US Open Tennis Betting Tips
The US Open is the last Grand Slam event of the year and its eventual champions will have to endure two long weeks on the hard court surfaces of the Billie Jean National Tennis Center in New York City. The US Open is no ordinary hard court event. Just like the other three major events held each year, the US Open is full of its own intricacies that create a different environment of play for the world’s finest tennis players. Before you get ready to place any bets though we highly recommend reviewing some important variables to account for that might result in more favorable outcomes when you face the sports books.
Unlike Wimbledon’s short 2-3 week break after the French Open, players have seven weeks off after Wimbledon to regroup and recharge their batteries before play begins in New York. Even more of an added benefit is that the difference in surface speed doesn’t alter dramatically like it does from clay to grass, allowing players to make minor preparations before entering the US Open.
Before the US Open gets underway there’s always a five-week tournament season leading up to the event that links seven North American hard-court tournaments. These tournaments offer professionals from both the ATP and WTA tours a chance to rack up some points and increase their rankings while also acting as a warm-up to the last Grand Slam event of the year. The major tournaments in this series to pay special attention to are the Rogers Cup in Canada and the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Outside of these preliminary tournaments bettors should also review the results of the Citi Open that occurs in Washington, D.C.
The Western & Southern Open is by far the fastest hard-court surface out of all the preliminary tournaments and it’s also slightly faster than the grounds in New York. Therefore, bettors shouldn’t be too confused if the results from the Cincinnati event aren't similar to the others. The hardest fields to get through will always be in the Rogers Cup and Western & Southern Open events, which will offer more previews of possible matchups between top players at the US Open.
Serve and Return Game
While a world-class serve and an elite return game can benefit you most at Wimbledon, it can also give you an excellent chance at the US Open.
It’s no secret that Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, who are tied with Jimmy Connors for most US Open titles since 1968, are elite servers. Sampras may not have had that good of a return game, but its why having a strong service game is such a huge weapon in New York. Players like Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and even Novak Djokovic who do not possess such a commanding service game can win once or twice on this particular surface, but not be record holders without the big serve. It’s exactly why players with a huge serve and a moderate return game can get at least one win in their career here (e.g. last year’s champion Marin Cilic and Andy Roddick back in 2003).
Now show me a player that can return well in addition to serving and you’ve found your eventual US Open winner. Serena Williams would be the prime example in the women's game. But what if a player only owns a great return game with a moderate serve? Well, that stands as a chance to win too. As I mentioned above, players like Agassi, Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic all have supreme return ability with moderate serving capabilities, but that weapon alone is still powerful enough to win at the US Open. The same goes for women. Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters weren’t the best servers, but they could break an opponent down with their movement and groundstroke ability. This type of play style won’t get you any records, but it certainly doesn’t count you out as an eventual champion either.
Court Surface & Tiebreaks
To be exact, the court surface at the US Open is DecoTurf, which favors those who strike the ball in a flat manner well. The surface is faster than the hard courts at the Australian Open and certainly slower than the grass courts at Wimbledon. In summary, a player can’t expect to be a baseline grinder and do well here. That type of player would do best if he or she can find a way to end points quickly by serving well or finishing the point quickly at net.
Another odd aspect that the US Open brings is how it manages its use of tiebreakers. The US Open is the only Grand Slam event that employs tiebreakers in every set of a match. Unlike other Major events where the final set has to be won by two games, the US Open requires that the final set be decided by a tiebreaker. So how does this alter the outcome of a match? It most certainly favors those with a commanding service game and steady mental control.
Players who hardly offer opponents any break points or when they do they still manage to hold serve are those that do well in these tiebreakers. This type of ability signals two things. One, they don’t get nervous on climactic points and two they’re game is strong enough to never even put themselves in that type of situation. Any way you slice it though this type of player will always be the favorite going into a tiebreaker.
This is where all the pieces of the puzzle come together. The reason we discuss the tournament draw so much is because it sets the precedent of where and what matches we need to begin analyzing.
At this time make sure to review all of the seeded players and where they’re positioned in the draw. Start predicting possible matchups that could occur and which matches seem the juiciest to go after. Also don’t be afraid to look at unseeded players too. Sometimes these players are more than just new qualifiers. Sometimes they could be players that are returning from injury that are well rested or seasoned pros that are looking for one last Hoo-Rah to their careers. Make sure you’re aware of everyone’s head-to-head record against each other on hard courts as well.
Outside of reviewing the US Open tournament draw you need to also review the tournament draws for the hard court tournament events that lead up to the US Open. You might be able to find an overlooked player that performed well against top players in one of these events and they might be meeting up in the first week of the US Open against one of those top players again. If so, you might find yourself a favorable underdog as it usually spells trouble to run into a tricky opponent early in a two-week Major event.
Ah yes, we finally get to the hardest dynamic to overcome at the US Open and that’s the opportunity to play late into the night with artificial light.
For some, night tennis can be advantageous. It does offer cooler temperatures, less humidity, faster cardio recovery time, and no sun glare, but to others it can be an obstacle. The ball won’t bounce as high, which removes a weapon for heavy topspin hitters. Some players start off slow because of the calm conditions, and some have visibility issues.
Don’t worry, though. You might get an idea of how these conditions affect players by watching their early round matches or maybe you were lucky enough to see them compete in a night match at a preliminary event. Be sure to observe players as they proceed through a match and try to understand how they respond to the conditions. Are they flatfooted at the beginning of matches? Do they signal frustration at seeing the ball well during matches? Is their stamina better?
Another element of the night matches that occur in New York is the actual scheduling of the night matches. More often than not players have started well past 10 p.m. EST with the match dwindling past 2 a.m. As a result, players can end up returning to their shelters at 3 a.m. where they’ll go through a “winding down” period before they fall asleep at 4 a.m. or later. Then, the following day they’ll rise at 8-9 a.m. to not break their sleeping pattern and make it to morning practice. It’s an element that can be overcome once, but it’s certainly something to pay attention to should a player be on their second or third consecutive night match.
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