US Open (Monday 27th August – Sunday 9th September 2012)

I can scarcely believe the season’s fourth and final Grand Slam is just around the corner but believe it I must. Flushing Meadows hosts the 2012 US Open and it promises to be an event to behold. The absence of Rafael Nadal through injury takes a certain gloss off the event but with defending champion Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, and Olympic Gold Medal winner Andy Murray all taking their places in the draw, the tournament could yet prove to be a blockbuster.

The draw on Thursday afternoon couldn’t have been much kinder to Djokovic. In my mind, seventh seeded Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro looks to be the only realistic threat lurking in the Djokovic quarter and that would only be on the assumption that his troublesome left wrist has recovered to an extent and his 6’6” frame holds out for the duration of the tournament fortnight. Given the favourable nature of his draw, it’s hardly surprising then that money has come in for Djokovic since Thursday’s draw announcement and at time of writing, looks plenty short enough to me at 2.59 with BETDAQ. The same sentiment can perhaps also be echoed for both Federer and Murray given their recent exploits, so if the exchange prices are to be believed, the event is nothing more than a three horse race.

With Nadal’s absence was always going to come an opportunity for the players who would have found themselves in the Spaniard’s section of the draw and so it has proved with Serbian Janko Tipsarevic looking the most likely to make a run over the next two weeks and advance to his first Grand Slam semi final and go one better than his last eight appearance here in 2011. Spain’s David Ferrer has the honour of being named the tournament’s fourth seed but in my view, there isn’t much between himself and Tipsarevic on this sort of surface and at the prices on offer, I’d much sooner be backing Tipsarevic at 196 with a view to lay, rather than Ferrer at 78. The other seeded players in this wide open quarter are no mugs by any means and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Tommy Haas is probably in the form of his life at the moment, John Isner comes into the event off the back of a decent showing in Winston-Salem, whilst Richard Gasquet and Philipp Kohlschreiber have showed bits and pieces of form over the course of the season. The progress that Tipsarevic has made over the course of the year tips the scales in his favour. A consistent presence throughout 2012, Tipsarevic has made three quarter finals, three semi finals, and three finals (including a tournament win in Stuttgart) highlight why Tipsarevic finds himself ranked as the ninth best player on the planet.

I still think Djokovic is the likely winner of the event and Cincinnati final aside, I’ve been impressed with Djokovic’s improved form on the hard courts of Canada and the US. He looks more assured to me and 2011 showed us what a little bit of confidence and momentum can do for the Serbian, ending the year with a 70-6 won/lost record. As I mentioned earlier, his price is not something I’d be looking to pass off as value by any means but should certainly be there or thereabouts in two weeks time. I’ll repeat what I outlined earlier and that is the likelihood of Janko Tipsarevic advancing to the latter stages of the event and trading at a price much lower than at present. In my opinion, the US Open final on Sunday 9th September 2012 will involve a Serbian player and my hope is that Tipsarevic can do the business in ‘The Big Apple’.

From an upset point of view, a trio of seeded players that look vulnerable to me in round one could be Florian Mayer against home favourite Jack Sock, Czech Tomas Berdych against talented Belgian David Goffin, and Spain’s Feliciano Lopez against Robin Haase. I’ve seen a couple of comments on Twitter lately from a few respected American journalists on Jack Sock and a common theme seems to be how much Sock has ‘filled out’ and possibly what he needed to take his game to the next level. Mayer is beatable on any given day and Sock would like to give him a game in his home slam. Tomas Berdych hasn’t been in the greatest of form lately and will most likely welcome a slight return to form in the Winston-Salem event leading up to the US Open. Goffin also had a decent run at the same event and could catch Berdych cold in round one, just as Ernests Gulbis did at Wimbledon. Finally, Feliciano Lopez’s form in America is undeniably poor and has never advanced past the last sixteen at Flushing Meadows. He also has three first round defeats in New York to his name and could be susceptible against Haase.

Selection – Janko Tipsarevic @ 196 (Back to Lay)

Follow Chris on Twitter @cdquinn86

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