2018 ATP US Open Quarterly Betting Preview: Zverev Seeks First Slam Semifinal

2018 ATP US Open Quarterly Betting Preview: Zverev Seeks First Slam Semifinal article feature image

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Alexander Zverev at the 2017 US Open

  • Alexander Zverev is the betting favorite (+175) to make the 2018 US Open semifinals — a round he has never reached at a major.
  • In what looks like the easiest quarter, Zverev's main competition is 2014 US Open champ Marin Cilic (+250).
  • If we get that matchup, remember that Zverev has a 5-1 career record (3-1 on hard courts) against Cilic.

Sascha Zverev had a lot of success already in his young career, but he still hasn’t made a single Grand Slam semifinal. Oddsmakers do list Sascha as the favorite to to win a relatively easy quarter, but he will have to potentially contend with former US Open champion Marin Cilic.

Cilic and Zverev aside, I can’t see many others competing for this quarter. Of all the seeded players, I think David Goffin has the next best chance — but the Belgian has not looked particularly strong since his freak eye-injury in Rotterdam earlier this year.

Let’s dive deeper into this quarter to make a better determination on Zverev’s chances of reaching his first major semifinal.

Seed Form Check

(2018 summer hard court record)

#4 Alexander Zverev (7-2) — Started off his summer hard season quickly, defending his title at the Citi Open, but then faltered somewhat in Cincinnati and Toronto. Still, I think those early exits could work as a positive for Zverev, who will enter this tournament fresh and ready to compete.

#7 Marin Cilic (5-2) — Has looked solid on the hard courts since Wimbledon, losing out in the quarterfinals of Toronto (against Rafa Nadal) and the semis of Cincinnati (against Novak Djokovic). Aside from those losses, Cilic has played impressive tennis. The Croat should be confident about his chances in this quarter.

#10 David Goffin (6-3) — Goffin has looked solid, but not spectacular, on the hard courts this summer. After a disappointing loss in the first round of Toronto, the Belgian bounced back in Cincinnati and knocked out big-hitting Kevin Anderson and Juan Martin del Potro. If he can continue his upward trajectory, he could make noise in a relatively weak quarter.

#13 Diego Schwartzman (2-2) — Not much to write home about. He notched impressive wins over Kyle Edmund and Sam Querrey in Toronto, but then lost out in the first round of Cincinnati to Stan Wawrinka (who was not at 100%). Nevertheless, Schwartzman remains a potential threat in this weak quarter.

#21 Kei Nishikori  (3-3) — Generally one of the most solid players on Tour, but has looked off this summer. I don’t have high hopes for the Japanese player, who’s been making far too many unforced errors to apply the type of defensive-counterpunching pressure he’s known for.

#22 Marco Cecchinato (0-3) — After breaking through at the French Open, Cecchinato enters the US Open as a seed. However, don’t expect too much from the Italian — who has an 0-3 record on hard courts this summer. He’s a decent shotmaker and should fancy the slow conditions in Flushing Meadows — but his ceiling is only a few wins.

#29 Adrian Mannarino (2-3) — Has looked, unsurprisingly, uncomfortable away from the grass courts this summer. The seeded Frenchman is not a threat here and is even listed as an underdog in his first match.

#32 Filip Krajinovic (1-3) — After extended time off Tour nursing an injury, the Serb is finally back in the swing of things. However, Krajinovic is still dealing with a fair bit of rust and, as a result, is not a real threat to compete for this quarter.

Key H2H Records

(hard court record)

  • Zverev 5-1 (3-1) vs. Cilic (Quarterfinal)
  • Zverev 2-1 (2-0) vs. Nishikori (4th-Round)
  • Goffin 4-2 (2-1) vs. Cilic (4th-Round)

Zverev has very good splits vs. two opponents he could potentially face in the fourth round and quarterfinals. Encouraging sign for the German.

Moneyline Parlay Potential

  • Gael Monfils (-400) vs. Facundo Bagnis
  • Diego Schwartzman (-525) vs. Federico Delbonis
  • David Goffin (-1429) vs. Federico Gaio

Monfils hasn’t played a hard court match since Indian Wells, but it’s his best surface. He also tends to bring his best stuff to bigger tournaments. And, with regard to Diego and Goffin, I think both guys should be too solid from the back of the court for Delbonis and Gaio, respectively.

Upset Alerts

  • JL Struff (-222) vs. Tim Smyczek
  • Kei Nishikori (-714) vs. Maxi Marterer

Struff has looked awful for the past few months, and as for Kei, I was really disappointed with his performance against Wawrinka in Cincinnati. Marterer is a class prospect with the type of offensive ability that can make Nishikori sweat. At that price, it’s worth a little skin.

Futures Value

Despite his history,  I think the best play is Sascha Zverev at +175.

The young German has an ideal path to the quarterfinal, as he’d be a considerable favorite over each of the seeded players in his half of the quarter (Filip Krajinovic, Kei Nishikori and Diego Schwartzman).

I don’t see many surprises in this part of the draw — and ultimately expect a Cilic-Zverev quarterfinal. If that plays out, I’d expect Zverev to be the slight favorite — so, I think there’s value with Zverev to win the quarter at a pre-tournament price of close to 2-1.

First-Round Best Bets

  • Mackie McDonald (+145) vs. Robin Haase
  • Frances Tiafoe (-172) vs. Adrian Mannarino
  • Filip Krajinovic (-145) vs. Matthew Ebden
  • Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (+105) vs. Jaume Munar


*All odds referenced from 5dimes overnight on Saturday, Aug. 25. Please check back for added plays as the tourney approaches.

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