Carla Suarez Navarro v Elena Vesnina
I backed Carla Suarez Navarro to have too much for Jelena Jankovic in the Second Round and I think the Spaniard can move into the second week of the US Open. That will mean the Spaniard has done so in every Grand Slam this season and it will give her a good chance to get back into the top 10 of the World Rankings.
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However, she can’t expect to have the same success against Elena Vesnina as she did against Jankovic. This is a different match up for Suarez Navarro to deal with as Vesnina does possess more power than Jankovic, although her defensive skills won’t be as good.
The Russian will also try and get to the net and use all of her Doubles skills to put away volleys and Vesnina is coming in off her best Grand Slam Singles performance at Wimbledon. Vesnina has come through two Rounds easily enough this week and it has taken the best players on the WTA Tour to stop her strong runs at Wimbledon and most recently New Haven.
I can’t ignore the fact that Suarez Navarro can be incredibly inconsistent with the results she earns when she is not hitting her marks, but she is a competitive player and has given the likes of Madison Keys and Angelique Kerber scares on the hard courts this summer. It was a break-fest when these players met in Dubai earlier this season and I think we will see a few in this one too, but Suarez Navarro will just be a little too consistent with her groundstrokes and get Vesnina moving side to side in a 7-5, 6-4 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Carla Suarez Navarro – 3.5 Games @ 1.98 with Pinnacle
Caroline Garcia v Agnieszka Radwanska
Some of the commentators you hear on the television seem to be really high on Agnieszka Radwanska, but I am simply not a fan of the Polish player. I don’t think her game is ever going to lead to Grand Slam success and I find her a pretty boring player to watch, while you don’t know how the serve is going to be working from day to day.
The defensive side of the game is clearly the strength for Radwanska and it is effective enough for the player who has been a feature of the top 10 of the World Rankings in recent years. However you always get the feeling with Radwanska that someone out there is going to be able to hit through her at the business end of these Grand Slam events and that has proven correct more often than not.
I like the chances of Caroline Garcia to make this a competitive match having come through two tough Rounds where she has been a set down each time. The battling back will build character and I think Garcia has the power and the serve to be able to get Radwanska moving around the court. A slow start did cost Garcia when these players met at the French Open in May, but the faster US Open courts might allow the Frenchwoman to make this one a lot closer.
They have met twice on the hard courts and both have gone the distance with each player winning once. The key for Garcia will be to balance the aggressive play, while restricting the unforced errors, which isn’t easy against Radwanska! Garcia shouldn’t be overawed by the serve coming at her and she has to try and take Radwanska into deep waters after the Pole won the title in New Haven last week.
This does look a lot of games to give Garcia considering Radwanska had not been in the best form prior to winning in New Haven. While that gives Radwanska the confidence to win this match in tight moments, I think Garcia takes a set and makes these games count.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Caroline Garcia + 4.5 Games @ 2.14 with 188BET
Karolina Pliskova v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
There can’t be that many players who have got up to Number 11 in the World Rankings with the shocking Grand Slam record Karolina Pliskova has! I said prior to the tournament that her win at Cincinnati might have flicked the ‘on’ switch in her play and Pliskova is in a position to reach the Fourth Round at a Grand Slam for the FIRST time ever.
That is a stunning statistic and I don’t think Pliskova could have picked a better opponent if I am being honest. She has beaten Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in all three previous matches and has won every set they have competed, while not losing more than four games in any of those sets.
The head to head alone would give Pliskova confidence, but Pavlyuchenkova might have left something on the court after a long three set win over Kristina Mladenovic in the Second Round. While she has a day to recover, those matches will have irreversibly sapped some energy for the remainder of the US Open and I think the Russian will have to serve a lot better if she is going to upset Pliskova.
We know Pliskova has the big serve and heavy forehand to be a threat as she showed by winning Cincinnati, but even this ice cool character will have some nerves as she looks for her first big breakthrough at Grand Slam level. If Pliskova can control those nerves and loosen up her arm, I do think she is the superior player in this Third Round match and I would expect her to beat what must be a tired opponent 6-4, 6-3.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Karolina Pliskova – 3.5 Games @ 1.63 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.