Ricardas Berankis – Diego Schwartzman
Berankis has some weapons to outplay Schwartzman. On the other hand, it’s hard to see the Argentine losing to this opponent in a 3-set win. Also, it could be quite warm on Monday and Tuesday, and that could be to the advantage of the little guy.
Diego Schwartzman wins
Marin Cilic – Philipp Kohlschreiber
Cilic can be capable of losing to anyone and Kohlschreiber has proven in his last few appearances that he doesn’t wait for noon to 2pm to get his points. The German’s initiative could therefore upset the Croatian. But I still find it hard to imagine the latter losing in the first round. It has never happened to him in 12 participations. Moreover, this format in 3 winning sets should allow him to get out of this trap in a tournament that has worked well for him in the past (winner in 2014).
Marin Cilic wins
Dusan Lajovic – Benoit Paire
Pretty crazy to put a Benoit Paire match in this category. However, playing in the US is good for him and he should show up 100% in this 1st round of the US Open. Moreover, the Serbian is not on his favorite surface and he has fallen 4 times in the 1st round (in 6 participations). The Frenchman has only lost once in the first round of this Grand Slam tournament (in 9 appearances).
Benoit Paire wins
Gaël Monfils – Federico Coria
Monfils is back to his best. He may not have the legs to go far in this tournament, but he has what it takes to get through the first round against this opponent far from his preferred surface.
Gael Monfils wins
Jiri Vesely – Kevin Anderson
Vesely can be a pain in the ass to play, but Kevin Anderson has been reassuring in his recent appearances. He’s in a tournament he enjoys immensely, as well as on his preferred surface. Add to that the fact that he has a 69% win rate against lefties. He’s up to 76% in a Grand Slam and 83% at the US Open (only one loss, to Nadal).
Kevin Anderson wins
Peter Gojowczyk – Ugo Humbert
Gojowczyk will have the advantage of coming out of qualifying. He is an aggressive player and can serve very well. On the other hand, I expect the Frenchman to take the game more than once, but also to have the upper hand physically. Add to that the fact that the German has only a 32% win rate against left-handed opponents.
Ugo Humbert wins
Frances Tiafoe – Christopher Eubanks
Frances Tiafoe has made it past the first round of the US Open in his last 3 appearances, unlike his compatriot who has always lost at this level of the competition (in 2 appearances). Eubanks doesn’t really have a reference match lately, and he only has a Challenger level. Tiafoe is much more used to the high level and I expect him to prove it here.
Fances Tiafoe wins
The matches where you have to be careful
Salvatore Caruso – Kei Nishikori
Kei Nishikori is the overwhelming favorite. The only thing to consider is that he hasn’t played since his withdrawn match in Toronto due to a right shoulder injury (the same one that has been bothering him for some time). If he doesn’t recover, the Italian could well take advantage of this and upset more than one punter (or make others happy).
Fabio Fognini – Vasek Pospisil
The odds of the angry Italian are very tempting (they are around 1.70). However, this match can quickly become a trap. The Canadian is on his favourite surface and has won 3 of the 4 matches against Fognini. The latter has often shown signs of annoyance with Pospisil’s style. Also, Fognini has only a 50% success rate in the first round of the US Open (in 12 appearances), compared to 56% for Pospisil.
Corentin Moutet – Stefano Travaglia
A victory for Moutet is very attractive to me here. He seems to me to have everything it takes to win against the Italian. Moreover, his odds are very good (above 1.65). The only concern is his left elbow injury which forced him to be withdrawn at Winston Salem. Will he be at 100% for the first round of the US Open?
John Isner – Brandon Nakashima
A tricky match for the American giant who will face a man who has managed to titillate him these last two months (and who beat him in Los Cabos). Nakashima has many qualities to put Isner in difficulty, especially in this format in 3 winning sets. Perhaps the current 83rd-ranked player can exploit his stamina to wear down the world No. 22. Either way, it’s a very open match.
Aslan Karatsev – Jaume Munar
It’s hard to imagine a defeat for Karatsev here. But the Russian is far from being in his mood at the moment. He remains on 3 consecutive defeats. His attacks are no longer as strong and precise. Munar’s style of play could make him play an extra shot that ends up in a fault. Nevertheless, there is no reason for the Russian to lose this match if he can spread his wings. So, will he make it?
Alexander Zverev – Sam Querrey
Zverev should not lose from the start, as he is currently on a roll (winning the Olympics and Cincinnati). However, he has just been accused of domestic violence again. With only a few days to go before the US Open, his preparation has been disrupted and this could affect his performance. We don’t hope so, but it’s certainly an element to take into account when facing a man capable of being a catchy player in his country.
The matches to try
Feliciano Lopez – Bernabe Zapata Miralles
We are dealing with two players who serve very well. Feliciano Lopez is a more experienced player who could use that to good effect. Zapata Miralles should not be involved in long rallies and that could benefit the veteran.
Feliciano Lopez wins
Andrey Rublev – Ivo Karlovic
Andrey Rublev is still struggling against the big servers and Ivo Karlovic could manage to steal a set from him on tiebreak. Odds above 2.20 for a small set won by the giant and in a 3 set win format is very risky, but it is worth a try.
Ivo Karlovic wins at least one set
Andy Murray – Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas has lost at least one set in 4 of his last 5 matches. The Greek will be facing one of the strongest players mentally and he could lose a feather or two in the process. The odds are close to 2, which makes it sexy.
Andy Murray wins at least one set
Roberto Bautista – Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios should not have the legs to play long matches. But he should be able to be at his best for this first meeting. The Australian is capable of winning against any opponent when he is at his best, while Roberto Bautista has recently shown that he can have a few lapses.
Nick Kyrgios wins
The combination (of death) of the 1st round
Just for fun.
- Diego Schwartzman (1.21)
- Benoit Paire (1.70)
- Gaël Monfils (1.15)
- Kevin Anderson (1.31)
- Marin Cilic (1.31)
- Ugo Humbert (1.17)
- Pablo Carreno Busta (1.10)
- Frances Tiafoe (1.20)
- Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (1.13)
- Grigor Dimitrov (1.06)
- Kei Nishikori (1.13)
- Corentin Moutet (1.66)
- Alexander Zverev (1.07)
- Nick Kyrgios wins at least one set in the match (1.24)
- Feliciano Lopez wins at least one set in the match (1.20)