Damien Kayat previews five selected round of 64 matches from the 2021 men's US Open.
2021 ATP Tour
Grand Slam Tennis
US Open Men’s Tennis
USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Centre
Selected Round of 64 Matches- 2nd September
Kevin Anderson 2/1 | Diego Schwartzman 38/100
Schwartzman’s opening victory over Ricardas Berankis was perhaps one of his most straightforward Grand Slam victories outside of clay. The clay-court specialist chased down everything that Berankis threw down at him. While this hasn’t been an elite season for Schwartzman, he does possess two US Open quarterfinals to his name. Kevin Anderson needed five sets to overcome Jiri Vesely in a surprisingly competitive opening round tie. Knowing his physical issues of late, this could be the ideal time for the diminutive Argentine to take on the South African.
Verdict: Schwartzman in four or five. This is a tough one. All things being equal, former US Open finalist Anderson should brush aside the Argentine on this surface (he did beat Schwartzman in their one and only match on hardcourts). But I think that Schwartzman could be able to physically outlast the South African this week.
Kei Nishikori 74/100 | Mackenzie McDonald 21/20
This one could go the distance. Both of these players are real fighters. Obviously, Nishikori will be the more fancied of the two. The 2014 US Open finalist has far more of a pedigree (especially at this elite level). That being said, it hasn’t been the same for Nishikori since coming back from his multiple injury concerns (though he did reach the semi-finals in Washington). Speaking of Washington, Mackenzie McDonald went one better after beating Nishikori in the Washington semi-finals. He then lost in an epic three-set final against Jannik Sinner. The indefatigable McDonald just soundly dispensed of David Goffin in impressive fashion. I smell a potential upset on the cards.
Verdict: McDonald to win. I think there is a real chance for an upset victory here. Nishikori may be starting to feel the wear and tear of a long comeback season.
Maxime Cressey | Nikoloz Basilashvili (betting tba)
Few would have anticipated that Maxime Cressey would have been the American playing in this match. Seb Korda unfortunately had to withdraw due to injury against Nikoloz Basiilashvili. Georgian Basilashvili is one of those enigmatic players who you can’t really count on. He has won two titles already this season but can also lose five on the bounce. He will be thrilled that Maxime Cressey managed his magnificent upset win against the battle-hardened Pablo Carreno Busta. Cressey rode the wave of crowd support, firing an incredible 44 aces against the two-time US Open semi-finalist. Cressey is a complete anachronism, championing a serve-and-volley approach in this age of baseline pugilism. It will be interesting to see him charging against arch-baseliner Basilashvili (I think Basilashvili would get a nosebleed if he came to the net).
Verdict: Basilashvili to win in four. I think it’s easy to get carried away by Cressey’s victory over Carreno Busta. Of course, his style of play will flummox most players on tour. I just think that it will be hard for the relative novice- at this level- to keep that momentum in consecutive games.
Jack Sock | Alexander Bublik (betting tba)
If you’re looking for an American underdog, I think that Jack Sock could be a surprise package this year. The 2017 Paris Masters Champion has endured troubles with injuries and form over the past few years. But there have been signs of improvement this year. He reached his first tour-level quarterfinal since 2018 at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. He also pushed Nadal to three sets in a gruelling Washington tie. Alex Bublik has been in pretty dire form since reaching the semi-finals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. Yes, he has two ATP 250 Finals to his name this year. But I have the feeling that Sock will relish this occasion.
Verdict: Sock to win in four. I just really feel that Sock will pull through this match. Bublik has enough in his baseline game to nick a set. He may even push it to five. But in the end, I think that the American crowd will help Sock through this match.
Aslan Karatsev | Jordan Thompson (betting tba)
It’s quite crazy to contrast the first half of Karatsev’s season with the second. He was the hot new property in the opening salvos of the season, reaching the semi-final of the Aussie Open prior to that title win in Dubai. He then lost to the superb Berrettini in the Serbian Open final. But he hasn’t reached a quarterfinal in eight events since then. 27-year-old Aussie Jordan Thompson has enjoyed some solid results of late, reaching the semi-finals in Newport prior to back-to-back quarterfinals in Los Cabos and Atlanta.
Verdict: Karatsev to win in straight sets. I just think that the Russian will completely outmuscle the Aussie this week.