After finally seeing a few upsets over the weekend, there are a number of surprising names in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. We will have four different Grand Slam winners for the second consecutive year, as Simona Halep (French Open), Angelique Kerber (Wimbledon) and Caroline Wozniacki (Australian Open) have already been eliminated.
The bottom half of the draw in particular has really opened up, as there are zero top-10 seeds left — which could open the door for a newcomer to the scene. Madison Keys and Maria Sharapova are still around, though, and they will try to draw on their past success at Queens.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the four women’s matches on tap today, including two plays that stick out.
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Madison Keys (-235) vs. Dominika Cibulkova (+195)
Time: 12 p.m. ET
H2H: Keys leads 4-0 (3-0 on hard courts)
Cibulkova staged a massive upset of Kerber on Saturday afternoon, which opened up the quarter immensely — especially for Keys. Instead of facing a player in Kerber who has owned her, Keys gets an opponent she has dominated (although their last meeting came in 2016).
Despite coming into the U.S. Open with zero form, Cibulkova has won three tense three-set matches to advance to the round of 16. Despite being only 5-foot-2, she’s a powerful player who grinds opponents away with deep forehands. She tries to get opponents uncomfortable and will fight on every point.
Keys did have her thigh taped against Aleksandra Krunic, although her movement didn’t seem off. It’s still something to at least note.
I ultimately like Keys to advance, which would be good news for our future. Despite being aggressive and intense, Cibulkova is a straightforward opponent. I’m more worried for Keys against opponents who have a lot of variety.
Keys could be a nice moneyline parlay piece with, perhaps, Florida State.
Aryna Sabalenka (-145) vs. Naomi Osaka (+125)
Time: 1 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting
This is the marquee match of the day, featuring two of the best young talents in the game, both future stars who have big power games. Osaka has had an easy road to this point, while Sabalenka comes off a dominant win over No. 5 seed Petra Kvitova.
Osaka won the Premier WTA event at Indian Wells this spring, but has largely been quiet since, going 1-3 during the summer hard-court swing leading up to the U.S. Open. Meanwhile, Sabalenka has stormed through the summer and comes into this matchup in peak form.
Watching Sabalenka hit a top-10 player off the court was mesmerizing.
Unlike many other similar players, Sabalenka has the ability to harness her power. She knows when to unleash a flat ball down the line or when to take some pace off by adding some air to it.
Osaka possesses a similar game, but hits much flatter with regularity.
Given Sabalenka’s sky-high form and through-the-roof confidence, I don’t see any reason why her run stops now. When she walks on the court, she is exuding so much conviction and moxie.
Lesia Tsurenko (-195) vs. Marketa Vondrousova (+165)
Time: 2 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting
Two unlikely players meet in the only match on Grandstand court today. The winner of this match will make her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Tsurenko is the deserved favorite, and I have her priced at -190. She possesses a wide arsenal of shots that should frustrate the teenager.
If Vondrousova is on top of her game, her forehand could carry her to a victory, but I think Tsurenko’s experience will ultimately be the difference.
Maria Sharapova (-230) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro (+190)
Time: 7 p.m. ET
H2H: Sharapova leads 4-1 (3-1 on hard courts)
After a bizarre first-round win, Sharapova has righted the ship. The Russian played some of her best tennis of the year in the win over Jelena Ostapenko on Saturday. However, it’s still difficult to figure out what Sharapova we will see on any given night.
Speaking of night, this will mark Sharapova’s fourth consecutive night match at this tourney. Over the course of her illustrious career, she is 23-0 in U.S. Open night matches compared to only 15-10 during the day.
Suarez Navarro has been ultra-consistent this summer and has won three competitive, tight three-set affairs to get to the round of 16. In Saturday’s upset of Caroline Garcia, Suarez Navarro was firing her one-handed backhand late in the match for winners.
Unlike Ostapenko, Suarez Navarro will extend points and move Sharapova around the court. That could spell trouble for the 2006 U.S. Open champion, whose footwork did not look great against Patty Schnyder or Sorana Cirstea in the first two rounds.
I have Sharapova priced as a -190 favorite, so I do find value in Suarez Navarro. The Spaniard should be able to get Sharapova into many uncomfortable positions throughout the match.
Monday Best Bets
Suarez Navarro +190