The US Open play continues with 2nd round play, which means more huge slates and huge prize pools that you are going to want to get in on. There are simply too many matches to cover, but here are some of my favorite picks for tomorrow to get you started. Be sure to leave a comment or join up with DFS Analytics’s premium chat if you have any questions or thoughts, and good luck in tomorrow’s contest!
Format: Player Name (Draftkings Salary, Fanduel Salary, American Betting Odds)
Elise Mertens ($10,600, $24,-1400)
While her -1400 odds to win this match is not as sexy as Medvedev’s -7000, Elise Mertens stands out as one of the biggest potential smash spots of the slate. Like Azarenka’s domination of Haas the other slate, this match features a matchup between two WTA players that lean towards the return game. This can always make for a wide range of outcomes because of the potentially large amount of breaks, but because of Elise Mertens’ higher caliber of play, I expect she will be hogging most of the break point conversions this match. Her 17-7 record and 1.28 DR completely leading into the US Open dwarfs Tormo’s 4-6 .93 against rank 10-100 opponents on hard.
I do expect this match will be popular due to the soft matchup and good salary vs. odds value, but she still stands out to me as the elite play of choice on Draftkings GPPs. Just do not go wild with her on Fanduel, where her $24 salary is going to be tough to work.
Jeffrey Jan Wolf ($9,200, $19, -320)
Picking top players for tomorrow’s slate feels like a minefield. There are a lot of really talented players, but a lot of them feel overpriced and/or are playing a tough opponent. (Kenin and Raonic come to mind. Leylah Fernandez and Vasek Pospisil are very beatable by high caliber players but are deceptively tough competitors.) We are paying a premium price for the matchup here, but the matchup could not be too much better for Wolf.
Baena is a true blue clay specialist, and has not been especially dangerous on hard courts throughout his career. Excluding a matchup against the joker, he still is only 6-10 with a .90 DR on the surface, and I feel conditions should be especially uncomfortable for Baena with how fast New York courts are playing. While Wolf does not have a wealth of career numbers, he profiles as a high level up and comer. I expect he wins this without too much trouble with the upside of some lopsided sets if Baena struggles to hold serve.
Alex De Minaur ($8,700, $18, -240)
Sometimes I really hate playing players for how they could be playing instead of how they actually are playing, but sometimes it is worth doing if the price is right. That may be the case here. Alex De Minaur boasts a salivating 1.17 DR and 13-5 entering this tournament, while Gasquet has been merely around average with a 1.01 and 6-6 record.
There is definitely a lot of room for underperformance here for De Minaur. He lost to Struff recently and he had to save a healthy amount of breakpoints against the much inferior Andrej Martin, but a player as good as De Minaur tends to turn things around eventually. This is a good upside spot at a very reasonable price. Just bear in mind a Gasquet victory is not off the table.
Emil Ruusevuori ($8,000, $17, -175)
If you want to exploit a clay courter matchup at a lower price, Ruusevuori seems like a bargain compared to Wolf’s $9,200 price tag. However, this one is priced close for a reason: Ruud actually is not a slouch on the surface. His 4-7 record and .96 DR against top 100 players are actually not far from average. The problem for Ruud is the up and coming Ruusevuori has just been a bit better with a 7-6 record and 1.06 DR. I do not think by any means this one will be a blowout, but considering Ruusevuori’s talent and the favorable court conditions, I think he is in a good spot to top Ruud.
Victoria Azarenka ($7,500, $16, -105)
Matches priced this close are always a little tricky. In theory, they might be so close that you are just playing both sides and hoping one player fails to show up. To a degree, that is the case here, but I am still leaning heavily towards team Azarenka on this one.
Recent form is a key factor here. Azarenka has excelled after recovering from her injury and has played her best tennis in years. Her winning of Cincinnati required some luck with the Osaka withdrawal, but it was not an accident. Sabalenka’s stats for the year are technically still better than Azarenka’s, yet I am unsure if it’s even helpful to pull them up. She failed to dominate a heavy underdog in Dodin after going 2-2 in matches in Lexington and Cincinnati that she should have mostly won easily on paper.
I also think the surface conditions here gives Azarenka a bump. The indoor courts at New York have been notoriously slow compared to the surprisingly fast outdoor ones. This lines up well for Azarenka, who leans towards the return game, and could definitely be an issue for Sabalenka if she catches the unforced error bug again.
Overall, Azarenka is far from a must play or even safe, but there is reason to believe she is very much in play as a salary saver and is the preferable option to her opponent.
Quick Underdog Picks
Olga Govortsova ($6,400, $15, +115)
It’s a shame this match is indoors, which should favor Sloane Stephens who has traditionally performed better on slower surfaces. Still, Sloane Stephens has not been great lately and could give Govortsova some serious upside if she fails to show again even if Govortsova is only average.
Bernarda Pera ($5,800, $14, +180)
Sakkari is a solid hard courter, but I think Pera is being underrated here. She has quietly been very solid, with a 7-5 record and 1.05 DR against rank 10-100 opponents, which was actually better than Sakkari’s 8-8 .99 line.
Norbert Gombos ($5,100, $13, +260)
Gombos at least has a case for being an average tour player (5-4 1.01) and Cilic’s performance has not lived up to his reputation lately (5-9 .99).
Ysaline Bonaventure ($5,200, $12, +275), Patricia Tig ($4,800, $12, +340)
Neither of these players are especially strong, but neither are their opponents. Vekic went 6-12 with a .96 DR and Cornet went 4-8 with a .88 DR on the year. Definitely worth some darts to see if either underperforms.
Tsvetana Pironkova ($4,600, $11, +350), Andrey Kuznetsov ($4,500, $12, +360)
Will lightning strike twice? Not sure, but this pair of inactive players showed up big time and dominated in first round matches they were expected to lose easily. Just bear in mind that even if we really are getting good prices here, Muguruza and Khachanov are quality competition and neither victory should be especially easy nor likely.