even the firepower of his good friend and in-form Andrey Rublev couldn’t punch through.
Though Medvedev was trailing 5-1 in the first set tiebreak and got somewhat lucky to win it, he displayed the ability to get out of trouble through several big serves and big-hitting whenever required. In fact, the no. 3 seed wasn’t broken, didn’t face a single break point nor even taken to deuce on serve in the 3-set victory.
While the 24-year old did cramp up and take multiple medical timeouts in the match, it doesn’t look to be anything to worry about. Last year was much more dramatic as Daniil was running on empty for seemingly the entire tournament, and still found a way to win.
A blockbuster matchup is awaiting the Russian here, as Dominic Thiem has stormed into the semifinal. Until last year, not one to show himself capable on hard courts, those days are long gone. The Austrian has probably been the closest challenger to the Big Three in the majors for several years running.
Starting the week in worrying fashion, however, Thiem looked out of sorts in his first two matches against Jaume Munar and Sumit Nagal, committing a whopping 56 unforced errors in only five total sets of play. It looked like the match might start slipping out of the no.2 seed’s hands against Marin Cilic, up two sets to love before the Croatian had taken a set and then pushed to break ahead in the fourth.
Raising his level when required to maneuver through, Dominic was able to come through, and after the first set against Felix Auger-Aliassime, it’s been simply sublime tennis from the 27-year old. Utilizing his slice backhand to great effect, Thiem has elicited low pace replies from his opposition – giving an easy ball to pounce on for a big winner. We saw this plenty against Alex de Minaur in the quarterfinal, who was simply hit off the court in a dominant straight-sets victory.
This could easily have been the US Open final, and the winner of this tussle will be heavily favored to lift the trophy, no matter which one of Alexander Zverev or Pablo Carreno Busta they will face in the title match. It’ll be interesting to see how Thiem tries to get through the near-impenetrable defensive wall that Medvedev undoubtedly will employ. Rublev possesses incredible power but notably struggled to break through.
The Austrian has much better defensive skills than Rublev does, however, but even one of the fittest men on the tour will feel he needs to be the aggressor in this matchup. If able to control his aggression and hitting powerful groundstrokes near the corners, Thiem is one of few who can hit through Medvedev.
Will he be able to though? This sets up to be a good matchup for the Russian, who has both the bigger serve and the greater defensive skills. A key factor in his match will be the Thiem serve. Only managing to win 39% of points behind the second serve against De Minaur, the no.2 seed will need to net a high percentage of first serves while still adding a lot of power to them. It feels like a lot of pressure will land on the Austrian’s shoulders here, and more needs to click within his game to land the win.
The pair have faced two times since Medvedev’s breakthrough, and they’ve split the meetings with one dominant straight-sets win each on their preferred surface – Thiem on clay and Medvedev on hard court. I feel the edge is once more firmly in the Russian’s favor. With the best sportsbooks offering around +105 on Thiem and -120 on Medvedev, they’re having trouble separating the pair. In my mind, the Russian should be steeper than a -200 favorite in this affair, and the -110 Heritage line offers superb value for a larger investment.