Oh man. This Open is just getting good. How fun was last night?
Hopefully Fed tires out like usual (although he pretty in control yesterday) and hopefully Nadal runs into someone who he can’t bully off the court.
I’m down to just Meds. I wish Thiem hadn’t have been sick. What a travesty this draw has turned into. I think the premise of my outright preview still holds up though. The Big 3, they are a fading.
How hot is Rublev? So many players have these swoons in play and so many times it is due to injury and rushed return. Rublev was on a similar path to his two Russian compatriots, winning Umag and losing in the finals in Milan in 2017. And he started 2018 REAL strong. But, he was injured in April of ‘18 and really hasn’t been the same since, other than a brief flash of style in Washington. His form began to return in Indian Wells where he lost in the Challenger final to Kyle Edmund. This summer he started to blossom with a final in Hamburg, a quarter-final in Cincy and a quarter-final in Winston-Salem. There was a defeat of both Stan and Federer on hards and a defeat of Thiem on clay in there. Those are top notch wins. He’s also dropped Tsitsipas and Kyrgios this week. He seems to be in peak form. The only set he dropped this week was in a tiebreak to Tsitsipas and there is no shame in that, as Tsitsipas has an incredible tiebreak record. Rublev’s also only been broken three times and that was also by Tsitsipas. Conversely, Berrettini has had a much easier path (Gasquet, Thompson and Popyrin) and has dropped a set in each match. The Italian has been broken six times so far and trails Rublev in every hard court category, including losing to Rublev on hard courts already this year on hards (albeit on faster indoor courts). Maybe the slower court will make this a little dicier but, Rublev seemed to use that to his advantage against a big server like Kyrgios the other night. As long as Rublev hasn’t run out of gas (this will be his eighth straight week of action since Wimbledon) I think he gets through here. I’ll back him on the handicap here.
Monfils is looking sharp. His only two lost sets were in tiebreaks to Shapo. Andujar has been gifted quite a nice draw with a clay courter in Sonego (and kind of a grass guy apparently) and Bublik who is hardly a third round Slam kind of guy. Monfils has handled Andujar all three times they have played and those were in Andujar’s prime. Andujar’s 33 now and while Monfils is 32 he still seems in his prime, winning his biggest title to date this year. Statistically, on hard courts, these two players are not comparable:
I’ll take Monfils to roll here. He covered the -5.5 easily in the first two rounds and while he didn’t cover against Shapo, Andujar seems a big step down from the young Canuck.
I would love to say that Zverev is the one who is going to step into the void left by Djoker this weekend. I really, really thought Zverev would be the next guy to break through and of course I left him off the list of futures this week, even though I thought this was the Slam where the breakthrough would happen, because his form has just been terrible lately. He hasn’t done anything to prove me wrong yet, going five sets, unnecessarily, with Albot and Tiafoe and then four gruelling, long sets with Bedene. I have no idea what kind of gas he has or whether he has the confidence to close out a set or match against someone with actual skill. Schwartzman is #21 in the world and hasn’t dropped a set yet. He’s closed out two matches with bagels so far and dropped a breadstick on Sandgren in his last match. I suspect the over is the best way to go here but, I suck at totals. So, I’ll just pass and hope someone wins this one quick so they can push/defeat Nadal.
Cilic’s actually done pretty well against Nadal lately, outside of a blowout in Acapulco in 2017. In their last five matches, since 2015, Cilic is 1-4 and that win came against an injured Nadal, who retired. He’s won a set in four of those matches and if his serve is on, there is a chance he keeps this close. I highly doubt he can actually win though; he hasn’t beaten a healthy Nadal since 2009, in their first ever meeting. Saying all that, I don’t know how to cap this match. The handicap seems low, at -6.5 but, as I just said, Cilic seems to steal a set on a regular basis. Nadal hasn’t looked challenged yet, blowing out Chung and Millman and given that he’s winning those matches by 9 and 11 games, this -6.5, again, seems low. I think this may be a situation, like with Meds and Stan, where I want to see how the match goes before jumping in. Their history of first sets have been all over the map, but, in all of Nadal’s 8 wins, he has won the second set. If Nadal grabs the second set, I’m going to be in on him, hopefully after he has dropped the first to make the match handicap palatable.
Rublev -3.5, -125
Monfils -5.5, -138