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US Open: Thursday Tips Ahead Of Semi-Finals


US Open: Thursday Tips Ahead Of Semi-Finals

Live updates throughout the tournament

And then there were four. We are now at the semi-finals stage and what a tournament it has been. On Wednesday, Roger Federer suffered a shock defeat to Juan Martin Del Potro - a defeat that puts Rafael Nadal in the driving seat for a 16th Grand Slam title. Standing in his way is the Argentine himself and Nadal will be wary of another impressive performance here.

Meanwhile, Kevin Anderson will take on Pablo Carreno Busta in the first semi-final clash as both men look to win a maiden US Open crown.

Nadal is now as short as 11/20 in 888Sport's betting markets and that is hardly surprising. He is the standout candidate in the men's draw and punters will be keen to back Nadal prior to his clash with Del Potro.

Should he advance to the final, he will be the red hot favourite for victory.

Over in the women's event, it is still tough to call. Madison Keys is the new favourite at 19/10 but her lack of experience could be an issue.

They don't get much more experienced than Venus Williams and the American will be difficult to beat at her home event - don't write her off just yet.

However, fellow semi-finalists Coco Vandeweghe and Sloane Stephens are both formidable opponents and could surprise us all.

Both contests are difficult to call and it is sure to be an exciting couple of days for neutral tennis fans across the globe...

KEVIN ANDERSON vs PABLO CARRENO BUSTA

The South African star needed four sets to get past the well-fancied Sam Querrey in the previous round and another titanic battle looks likely here.

At the time of writing, the 8/13 available for each player to win at least one set is well priced considering their respective records - Anderson will be confident of advancing to the US Open final but nothing is a given in this sport.

Carreno Busta is a fighter and he won't give up easily; that's for sure. Spanish tennis is back on the rise and he will be hoping to set up a mouthwatering showpiece against compatriot Nadal; both men will be quietly confident of victory here.

This is Carreno Busta's most difficult challenge yet. He defeated young Canadian talent Denis Shapovalov but Anderson is on another level. If nothing else, an intriguing contest awaits...

TIP: Over 3.5 sets @ 8/13

RAFAEL NADAL vs JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO

Nadal is on fire right now. The Spaniard has won nine consecutive sets whilst giving up just 20 games during that incredible run. If he maintains his current form, this one could be over quickly and Del Potro will need to be at his brilliant best to slow Nadal down.

Fortunately for the Argentine, he is full of confidence at the moment and his latest triumph over Federer should spur him on ahead of this contest. Nadal may be a 15-time Grand Slam champion but that won't mean much to Del Potro on court.

On his day, Del Potro has shown that he is capable of slugging it out with the best players in the world; just as he did against Federer last time out. If all of the pieces fall for him, he could produce another major shock here - it would be foolish to rule him out completely.

Expect the underdog to give a decent account of himself but Nadal could take this one and it could turn out to be quite straightforward in the end...

TIP: Nadal -4.5 games on the handicap @ 4/5

VENUS WILLIAMS vs SLOANE STEPHENS

For Williams, this is about proving a point on the big stage once again. The world number nine has been outstanding for the most part of 2017, reaching two Grand Slam finals - although she was well beaten in both of those encounters.

Here, she should be strong enough to emerge victorious. Williams has won this competition twice but hasn't featured in the semi-finals since 2010. Sloane Stephens is on the rise but Williams can use all of her experience to get through this encounter.

Should Stephens perform well, she might have too much raw speed and firepower for her more experienced opponent. At just 24 years old, she is well on her way to a successful career and a first Grand Slam title could be on the cards.

If Williams stays cool and composed, she should win this. Pressure may get to Stephens if she goes behind early on and I'm fully expecting a Venus Williams victory.

TIP: Williams to win @ 3/5

COCO VANDEWEGHE vs MADISON KEYS

An intriguing affair on paper, this could turn out to be the most exciting of the four semi-finals. Vandeweghe, fresh from her straight sets triumph over world number one Karolina Pliskova, is arguably much more experienced at this level - although neither player has too much knowledge of major events.

The 2008 Junior US Open champion will be looking to make a fast start to combat her rival's superior stamina - this could be a real test of fatigue if, as expected, it goes the distance. Keys will be well up for the challenge though...

Madison Keys: remember the name. At just 22 years old, the American burst onto the scene a few years back but is now in enchartered territory. She has never reached the semi-final of the US Open and nerves could play a big part in the outcome of this contest.

For me, both players know the enormity of the task ahead and there is plenty at stake. Keys and Vandeweghe are both capable of winning this match and over 2.5 sets at 5/4 looks the pick in the betting markets.

TIP: Over 2.5 sets @ 5/4

 

 

 

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Alex McMahon
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