2020 US Open Tennis Picks: Men’s Quarterfinal Day 1

September 7, 2020

After a wild first four rounds of the 2020 US Open, eight players remain in the men’s draw. Already, there is guaranteed to be a first time major champion when all is said and done, as no remaining player has cashed in during a Grand Slam yet. In the first day of quarterfinal action from Flushing Meadows, several players will look to book their place in a major semifinal for the first time, as the finish line approaches in New York.

Borna Coric vs. Alexander Zverev

World number 32 and 27th seeded Borna Coric has been one of the most surprising players in this year’s US Open, as his five-set upset win over Stefanos Tsitsipas was one of the first signs that this year’s tournament would be anything but straightforward for top seeded players. Coric, despite contracting COVID-19 prior to the season’s restart, has certainly shown no ill effects, following up his win over Tsitsipas with a straight set victory over Jordan Thompson of Australia.

Sascha Zverev has yet to see a fifth set in the 2020 US Open, which is encouraging given his history of going the distance in Grand Slam matches in previous years. Zverev has yet to be truly tested in this tournament, and is likely the fresher player heading into this matchup with Coric as a result. In his round of 16 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Zverev was on the court for just an hour and 31 minutes, which is exactly the type of win a player needs to stay fresh for the second week of a major.

Coric, perhaps surprisingly, has had the better of the head to head between these two players, with the Croatian player winning three of the four matches these two have played. One of those matches came at the US Open in 2017, with Coric defeating the German star in four sets. That match saw Coric win two tiebreaks, and the ability of Coric to keep his nerve during big points could be what separates these two players again in this match.

Zverev has been great at limiting the mistakes that his mentality can lead to in this tournament so far. He has also been an opportunist on his opponent’s serve, as the German has converted on 21 of his 34 break points so far in this US Open. Coric could very well get a set in this match, but the more rested player who is returning serve at a higher level should advance in four sets at most in this match.

Pick: Alexander Zverev -1.5 sets over Borna Coric (-137)

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Pablo Carreno-Busta vs. Denis Shapovalov

Given who he was matched up with in the round of 16, nobody expected Pablo Carreno-Busta to be in the quarterfinals of the US Open. But, after Novak Djokovic’s accidental tennis tracheotomy saw him rightly defaulted from Sunday’s match, Carreno-Busta has a chance to get to the semifinal of a major for the first time since the 2017 US Open, a tournament in which he defeated Denis Shapovalov.

Prior to the default in the Djokovic match, Carreno-Busta had been causing Djokovic plenty of the frustration that saw him spray tennis balls in anger multiple times during the match. Carreno-Busta had been holding serve valiantly to that point, as the Spaniard had led 6-5 in the first set prior to the stoppage. Carreno-Busta had saved all four break points he faced in the first set, after saving just 12 of his 18 break points against lesser competition over the previous three rounds.

Denis Shapovalov, meanwhile, has done a nice job of handling a tricky draw to get to the quarterfinals. The Canadian has defeated two American players, including a five-set win over the tough Taylor Fritz, as well as wins over Kwon Soonwoo and David Goffin. Shapovalov has done plenty of growing up since these two last played at the US Open, where Shapovalov lost all three sets in tiebreaks.

Carreno-Busta has won three of the four matches that these two competitors have played on hard courts in their careers. On hard courts, Carreno-Busta has failed to drop a set against Shapovalov in three matches, with their most recent matchup coming in October of 2019. With the way Shapovalov has played in this tournament, another straight set victory for Carreno-Busta is highly unlikely. Instead, a look at the over on the total number of games played seems to be a more likely outcome than backing either player to win the match.

Pick: Over 40.5 games played (-109)

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