IT was a decent start to the US Open for us on Monday, with a comfortable win on the overs in the Paulo Lorenzi versus Kyle Edmund match and a gusty victory for Roberto Carballes Baena over Mitchell Krueger.
We didn’t get any joy with Evgeny Donskoy, who saw Daniil Medvedev carry on where he left off in Winston-Salem and surprisingly wasn’t bothered much by the brutal conditions, although that one was played later in the day.
We saw the expected tough conditions on Monday, with a few retirements and players being sick on the court, due to the heat and humidity (and poor air quality) in New York and if anything it may get worse on Tuesday.
The forecast says to expect temperatures of between 32C and 34C in the shade during the day session, combined with 50-60% humidity, and I wouldn’t fancy playing five sets in those conditions, that’s for sure.
Filip Krajinovic vs Matthew Ebden
Ebden loves playing in the heat and I have to give him a strong chance of outlasting Krajinovic here, with the Serb only recently back from yet another injury and also holding a weak record in Grand Slams.
Krajinovic is just 3-11 win/loss in all Grand Slam matches (including qualies) and in the main draw the Serb is 1-8, with the one success coming over Alejandro Gonzalez here in New York in 2015.
He’s never gone to a fifth set at a major or in Davis Cup, with four sets being the most he’s ever played, so his fitness over long matches is certainly questionable and when you factor in all his injuries over the years I couldn’t trust him as favourite here.
Krajinovic didn’t fare too well in Winston-Salem last week when he had to play twice in one day, losing to Ryan Harrison after getting an easy win over a Taylor Fritz who didn’t even break sweat in a dismal showing.
He’s certainly had his fair share of injuries over the years, missing a ton of tennis due to various ailments, the latest one being a foot injury that saw him miss more than three months of this season.
Having played only five matches since March the fitness and sharpness doesn’t seem to be back yet and Ebden has a great chance here if he can take the match long and test the stamina of Krajinovic.
Ruben Bemelmans vs Jaume Munar
Bemelmans loves a major, with most of his best performances coming in Grand Slams, and the Belgian will relish this lucky loser opportunity against the inexperienced Munar.
Bemelmans gets back in due to the late withdrawal of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and I’m happy to take a chance on him mainly due to way he tends to raise his game in majors.
He’s beaten Lucas Pouille, Jack Sock, Gilles Muller, Steve Johnson, Tommy Haas, and Daniil Medvedev in majors in the last three years and he gave himself every chance of beating John Isner at Wimbledon this year, too, losing 7-5 in the fifth (held two match points).
A loss as favourite against Facundo Bagnis in qualies was disappointing, but he’s one of those players for whom current form means little when there’s the big stage of a major to play on.
I remember Bemelmans outlasting Jack Sock (admittedly, not that hard) in the heat here in New York a few years ago and he said after that match: “I still felt very good at the end of the third set. I can withstand the heat.”
Munar is a bit of an unknown quantity on hard courts, with only four career matches on this surface at main level (2-2 win/loss) and just three Grand Slam main draw matches under his belt.
I wouldn’t assume that Munar being Spanish makes him immune to the heat, as we saw Carballes Baena suffering badly in it yesterday, and he’s only 1-4 so far in his career against lefties.
At odds-against I’ll take a chance on Bemelmans here.