Kyle Edmund v Ernesto Escobedo
There is a lot of hype around Kyle Edmund in Great Britain after some solid performances for the Davis Cup team. Personally, I am not sure whether I truly believe he is going to be the next top player from Great Britain with inconsistent results through his short career even if he had an impressive win over Richard Gasquet in the First Round.
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That did come against an out of sorts opponent and not the Gasquet that has reached the top 10 of the World Rankings. It is easy to read too much into that one win going into the Second Round, but I would urge some caution as Edmund has suffered some really poor losses on the hard courts since helping Great Britain get past Serbia in the Davis Cup.
Edmund has been beaten as a 1.40 or shorter favourite in two of his four losses since that Davis Cup tie and it has to be a concern. Once again Edmund will be a short favourite in this match but you have to feel he is going to be too good for Ernesto Escobedo who is still outside the top 200 in the World Rankings, at least until the end of this tournament.
Escobedo did win the Lexington Challenger in preparation for the US Open, but his lack of experience at Grand Slam level has to work against him. These two have played before too with Edmund proving too strong after a tight couple of sets were split and I think we will see something similar in the Second Round. I wouldn’t be surprised if Escobedo is able to win a set, but I am looking for Edmund to come through with a 7-5, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Kyle Edmund -5.5 Games @ 1.91 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage
Mikhail Youzhny v Guido Pella
The veteran Mikhail Youzhny has begun to move back up the World Rankings and he is on course for his most wins on the main Tour since 2013. The start of 2016 saw Youzhny restore some lost confidence with three successive wins on the Challenger Tour, and he has been winning more matches on the main Tour.
Youzhny had an impressive win over Martin Klizan in the First Round and that follows a run to the Second Round in Cincinnati where he had to come through the Qualifiers. Wins over Brian Baker and Taylor Fritz show that Youzhny is not quite ready to hang up his racquet just yet and I think he can get the better of Guido Pella in this Second Round match.
It was a solid win for Pella in the First Round as he won the big points in the first two sets to effectively end Bjorn Fratangelo’s tournament in the straight sets win. Those two sets saw Pella win just three more points than the young American, but I am not ready to believe he is suddenly an effective hard court player after one positive result.
He is unlikely to receive as many unforced errors from 0-30 positions on serve against an experienced campaigner like Youzhny who will recognise the big points better than Fratangelo did. If Youzhny can play those better than Fratangelo then I think he can win this match in either three or four sets and current form suggests Youzhny is going to be a little too good for Pella in this one.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Mikhail Youzhny -1.5 Sets @ 1.95 with Unibet
John Isner v Steve Darcis
It was almost the biggest success of Steve Darcis’ career at the end of 2015 when he came close to helping Belgium win the Davis Cup. He started the Tour following the main circuit, but the majority of the latter months have been spent on the Challenger Tour and Darcis prepared for the US Open with a number of clay court events.
Since the French Open Darcis has won two titles on the Challenger Tour and reached two other Finals, all on clay courts, and that will improve confidence. Darcis took that into the US Open Qualifiers before coming back from 2-0 down in sets to beat Jordan Thompson in the First Round.
Now the challenge in front of him has increased both in stature of opponent and World Rankings when he meets John Isner. There is almost a full foot in height differential between the players, but both might be in a similar place physically after Isner escaped an upset in the First Round by coming from 2-0 down against Frances Tiafoe, another young American hope.
This has been a disappointing summer for Isner who usually produces big results on the North American hard courts. Isner even lost the Number 1 American tag for a week but he has to have picked up some much needed confidence in winning from 2-0 down in the last Round. His serve is always going to be a huge weapon and I think that will build pressure on Darcis whose own service games will give Isner one or two chances to break serve.
Ultimately I think Isner is in a much better place in terms of recent hard court matches and I think he is likely to be more used to having long matches early in Grand Slam tournaments and recovering for the next one. He will likely have a more comfortable time in the office when it comes to getting joy from the serve and I think Darcis will give up a couple of breaks of serve which will give Isner the 6-3, 7-6, 6-4 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: John Isner -5.5 Games @ 1.85 with Pinnacle
Elina Svitolina v Lauren Davis
This has been a memorable summer for Elina Svitolina who has been on the Tour so long that is easy to forget she is only 21-years-old. A win over Serena Williams at the Olympic Games was huge for Svitolina and she also reached the Final in New Haven last week.
Coming from a set down to obliterate Mandy Minella in the First Round has only boosted the confidence that Svitolina has to be feeling heading into the US Open. She is favoured to reach the Third Round against Lauren Davis, who will receive the home support, especially as the American has been out of form recently.
Davis had a three set win in the First Round and has reached the Final in Washington this summer. However, she had been beaten very easily in the two matches between those sets of results and Davis has also been brushed aside by Svitolina in their two previous matches.
The problem for Davis will always be the diminutive height and the lack of free points coming from the serve. It means she is on the back-foot whenever she is serving, especially against the power Svitolina possesses, and it will just need a couple of holds for the Ukrainian to cover this number. I can see a tough opening set being replaced by a more comfortable one for Svitolina once she gets a rhythm on the return and move into the Third Round behind a 7-5, 6-2 success.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Elina Svitolina -5.5 Games @ 1.95 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage
Prices correct at time of writing.