Monday US Open Predictions: Back Ruusuvuori in Blockbuster With Draper (August 29)

Monday US Open Predictions: Back Ruusuvuori in Blockbuster With Draper (August 29) article feature image

Icon Sportswire/Getty. Pictured: Emill Ruusuvuori.

  • Looking for betting value on day 1 of the US Open?
  • Look no further than Draper vs. Ruusuvuori and Zhang vs. van Rijthoven.
  • Luke Holmberg breaks down the two matches and offers his best bets.

The Final Grand Slam of the year is finally here.

Despite the unfortunate news of some big names – including Novak Djokovic, Gael Monfils, and Reilly Opelka – being unable to play for various reasons, we are still in for consistent high-quality tennis with plenty of intriguing matches already slated for day one.

Let’s dive into some matchups between promising ATP up-and-comers.

Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing US Open matches.

Zhizhen Zhang (-164) vs. Tim van Rijthoven (+136)

11 a.m. ET

Zhizhen Zhang has arrived through qualifying in dominating fashion. Winning all six of the sets he played, he breezed through his opponents.

Zhang is surely looking like the future of Chinese tennis along with his peer Yibing Wu. He has had tremendous success on the Challenger Tour this year, boasting a 40-21 record, but has yet to make an impact at the tour level.

With his second slam main draw appearance on the horizon, he is in dangerous form and will look to not only wreak havoc for his first-round opponent, but anyone who finds themselves on the opposing side of the net.

Tim van Rijthoven quickly burst onto the radar of top players during his title run in 's-Hertogenbosch earlier this year. Following Challenger success, van Rijthoven battled his way through Taylor Fritz, Felix Auger- Aliassime and Daniil Medvedev en route to an astonishing first ATP title.

He proceeded to back it up with a nice Wimbledon showing in which he fell to Djokovic in the round of 16. Post Wimbledon, van Rijthoven has taken a step back.

The Dutchman failed to produce runs at subsequent tournaments with some questionable loses given his recent victories.

Then, at the Indianapolis challenger, we saw him retire after a tight first set against the young American Ben Shelton. With an injury that seemed to be nagging at him for some time, he finally threw in the towel and has yet to be seen in match play since.

Regardless of all the training that can take place, taking time off to heal inevitably leads to a loss of match fitness. Returning to a Grand Slam and staring at a potential five-setter is a tall task.

Van Rijthoven does boast a remarkably powerful game. With a serve that troubled the best returner in the world, and a forehand that hit through the world-class defense of Medvedev with apparent ease, he has the ability to hang with the best.

However, the consistency of showing up with that level is still a doubt in my eyes. With Zhang’s relentless baseline game and depth, I expect him to trouble the returning van Rijthoven by way of patience, consistency and fitness.

I liked this a lot better at the opening (+113) price, but I will still back Zhang at the current value to get a revenge win over van Rijthoven following a loss in Forli earlier this year.

Pick: Zhang -2.5 Games (-106 via FanDuel)

Jack Draper (-125) vs. Emil Ruusuvuori (+104)

5 p.m. ET

Jack Draper has quite possibly become the most popular name of ATP newcomers this year. Holding wins over high-level opponents in Fritz, Diego Schwartzman and Stefanos Tsitsipas, Draper is here to stay.

Owning a cannon lefty serve backed by the ability to fire winners off both wings, Draper is dangerous to every type of player.

Draper's fitness is still one question in his game. Looking back at his match against Alex de Minaur at Wimbledon, he won the first set in a grueling battle that contained remarkable rallies and tremendous shots under pressure.

However, shortly after his level appeared to drop and he looked tired. De Minaur may be one of the most exhausting opponents to play, but going five sets against anyone will be a test of fitness – especially in the high 80-degree weather.

Emil Ruusuvuori will be looking to regain his form here at the US Open.

Although Draper looks like the better player on paper, this matchup could fall in Ruusuvuori's favor. In the midst of a grass season in which Draper was playing top-level tennis, Ruusuvuori dismantled the on-fire Brit. In their meeting at Queen's Club, Ruusuvuori seemed impenetrable on the baseline and ultimately went on to a straight sets victory.

Before last week, Ruusuvuori held a 14-1 record against lefties since the start of 2021. Led by his dangerous backhand and apparent feel for the lefty game, only Nadal has been able to find his way through.

Although Draper has the bigger weapons and is in better form, I trust Ruusuvuori to continue his domination of left-handed opponents and believe that the taming of the Brit we witnessed at Queen's Club was no fluke.

The longer this match goes, the more confident I feel in Ruusuvuori.

Pick: Ruusuvuori ML (+104 via FanDuel)

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