The second round of the singles draws take the centre stage at the US Open on Wednesday while the doubles action also begins on what should be another great day of tennis on a hot and sticky day at Flushing Meadows.
There were shocks galore in the first round of the singles action which means that the two draws are already opening up. It also means that the big names who have made it through will be on their toes out in New York.
Arthur Ashe Stadium
The 2012 champion Andy Murray is a surprising but welcome choice to open up the action on the main court on Wednesday. He has a date with the home player Emilio Nava in a clash which sees both men with a real opportunity to push on this week. When they are done Coco Gauff is back on the main stage. She faces Elena Ruse to round off the day session. The night session is going to have a fantastic atmosphere because once again Serena Williams could step out into the spotlight for the last time. She faces number two seed Anett Kontaveit before the action concludes with the top seed in the men’s draw, Daniil Medvedev, taking on Arthur Rinderknech.
Louis Armstrong Court
This has been something of a graveyard court for the seeds this year and that might be a concern to the number three seed Maria Sakkari when she goes up against Xiyu Wang. There is a blockbuster match second on this court when the home star Madison Keys takes on Camila Giorgi before the day session concludes with Nick Kyrgios going up against Benjamin Bonzi. There is a full night session on Armstrong on Wednesday too and that begins with two exciting youngsters meeting when Jack Draper takes on Felix Auger-Aliassime before Beatriz Haddad Maia meets the former champion Bianca Andreescu.
We have a decent session to enjoy on the Grandstand court on Wednesday as well. That begins with the Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur meeting the lowly ranked home player Elizabeth Mandlik before the Italian sensation Matteo Berrettini is on court to face Hugo Grenier before the day session concludes with two Americans going at it when Tommy Paul takes on Seb Korda. The final match on this court is saved for the early evening and sees the 2021 finalist Leylah Fernandez going up against Ludmilla Samsonova.
This is a great place to watch tennis and those who sit on this court or load up the stream for it certainly won’t be short changed when it comes to entertainment. The play opens up with the clean hitting Shelby Rogers taking on Viktoria Kuzmova before another clean hitting home ace takes to the court as Alison Riske-Amritraj faces Camila Osorio. The action is rounded off with a couple of men’s matches, the first of which sees the big serving Tim van Rijthoven taking on Casper Ruud before Karen Khachanov goes up against Thiago Monteiro.
Best of the Rest
The doubles action will be getting going around the grounds on Wednesday but there is still plenty of singles matches taking place as well and they have some appealing players on show. Alex de Minaur meets the man who dumped him out of Wimbledon in an epic last month in Cristian Garin on Court 5 with Caroline Garcia following later in the day on that court. Botic van de Zandschulp and Veronika Kudermetova have dates on Court 13 while Pablo Carreno Busta and Barbora Krejcikova headline the action on Court 12.
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Two bets leap out at me in the men’s draw on Wednesday. The first of those opens the show when Alexander Bublik is getting a big start against the Montreal champion Pablo Carreno Busta. The Spaniard has a decent record here in fairness with two semi-final finishes, the second of which came in the first year of these new seriously quick courts but he went five sets with Yasutaka Uchiyama in the first round there and then got the benefit of the Novak Djokovic default before edging out a Denis Shapovalov who had been on the court longer than anyone at that point in the last eight. Last year PCB lost in the first round so you can pick holes in his form since these courts were laid. Even his win in Montreal was in slower conditions. Bublik was beaten in a five-setter by Jack Sock last year but eased past Hugo Gaston in the first round here in a match he probably needed having only played one American hard court match prior to that. Dominic Thiem troubled Carreno Busta in the previous round and the Spaniard has had problems against Bublik before. The two hard court wins he has against the Kazakh both came in a deciding set tiebreak and their meeting in Monte Carlo earlier in the year was heading the same way before Bublik retired 4-3 down on serve in the decider. Bublik’s serve will suit these conditions and first up when the fall flies faster he can cause enough problems to stay within 5.5 games here.
Later in the day I think the odds are the wrong way around when Tommy Paul meets his American counterpart Sebastian Korda. Both men had harder times of it in the first round than would have been expected of them but they lived to tell the tale and will face off here. The two have met three times and Korda has won the lot but the two hard court battles were won in a deciding set last year. I have seen enough improvement in Paul since then to suggest he can get the better of an opponent who I don’t think is playing as well as he was last year. Paul has beaten Carlos Alcaraz, Marin Cilic and Jenson Brooksby on a hard court in the last few weeks and at a shade over even money looks value to add the name of Korda to the list.
Two women’s bets stand out to me as well and we have to wait for the night session to come along for both of them to take place. The first one is for Serena Williams to beat Anett Kontaveit. We know all about the Serena impact on this tournament and the fanfare around it but she actually played some nice tennis in beating Danka Kovinic in the previous round and although she wasn’t perfect and there is more to come, now that the nerves and the occasion around her last event will have gone a little I think she can swing from the hip against a Kontaveit who is in wretched form after a heavy bout with Covid earlier in the year. This isn’t going to be an easy night for Kontaveit. She isn’t just fighting her own physicality but also 20 odd thousand screaming people in the crowd and the greatest player to have lived on the other side of the net. The Estonian is a class act and she might have enough to end the career of Wiliams but we know Serena isn’t finishing without a fight and it might be that if she can engage Kontaveit long enough she’ll outlast her physically struggling opponent. I don’t see Serena as a 2/1 poke here.
While I think one former champion here will progress I see the end for another as Bianca Andreescu, who I admit isn’t really one to take on here because there is something about this place that gets her juices flowing, is running into a hot opponent in the form of Beatriz Haddad Maia who is having a three months to remember. The Brazilian began this golden spell by taking down the grass titles in Nottingham and Birmingham before losing in the last four at Eastbourne in a special three week period. On the hard courts she made the final in Toronto where Iga Swiatek, Belinda Bencic and Karolina Pliskova were brushed aside before Simona Halep outlasted her in the final. She lost in the first round in Cincinnati the following week but I suspect a lot of that was down to the exertions of the week before. She opened this week by walloping Ana Konjuh without dropping a game. There were bits to like about the game of Andreescu against Harmony Tan in the first round but there were times she was getting frustrated and when you consider the sets she won were 61 and 60 the fact she made 17 unforced errors in the match was a concern. There is then the fitness of the Canadian which can never be totally trusted. As good as she plays here I think Andreescu meets her match here.
Back A.Bublik (+5.5 games) to beat P.Carreno Busta for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Boylesports
Back him here:
Back T.Paul to beat S.Korda for a 3/10 stake at 2.05 with 888Sport
Back him here:
Back S.Williams to beat A.Kontaveit for a 3/10 stake at 3.00 with BetVictor
Back her here:
Back B.Haddad Maia to beat B.Andreescu for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Bet365