US Open Men's Day 4 Tips: Musetti to keep it close against Opelka

Second round action at the US Open continues on Thursday with the remaining matches of the round on the schedule. Dan Weston discusses potential value on day four...

Van de Zandschulp does give Casper that Ruud awakening

We picked up a winner last night with Botic van de Zandschulp not just covering the game handicap but beating Casper Ruud in four sets yesterday. Ruud was obviously a strong favourite in advance of the match and anyone who had done an accumulator of favourites was probably let down by the Norwegian, although most other strong favourites did progress.

Stefanos Tstisipas and Daniil Medvedev did get through, although as anticipated, Adrian Mannarino did at least provide some resistance against Tsitsipas. It will be interesting to see whether the nine sets and extra court time in the early rounds will cause the Greek man problems in the latter stages.

With the pre-tournament second and fourth favourites in the outright market progressing yesterday, we see first and third - Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev - take to the courts today, as extremely heavy favourites. Here are some brief thoughts on their clashes.

Big Names

Novak Djokovic 1.01 vs Tallon Griekspoor 70.00: Griekspoor got past Jan-Lennard Struff in a good underdog victory in round one, but backing that up will obviously be extremely difficult against the world number one, as illustrated by the market pricing.

Unfortunately for the Dutchman, this is an obvious mismatch with Djokovic being not far from unbeatable on hard courts, and a player who has yet to break into the top 100 in the world (although he might after this) is unlikely to provide much of a test. A positive display for Griekspoor would be to win a set, like Holger Rune managed in round one.

Ramos should be no test for Zverev

Alexander Zverev 1.03 vs Albert Ramos 28.00: Ramos was rather fortunate to get past Lucas Pouille in round one, saving two match points and then breaking serve when he need to do so in order to stay in the match. The Spanish clay-courter faces a huge upgrade in opposition against the in-form Zverev today, as illustrated by the market pricing. It would be a huge shock if Zverev was beaten here.

Potential Value

Lorenzo Musetti 4.40 vs Reilly Opelka 1.28: Musetti is an extremely talented young player, but the Italian has done most of his best work on clay over the last year or so as he breaks through onto the main tour. Having said that, he looks some decent value today against the limited Opelka, who I rate lower than the market does in general.

This market love for the American could be due to him reaching the final of the Toronto Masters several weeks ago, but we have to note that he was 5-1 on tiebreaks that week to get to that stage, and that's unsustainable. If tiebreaks don't go his way, he won't progress in tournaments, as seen the week after in Cincinnati against Casper Ruud.

The Exchange market is still forming on the game handicap lines, but general market pricing suggests Musetti +5.5 games should be around the 1.75 mark eventually, which is a line I like against a big-server who breaks serve less than 10% of the time on hard court.

Brooksby a young player of huge potential

Jenson Brooksby 1.96 vs Taylor Fritz 1.99: There's not a huge amount of value here but some slight edge on Brooksby, in my view. In truth, I just wanted to write a couple of paragraphs on his potential.

I was hoping to see the market get this wrong and make the lower-profile Brooksby underdog against his American countryman, Fritz, here, but there seems to be an accurate consensus that Brooksby is a real player to watch moving forward.

He's reached the final in Newport in July on grass, and then the semi-finals in Washington in August as well and has just broken into the top 100. However, that's not an accurate measure on Brooksby's current level due to the recently imposed two-year nature of the rankings, which punishes young players on a strong upward curve - he's much better than that and is clearly a top 50 player based on his numbers.

Three years Brooksby's senior, Fritz was at this stage a while back as well, and probably didn't kick on quite as much as many might have anticipated, so it will be interesting just to see how he deals with the threat of the 20-year-old wild card here.

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