U.S. Open Day 12 best bets: Djokovic, Medvedev are in for battles
It is men’s semifinal day at the U.S. Open on Friday, and to say both matches are popcorn-worthy would be a gross understatement. Three of the top four seeds have advanced: Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, and Alexander Zverev. The only outsider is Felix Auger-Aliassime, who has always been touted as a future Grand Slam champion and will break into the top 10 if he reaches the final.
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Let’s continue by taking a look at some of the best bets for Friday at Flushing Meadows, and be sure to also check out our best futures bets on the men’s side.
Novak Djokovic vs. Alexander Zverev Over 38.5 games (-120)
This is about as big as it gets for a Grand Slam semifinal that isn’t Big 3 vs. Big 3. With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the sidelines, Zverev is the player who is giving Djokovic the most trouble right now. They have faced each other three times in 2021, with the world No. 1 surviving two tough matches and losing once. He won in three sets at the ATP Cup and in a fourth-set tiebreaker at the Australian Open before falling in three sets at the Tokyo Olympics.
There is no reason why Zverev can’t seriously trouble Djokovic once again. The fourth-ranked German is on a 16-match winning streak that includes the gold medal and the Cincinnati title. He has dropped only one set at the U.S. Open so far. Djokovic, on the other hand, has donated a set in four of his matches this fortnight. If the top-seeded Serb is surrendering sets to Holger Rune, Kei Nishikori, Jenson Brooksby, and Matteo Berrettini, how can you expect him to make routine work of Zverev? I am picking Djokovic to win the match (many are not!), but at the very least it will likely be a four-set struggle and even five sets is not out of the question.
Daniil Medvedev vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime Over 36 games (-108)
It is true that Medvedev often takes opponents to the absolute woodshed, but he generally does so by making them beat themselves. The Russian’s style of play is such that if you aren’t playing well, you have no chance. But you are playing well, you are going to be in it because Medvedev doesn’t take the racket out of your hands like some of the other top players do with huge serves and first-strike groundstrokes.
Auger-Aliassime does not yet have a ton of consistency at 21 years old, but he is certainly playing well at the moment. Also a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon, Auger-Aliassime is through to the U.S. Open semis thanks to a run that includes especially impressive performances against Roberto Bautista Agut and Frances Tiafoe. Perhaps most important is the fact that the 15th-ranked Canadian is serving incredibly well; his 85 aces are fourth-most in the tournament (even more than Zverev). Holding serve consistently is the key to making matches competitive–especially against a quality returner like Medvedev. Auger-Aliassime is winning 81 percent of his first-serve points through five rounds. The only previous Medvedev-FAA showdown went to a final-set tiebreaker. This one may not go quite that far, but it has all the makings of another good one.
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