The first week of the US Open featured a number of tense, high-quality matches despite the unusual circumstances but now the action really ramps up as we move into the second week at Flushing Meadows.
Rising Star Has the Tools to Take Down Thiem
Dominic Thiem reached the final of the Australian Open at the beginning of the year, forcing Novak Djokovic to pull out all the stops, but the Austrian may be vulnerable against talented young star Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Thiem, who is also a two-time French Open finalist, is a classy operator but Auger-Aliassime arguably possesses more talent and he is putting his best foot forward in New York.
The 20-year-old Canadian has looked in fine touch in the Big Apple, battling to a victory over Thiago Monteiro before seeing off a jaded Andy Murray in the second round.
Auger-Aliassime, who has never met Thiem in a competitive match, then justified odds-on status in hammering capable French player Corentin Moutet to reach this stage.
Little Between Russia’s Rublev and Italian Stallion Berrettini
The pair met in this tournament last season where Berrettini ran out a decisive straight-sets winner and he stretched his head-to-head record over Rublev to 3-1 when they met again in Vienna in October 2019.
On that form, the Italian should win again. However, Rublev struggled with back problems throughout 2019 and the fit-again 22-year-old rates a real danger when he’s in form.
That was the case in the first week, where he barely broke sweat to see off Jeremy Chardy, Gregoire Barrerre and Salvatore Caruso without dropping a set.
Berrettini was similarly impressive, winning all three of his matches in fine style, but Rublev arguably possesses more room for improvement than the Italian and can show it at Flushing Meadows.
Consistent Cornet Can Put an End to Pironkova’s Fairytale Charge
Tsvetana Pironkova provided arguably the story of the first week but the Bulgarian, playing her first tournament since 2017, may find her challenge curtailed by Alize Cornet.
Pironkova, who became a mother during her period away from the sport, has taken down Ludmilla Samsonova, Garbine Muguruza and Donna Vekic and is
20/23 to seal a place in the quarter-finals.
But, in Frenchwoman Cornet, who is
20/21 to advance, she faces an experienced competitor who has improved her sometimes volatile temperament in recent years.
The 30-year-old Nice native was arguably fortunate to run into an injured Madison Keys in round three.
However, she was excellent in beating Lauren Davis and Ysaline Bonaventure in her first two matches and claimed the notable scalp of Sofia Kenin in the WTA Western & Southern Open. Expect her to advance.
*All odds correct at time of writing