US Open Picks Today | Taylor Fritz vs. Dominic Stricker & Novak Djokovic vs. Borna Gojo (Sunday, Sept. 3)
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Taylor Fritz.
Sunday marks the first day of the men's Round of 16 at the US Open from Flushing, New York.
The two matches I'm highlighting in my latest breakdown are Taylor Fritz vs. Dominic Stricker and Novak Djokovic vs. Borna Gojo.
Dive in below for the best US Open picks, odds and best bets for Sunday's matches.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on viewing US Open matches.
US Open Picks Today
Taylor Fritz (-880) vs. Dominic Stricker (+580)
5 p.m. ET (estimated)
In 2022, Taylor Fritz was considered a serious dark horse contender to make a run and potentially win the US Open. Instead, the American had an embarrassing debacle in the opening round, losing to Brandon Holt in four sets.
This year, Fritz looks like a changed man. He hasn’t dropped a set through the first three rounds and has lost a total of just 13 games.
Now the American will face the Cinderella of this grand slam in 21-year-old qualifier Dominic Stricker. It’s been the best week of the Swiss’ career, as he stunned Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round before ousting Benjamin Bonzi in five sets in the third round.
There are three factors that play heavily into my bet for this match:
- Stricker has been on the court for 10 hours and 29 minutes. That’s a lot for a young player who doesn’t normally have the experience of playing five-setters.
- Fritz’s overall play in majors concerns me. While he’s competed well in this event, this is the furthest he’s been in the US Open. He’s never made it further than the quarterfinals in any major.
- I already touched on Fritz’s dominance in this event, but he hasn’t exactly played a murderer’s row of opponents. Steve Johnson is a Challenger Tour player right now, Juan Pablo Varillas is a clay-court specialist and Jakub Mensik just turned 18 years old. The good news is that Stricker ranks outside the top 100.
So, where do these three points lead to? Well, I don’t exactly trust Fritz in big matches and he hasn’t played the toughest of competition in this event, but I certainly trust him more so in this spot than Stricker. His recent play – especially on serve, where he’s faced just three break points the whole tournament — has inspired some confidence.
Stricker is bound for regression here. While he's performed admirably, remember, he didn’t win a single hard-court ATP main draw level match all season before this event.
I think Fritz wins in straight sets, but since a couple of them could be close, I’m going to avoid the spread.
Pick: Taylor Fritz to Win 3-0 (-105 via FanDuel)
Novak Djokovic (-8000) vs. Borna Gojo (+2200)
7 p.m. ET (estimated)
Novak Djokovic was in a world of trouble in his Round of 32 matchup against fellow Serbian Laslo Djere, but in typical Djokovic fashion, the future Hall of Famer rallied from two sets down to advance. In fact, the final three sets weren’t even close.
Djokovic will now face an opponent whom he's less familiar with in qualifier Borna Gojo; the two have never met previously.
Gojo has been serving like a man on a mission, as he’s faced just three break points and hasn’t dropped a set in his three main-draw matches. Those results included the Croatian shocking Mackenzie McDonald — who’s had a terrific summer in his own right — in straight sets in round two.
Djokovic is a totally different level of competition, though. There will be no free service games for Gojo, especially considering the stats back up Djokovic’s returning brilliance (fourth in Return Rating on tour).
However, I think 8.5 is a lot of games in this particular match. Obviously, Djokovic should win, and I think he’ll do so in three sets. But the first set should be close as the veteran feels out a new opponent and gets used to the serve.
Even if Djokovic then wins the next two sets – say 6-2, 6-3 – we’re still in position for Gojo to cover this large spread.
This is a rare time I’ll be fading Djokovic in a major, but this is more about Gojo’s level of play and the number than anything to do with our potential future 2023 US Open champion.