US Open Picks and Predictions: Saturday's US Open Matches Are Sure To Bring Fireworks

Saturday's US Open matches are can't-miss television. Tennis handicapper Vinny Maukner previews the matches he has his eyes on and gives us his picks.
Vinny Maukner
Sat, September 4, 5:41 AM EDT

US Open Picks and Predictions: Saturday's US Open Matches Are Sure To Bring Fireworks

Carlos Alcaraz has been the story of the day yesterday and man did he put up a show against Stefanos Tsitsipas. The tennis did not disappoint, but our 6.5 games spread looked on the brink of defeat after another Greek bagel. However, Alcaraz showed some nerves of steel in that fifth set, serving to stay in the match multiple times. Not only did he cover in the end, he also advanced to the next round in what has been a match to remember. Botic Van de Zandschulp made these minus games look easy in the end after a first set loss, but one thing that’s assured for me today is that there will be no parlay of favorites...

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Ilya Ivashka vs. Matteo Berrettini Prediction

Ilya Ivashka vs. Matteo Berrettini Odds

Is Ilya Ivashka the hottest player on tour right now? One could definitely make a case for that. The Belarusian only lost one set on his way to the title in Winston-Salem as he beat capable players such as Carreno Busta, Ruusuvuori or Ymer (all of them in straights). Arriving in New York City, the Ivashka train didn’t stop. He also beat both Sandgren and Pospisil in straight sets, only allowing 2 breaks in 31 service games. Ivashka’s hard court Elo rating is right around the top 20 and today, he’ll face someone who I doubt to be at 100%.

Matteo Berrettini is a Wimbledon finalist and he’ll be one of the first guys to ask for a Grand Slam title when the big 3 are gone. However, he’s not at the same level as earlier this year. Serving to stay in the match against Ramos-Vinolas is more alarming than losing in straight sets to Auger-Aliassime, so the lead-up hasn’t been ideal for Berrettini. His first round wins against Frenchmen Chardy and Moutet didn’t come easy either as Chardy led by 4-1 in the first set tiebreak and had set points in the second while Moutet was able to get a set off the Italian. Despite the line movement, I still think there is some value on the Ivashka handicap as this should be a serve-orientated match that could be even closer than the odds suggest.

Pick: Ilya Ivashka +3.5 games @ +107

Belinda Bencic vs. Jessica Pegula Prediction

Belinda Bencic vs. Jessica Pegula Odds

Whenever I have two players that can play lights out tennis but still go hot and cold at times, odds of +150 or better on the over 2.5 sets market are of value to me. Yes, Bencic won their recent match at the Olympics 6-3 6-3, but Pegula only lost to capable players since - Giorgi in Montreal, Pliskova in Cincinnati. Both Bencic and Pegula are in form and I can’t see any of them backing down after losing the first. That being said, whoever loses the opener probably won’t be +150 to win the second set, making this over 2.5 sets market a valuable pre-match bet.

Pick: Over 2.5 sets @ +150

Sara Sorribes Tormo vs. Emma Raducanu Prediction

Sara Sorribes Tormo vs. Emma Raducanu Odds

Anyone that follows me for a little longer probably knows that I’m very high on Emma Raducanu. The Brit had her breakout tournament at Wimbledon and it reminded me a lot of the Coco Gauff hype from two years ago. Raducanu has been the talk of the town since and she also backs it up with some solid results. As good as these results are for a player her age, let’s not overreact on all these wins at ITF, WTA 125k and Grand Slam qualifying level though.

The talent is there for Raducanu who will be a top player sooner rather than later, but the 18-year-old never faced a physical player like Sorribes Tormo before. The Spaniard will get to a lot more balls than her most recent opponents and I’m curious how Raducanu handles that. Kudos to the teen if she also hits that extra shot, but at odds close to a pick’em, I have to go for the experienced player who still gets better and better herself, especially on hard courts.

Pick: Sara Sorribes Tormo @ -118

Aslan Karatsev vs. Jenson Brooksby Prediction

Aslan Karatsev vs. Jenson Brooksby Odds

Karatsev and Brooksby already faced each other at Roland Garros this year with the Russian easily coming through in straight sets. However, a lot has changed since then. Karatsev lost to Kohlschreiber in his very next match and has never really looked the same afterwards. There are worse losses than Norrie, Chardy (twice) or Cilic, but it’s safe to say Karatsev lost some of his magic in the earlier stages of 2021. Battling with Munar for more than three and Thompson for more than four and a half hours could also pay its price against a player that just won’t stop fighting.

Jenson Brooksby’s form is going quite the other way. He’s 40-10 this year and after he just couldn’t lose at Challenger level anymore, the young American ventured to step up to the ATP tour. He made the final in Newport and the semifinal in Washington, beating players like Gojowczyk, Thompson, Anderson, Tiafoe, Millman and Auger-Aliassime all in straight sets. Brooksby already had some battles here in New York as well, but with his fighting spirit and the crowd support he’ll get, I’m betting him to advance to the round of 16.

Pick: Jenson Brooksby @ -110

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