Today sees the start of the third round of action at Flushing Meadows as we move towards the end of the first week of this fortnight long final Grand Slam of 2015. This evening sees two of the biggest stars in tennis action take to the hard courts in Queens as home favourite Serena Williams looks to move towards a fourth successive US Open title and Spaniard Rafael Nadal looks to add to his 2010 and 2013 titles from New York.
Will both of these big named players secure victory today and move into the fourth round? We preview both matches with online sportsbook Bet365.com.
Serena Williams v Bethanie Mattek-Sands: 1.04 – 13.00
The first of the two clashes we’re looking at from round three sees the third ever meeting of the world numbers one and 101 as Serena looks to make it 3-0 on their own personal scorecard after straight sets wins in Cincinnati in 2006 and Wimbledon two years later. With her fellow countrywoman in Mattek-Sands having failed to progress further than the third round all year and Serena having won 50 of 52 WTA matches, winning five titles that include all three Grand Slam events played so far, the world number one and top seed will believe that she is a shoo-in for a place in the last 16 stage.
The Bet365.com odds certainly reflect this as the favourite to progress held a 6-0, 2-0 lead in her opener before Vitalia Diatchenko retired hurt and then she eased past Kiki Bertens 7-6, 6-3 to book her place against her fellow American. Mattek-Sands may have a poor history against Williams, but 6-4, 6-3 and 6-2, 6-1 wins against Kateryna Kozlova and Coco Vandeweghe she her bring in plenty of confidence to this match.
However, the outsider has only defeated players ranked 209th and 97th to reach this point of the tournament and we agree with Bet365 as we see this being a comfortable victory for the reigning champion. Our money is on the world number one rediscovering her form and seeing off Mattek-Sands quickly, so our money is on 17 or fewer games in this match at odds of 1.80.
Fabio Fognini v Rafael Nadal: 3.75 – 1.28
The players ranked 32nd and eighth in the ATP rankings meet for the eighth time in their careers in the final match from day five of the US Open with Nadal looking to claim a sixth win against the Italian. Although the Spaniard is well ahead of his Italian opponent in their previous meetings, things have not gone well for the former world number one of late as he has slid down the rankings and he was beaten in the second round at Wimbledon by the world 102 Dustin Brown.
These players have met on three occasions this year and it is Fognini who leads the way having claimed edged matches in Rio and Barcelona before Nadal got his first win since Miami last year when he won 7-5, 7-5 at the Hamburg event on clay following Wimbledon. He has since suffered a quarter final loss at the Rogers Cup to Kei Nishikori and fell at the second round in Cincinnati, but can he turn his season around in this match?
Nadal needed four sets to pass world number 33 Borna Coric and then was pushed to need seven games in the first and third sets against 74th in the world Diego Schwartzman, while the 32nd seed also needed four sets in the opening round as he saw off world number 47 Steve Johnson before breezing past Pablo Cuevas to book a fourth match of the year against Nadal.
The Fognini v Nadal match odds in the Bet365 Sportsbook suggest that it’ll be the Spaniard that makes his way through to the fourth round, but we’re not so confident on this one and we’re backing Fognini +5.5 games @ 1.83 with Bet365.com.