U.S. Open R2 previews and picks: Gulbis vs. Thiem, Anderson vs. Janowicz

Gulbis 1It will be a showdown between best friends on tour when Ernests Gulbis and Dominic Thiem meet at the U.S. Open on Friday. Kevin Anderson and Jerzy Janowicz are also in second-round action.

Dominic Thiem vs. (11) Ernests Gulbis

Thiem and Gulbis will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when the two frequent hitting partners collide in the last 64 of the U.S. Open on Friday afternoon. Their only previous encounter came two years ago in Winston-Salem qualifying, with Gulbis rolling 6-4, 6-3. The Latvian said earlier this week that he played horribly in that match but that Thiem could not capitalize simply because it was Gulbis–a good friend and fellow protege of coach Gunter Bresnik–on the other side of the net.

If the two comrades can overcome that mental block, this one should be of much higher quality. Gulbis, a French Open semifinalist, is in the midst of by far his most consistent season on tour. The world No. 12 is 36-15 for the year following a blowout of Kenny De Schepper on Wednesday. Thiem has not been as good on hard courts (or grass) as he has been on clay in 2014, but the 20-year-old Austrian may have picked up some momentum by thrashing Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. This is likely a tougher predicament for Thiem, five years Gulbis’ junior. Current form and surface also favor the 11th seed, so he should be able to get the job done.

Pick: Gulbis in 4

Jerzy Janowicz vs. (18) Kevin Anderson

It will be a huge-serving, big-hitting affair on Friday when Janowicz and Anderson collide for the second time in their careers on Friday. A 2013 clay-court clash in Monte-Carlo went Anderson’s way via a 7-5, 7-6(9) decision. The 6’8” South African registers at a solid 20th in the world, but his U.S. Open Series has been lackluster. He reached the quarterfinals in Washington, D.C. and Toronto only to bow out against Donald Young at the former and endure an epic collapse versus Grigor Dimitrov at the latter.

Anderson opened on Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-7(3), 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(1) survival of Pablo Cuevas, while Janowicz held off Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5.. The 43rd-ranked Pole, a semifinalist at the All-England Club in 2013, is suddenly showing decent form again. He upset Dimitrov in Cincinnati and finished runner-up in Winston-Salem prior to his arrival in New York. Janowicz will have to serve well and keep double-faults to a minimum, but he finally has the confidence to do just that against favored opponents.

Pick: Janowicz in 5

14 Comments on U.S. Open R2 previews and picks: Gulbis vs. Thiem, Anderson vs. Janowicz

  1. Jerzy in 5
    I feared Jerzy’s confidence would collapse after the heartbreak of losing to Rosol in W-S. so was surprised at how well he played against Lakovic and that he managed to keep a tight grip on his emotions. His serve was as usual erratic – can’t think of another player with a first serve which can dip below 50% yet still end up winning matches! I’m guessing the crowd will get behind Jerzy which will give him a big boost.

    Gulbis in 4

  2. RT @juanjosetennis: “Jerzy Janowicz is averaging 1 double fault per service game so far. He really wants to clinch the Year-End Double-Fault champ thing.”

    RT @juanjosetennis: “Jerzy Janowicz Chaos Level: Above average. He’s lost a 2 break lead to return of serve master Kevin Anderson.”

  3. Ricky, I thought you had Gulbis going out in the 1st round and now you have him getting to the 3rd?


  4. hawkeye63,

    You should see the gif you inserted into The Grandstand (Fed page) when you keep these 2 pages open (remove the space after h):
    h ttp://www.changeovertennis.com/gif-roger-federer-hits-mad-dog-matosevic-butt-tweener/
    h ttp://www.changeovertennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/FedTweenerMadDogwatermarked.gif

    I am afraid, this task is too hard for (W).

  5. RT @juanjosetennis: “Jerzy Janowicz has had his serve broken 4 times in two sets by noted Return of Serve Overlord Kevin Anderson.”

  6. I saw the Gulbis/Thiem match. At least as much as they showed us on ESPN. The commies were talking about Ernie’s lack of fitness being an issue. I remember thinking that if Thiem could win the fourth set and force a deciding fifth set, then he could get the win.

    I did think that Gulbis was cramping. This is what happens to him in slams, when it’s best three out of five set matches.

  7. I only got to see the first set of JJ/Anderson. Jerzy is wired so tight out there on the court that it isn’t even funny. I am not sorry to see him go.

Comments are closed.

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