Gael Monfils v Lucas Pouille
One of the best matches at the US Open was the Lucas Pouille five set win over Rafael Nadal, but the challenges keep coming as he faces compatriot Gael Monfils in the Quarter Final. It is arguable that only Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will be feeling more confident of their chances of winning the US Open than Monfils and I am looking for him to cover a big number in this Quarter Final.
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That is no disrespect to Pouille, but I am not sure how he can recover from playing three consecutive five set matches. He is a shot-maker, but Monfils is a fine athlete who will get plenty of balls back in play and I also think Monfils possesses the more consistent serve.
At some point you have to think all of the tennis that Pouille has played will come back to haunt him. It happened at Wimbledon where Pouille had big wins over Juan Martin Del Potro and Bernard Tomic in consecutive Rounds before tiredness set in against Tomas Berdych in the Quarter Final.
The same might happen in this Quarter Final as Monfils has freshness on his side and I think he will start frustrating Pouille as this match goes on. The Pouille serve can be attacked and I will look for Monfils to wear him down in a 75, 64, 63 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Gael Monfils -6.5 Games @ 1.99 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage
Novak Djokovic v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
This has to be the strangest run in a Grand Slam for Novak Djokovic through his career with only two completed wins to reach the Quarter Final. Some may think he is undercooked, but I think Djokovic would have welcomed the rest and he didn’t look rusty when dismissing Kyle Edmund as easily as he did.
This time Djokovic can’t rely on an inexperienced opponent to make a slow start as Edmund did in the Fourth Round because the World Number 1 is taking on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. This is a player that can compete with the very best players on Tour when bringing his best to the court, although I do think Tsonga will need to be better than he was in his win over Jack Sock.
There wasn’t much between Sock and Tsonga through the first three sets and someone like Djokovic is a better player who can get plenty of serves back in play. The issue about backing Djokovic is trying to figure out how the arm and elbow is feeling as that has weakened the serve and it is an area that Tsonga has to try and target especially when he is seeing second serves.
However the glaring weakness on the backhand wing means Djokovic should be able to neutralise rallies by going into that wing even though he isn’t feeling at 100%. I just haven’t been as impressed with Tsonga as the scores suggest I should be because he has been winning the big points but that is not sustainable when giving up as many opportunities on the serve and now taking on one of the best returning players of all time.
They did have a really close match at Indian Wells which was decided 7-6, 7-6 in favour of Djokovic. However it was only missed opportunities that didn’t make life easier for Djokovic and I am looking for him to come through with a 76, 63, 63 win in this one.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Novak Djokovic -6.5 Games @ 2.00 with Bet365
Prices correct at time of writing.