In the return to tennis after a long break there are bound to be upsets galore in this years ‘Cincinnati’ Masters (held in New York – Flushing Meadows). Serving up Clutch has already posted an array of first round selections which can be viewed as ‘value’ picks, but due to the turbulent nature expected of a return to competitive action, there are likely to be a number of good value outright selections. Below are some of the top tips we recommend:
Daniil Medvedev (Rus) E/W at 8/1
The Russian Medvedev had a very strong breakthrough year into the elite tier of men’s tennis in 2019, and nothing sums this up more than his string of 6 back to back hard-court finals and 2 masters 1000 titles. This fantastic run was rounded off by a US Open final where he fell in 5 sets to the veteran Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
With the Cincinnati masters this year being played on the slower courts at Flushing Meadows, this obviously lends a helping hand to the slower game-style of Daniil Medvedev. As a player, the Russian chooses to construct his points very slowly and methodically from the back of the court and only looks for the killer strike once there is enough space for it to be a high percentage play; a feature which makes him well suited to a slower hard court.
Obviously it is tough to look past Novak Djokovic for the title this week, but given the fantastic run Medvedev had on these courts last year and the nature of the layoff from competitive sport there is always a chance for an upset. Unfortunately for Medvedev, he falls into the Serbians half of the draw, but nonetheless this should remain a value selection.
Dominic Thiem (Aut) E/W at 7/1
Dominic Thiem has been knocking on the door of the big 3’s tennis monopoly for some time now, and appears to finally be making the necessary leap to bridge the gap between himself and them across all surfaces now; not just on the clay.
Highlighted by an Australian Open final and an ATP world tour finals final, it appears that Dominic Thiem has well and truly earned his spot as world number 3, and seed 2 for this event behind Novak Djokovic. Because of this seeding it puts him on the opposite side of the draw to the Serbian; giving him a fantastic chance to at least make the final and make value of his each-way 7/1 selection (paid out at 3.5/1 with SkyBet should he reach the final).
Game-style wise, the switch to the slower hard-courts of Flushing Meadows appears to be the perfect move for the Austrian. Favoring usually the dirt courts on which he grew up, his large take-backs and huge follow through especially on his backhand side work more effectively on a slower court as he has that extra second or two to prepare prior to striking the ball. It also favors Thiem, as he is one of the finest players on tour at being able to generate his own pace; meaning he is able to strike winners on a slower court whereas others may struggle.
It also cannot be forgotten just how athletic and quick Dominic Thiem has been, and also just how impressive he looked in his exhibition triumphs in the off-season (Berlin Aces most notably). Because of the above, and being able to avoid the heavy favourite Djokovic until the final, Thiem can be considered a value each-way outright selection.
Alexander Zverev (Ger) E/W at 16/1
Alexander Zverev was one of the hottest prospects of the game as a junior, and despite having great success on the ATP tour, reaching number 3 as his highest ranking, many still consider him to be under performing.
Despite this however, the 6″6′ German possesses a good game to dominate an outdoor hard court, and with this already holds a masters 1000 title on this surface (Montreal 2017). With his impressive movement for his height and incredible consistency from the baseline especially with his backhands, Zverev becomes much more than your typical ‘tall tennis player’.
Yes, Zverev does possess the ease of power on his serve than many players work so hard to achieve, but equally his serve can be his downfall; being well known for high numbers of double faults and lower first serve percentages.
In light of the above, Zverev probably wouldn’t be your first choice for who will get their name on the trophy – but being on the opposite side to Djokovic in the draw with the immense talent that the young German possesses gives great value to the 16/1 each way selection.