US Open Betting Odds and Picks: Daniil Medvedev vs. Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev vs. Pablo Carreno-Busta (Friday, Sept. 11)
Al Bello, Getty Images. Pictured: Daniil Medvedev
- The 2020 US Open Semifinals take place on Friday, Sept. 11 starting at 4 p.m. ET.
- Alexander Zverev is a favorite over Pablo Carreno-Busta in the first match (4 p.m. ET), but Sean Zerillo predicts that Zverev vs. Carreno-Busta could be a grind.
- Daniil Medvedev vs. Dominic Thiem is a virtual pick 'em according to the odds, but Gill Gross thinks the Russian's game is better suited for this matchup.
Alexander Zverev vs. Pablo Carreno-Busta
By: Sean Zerillo
|Carreno-Busta Odds||+195 [Bet Now]|
|Zverev Odds||-235 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||39.5 Games [Bet Now]|
|Start Time||4 p.m. ET|
Pablo Carreno Busta (“PCB”) and Alexander Zverev only have one prior career meeting (2018, Miami), a match which Zverev won 7-6, 6-2 as a -250 favorite.
The German, who is competing in his second consecutive Slam semi-final after a strong showing in Australia, owns better hard court metrics than the Spaniard, a 2017 US Open semifinalist.
But Zverev has continued to struggle on his second serve in Queens (44.6% points won, 41 double faults) which is the biggest issue with his game. Zverev’s first serve is dominant – and he has thrived on the quick courts in Flushing-Meadows park – but he is also his own worst enemy at times.
PCB/Zverev Last 52 Weeks
The quality of his performance will dictate the outcome of the match. Zverev has hit four times the number of aces and double faults, and nearly double the number of winners as PCB; who has been able to grind his way through the US Open draw by being more consistent than his opposition.
He outlasted a volatile Denis Shapovalov (76 unforced errors) in the quarterfinals, despite losing the fourth set 6-0 while dealing with a preexisting back issue.
Zverev’s level will likely drop for certain stretches of the match, which presents a big problem against such a mentally sound opponent. PCB does well to keep the ball in play when his opponents are struggling, and unless Zverev is completely lights out, I would expect the Spaniard to grab at least one set.
PCB/Zverev US Open Stats
PCB +2.5 sets (-260) is not an appealing price, however. And I’m not interested in backing either man on the game spread – with either capable of losing a set 6-1 or 6-2.
PCB failed to cover his underdog game spread (+4.5) while upsetting Shapovalov, thanks to that fourth set bagel; it was a memorable bad beat.
I do like the over on the total games in this match, at 39 and up to 39.5 (not 40), as I expect at least one set to reach a tiebreak, with either man taking at least one set; and I would play the wager to win a half unit.
The Bet: Over 39.5 Games
Dominic Thiem vs. Daniil Medvedev
By: Gill Gross
|Thiem Odds||+102 [Bet Now]|
|Medvedev Odds||-125 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||41.5 Games [Bet Now]|
|Start Time||Approximately 7:30 p.m. ET|
Novak Djokovic’s shocking exit from the US Open placed all the pressure squarely on the shoulders of Dominic Thiem. The 27-year old has made three major finals, only to be outclassed by Rafael Nadal on Parisian clay twice and Novak Djokovic on Australian hardcourt. He knows this tournament presents a golden opportunity for his maiden slam.
Impressively, he’s handled the favorite role without a hitch so far, overpowering Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex De Minaur in straight sets en route to the final four.
Daniil Medvedev is three years younger than Thiem, and was also denied his first chance in a major final by Big Three titan Rafael Nadal at last year’s US Open. Medvedev has cruised to victory as convincingly as Thiem in his last two matches, taking out Francis Tiafoe and Andrey Rublev in three sets each.
This matchup is almost the de facto final. The winner will be the favorite to hoist the trophy on Sunday.
Medvedev/Thiem Last 52 Weeks
How Thiem Wins
The Austrian has the most brutal attacking baseline game in all of men’s tennis. When he has his timing and rhythm, he can be unplayable from both wings. His potency off the ground is unmatched by Medvedev, so Thiem’s A-game should be enough to break the Russian’s defenses.
Thiem’s attacking forehand is decidedly more reliable than Medvedev’s. Backhand-to-backhand is where most would give the edge to Medvedev, but Thiem can use his backhand slice to disrupt the pattern and open the court on the next ball.
Thiem has worked hard on his slice to improve his chances on faster courts. A naked slice backhand is not enough to trouble Medvedev, but Theim can use bazooka forehands behind the slice backhand, which is one of the few ways to bother Daniil’s defense.
Thiem has shown improved volleying skills, which he will need to use in order to finish points against Medvedev’s court coverage. Theim can also find a lot of success pulling Medvedev off the court with his wide angle serves and hitting into the open court, due to Medvedev’s deep court position.
For Medvedev to win, he’ll need Thiem to miss. The Austrian simply brings too much firepower to handle if mistake-free.
Medvedev/Thiem US Open Stats
How Medvedev Wins
Medvedev can toggle between a few different playstyles. Against an aggressive player like Thiem, he’s likely to wall up on the baseline and play defensively, waiting for chances to counter-attack.
Medvedev loves redirecting pace, so he will have no fear against Theim’s big groundies. Medvedev’s movement, combined with his defensive court positioning and elite pace absorption make him incredibly difficult to hit through.
Thiem could overplay on groundstrokes and make errors. Medvedev will be happy to sit back and wait for that to happen. When the Russian plays this style, unforced errors are few and far between.
If Theim is timing his shots perfectly, Medvedev can pivot to a more offensive style. He’s happy to take more balls down the line and move closer to the baseline to aid his attack. This will come with errors for Medvedev, but his ability to adapt is a credit to his mental game.
I’m also bullish on Medvedev’s ability to protect his second serve better than Thiem. The Austrian hits a heavy kick serve that bounces high off the court, but the 6-foot-6 Medvedev, who prefers a deep return position, will be completely unfazed. I expect plenty of neutral points off Thiem’s second.
You can also expect Medvedev to win more cheap points off his first serve than his semifinal opponent.
I’ve seen Dominic Thiem do almost everything at an elite level a tennis court. When he’s at the top of his game, nobody can touch him. The key word is when.
If Thiem is placed under extreme pressure, either mentally or physically, he tends to look for a way out of rallies. Medvedev, on the other hand, has shown he is willing to suffer in the name of mistake-free tennis.
If Thiem is going to win, he’ll need to choose his moments to dig his heels in, play to bigger margins and outlast Medvedev. Frankly, I’ve never seen Thiem win that way.
When the biggest moments come, I’m confident that the errors will not come off Medvdev’s strings. It will be Thiem searching for the finish, which takes perfection against Medvedev.
For the Austrian to be successful, he’ll need to play his absolute best tennis in the biggest match of his life. I can’t see him managing his nerves well enough to do so.
The Bet: Daniil Medvedev -125