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US Open Round 1

Had written this for a client but it wasn't used for some reason...


In Round 1 matches, the Aussie focus will be on Bernard Tomic against qualifier Michael Yani, and wildcard Marinko Matosevic opposing Juan Ignacio Chela again, in a repeat of their Wimbledon R1 clash. Tomic actually trails 1-2 on the h2h, losing both on clay, while his success came in Wimbledon qualifying on the grass. Yani is no slouch, he grinds his way through the challenger circuit with occasional ventures to the higher grade. If Tomic brings his big stage attitude onto court he'll be fine, but I foresee a longer than necessary match. Lay Tomic 3-0 at around 2.6.

The latest young American hope, Ryan Harrison, opens proceedings in Louis Armstrong Stadium against Marin Cilic. This will be an out-and-out slugfest. Harrison is the highest-ranked teenager on the tour, and typical of emerging Americans, relies heavily on his serve. Semi-final appearances in Atlanta and LA early in the North American swing boosted his ranking, and he meets a former quarter-finalist whose game is noted mostly for its inconsistency this year. Like any teenager, there has to be doubts over his ability to go five sets, but at around 3.0, a back-to-lay trade is advised.

The top seeds should all have comfortable 3-0 victories (watch that simplistic prediction go pear-shaped!) but the one seed in action on Tuesday I fancy is Mikhail Youzhny. The two-time semi-finalist here faces the enigmatic Latvian, Ernests Gulbis. Gulbis has a huge amount of hype around him, and has for a few years. But when you line up his Grand Slam form, it is simply atrocious - seven straight R1 losses! Youzhny has come out on the wrong side of this result twice, but on the big stage, he is a class above. Can't believe the price - back confidently at 1.8 and above.

Outsiders with a chance:

Stakhovsky 4.7 v Gasquet. The Frenchman has a poor record here and could face a struggle against a player well suited to the faster courts.

Johnson 9.0 vs Bogomolov Jr. I've not heard of this US wildcard before, but I do know one thing - Bogomolov just isn't that good! He should never be 1.11 against anyone.

Darcis 2.4 v Tursunov - the Belgian won this clash just last week in Winston-Salem and is on a strong run of form, mostly in challenger events. Meanwhile Tursunov has lost four of his past five and only broke his run of nine straight R1 Grand Slam losses with a win over Gulbis (seven straight) at Wimbledon!


Switching to the women, Sam Stosur flies the flag for Australia, hoping to at least repeat last year's quarter-final effort, which was a vast improvement on her previously poor record here. She starts her campaign against Sofia Arvidsson who is generally happy to receive the R1 loser's cheque at each Slam. A straight sets victory should be a safe bet.

Adopted Aussie Anastasia Rodionova is favoured against former compatriot Alla Kudryavtseva, but trails 0-3 on the h2h. Rodionova has the better recent form but a trio of three-set losses to today's opponent suggests it is more than just ability which decides these results. Rodionova is a renowned hothead and if a rival can get into her head, that spells trouble. Kudryavtseva worth a bet at around 2.5.

Outsider with a chance:

Barrois 4.0 vs Goerges. The 19th seed is on a horror run since Wimbledon with just two wins in eight. Barrois is capable on her day.

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