U.S. Open Day 3 expert picks, including Tsonga vs. Shapovalov and Zverev vs. Coric

The U.S. Open will begin third-round action on Wednesday, when a wide-open bottom half of the men’s draw once again takes center stage. Ricky Dimon of The Grandstand and Joey Hanf of Cliff Drysdale Tennis preview and predict four of the most intriguing matchups.

(8) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. (Q) Denis Shapovalov

Ricky: Shapovalov’s rise–mainly thanks to a memorable semifinal run in Montreal–came after the U.S. Open entry deadline and he didn’t get a wild card. No matter. The 18-year-old Canadian won three qualifying matches and maintained momentum by hammering Daniil Medvedev in straight sets on Monday. Tsonga had no trouble taking care of Marius Copil, but that marked the Frenchman’s first victory since Wimbledon. A major edge in current form goes to Shapovalov, who is playing the best tennis of his life. Shapovalov in 4:.

Joey: Fantastic shotmaking will be on display Wednesday night on Ashe. Shapovalov is clearly no longer a stranger to the masses, and his effort qualifying and easily winning his first round over Medvedev has nearly impressed me more than his epic run in Montreal. Tsonga should have had a decent summer, but he totally blew a match against Sam Querrey in Montreal and looked oddly tight in the process. I see this one going four, but Tsonga will be able to expose the Canadian’s return of serve–which is possibly his only weakness. Shapovalov will win more fans but lose the match. Tsonga in 4: 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3.

Borna Coric vs. (4) Alexander Zverev

Ricky: This is a great matchup in that it pits two the future stars on tour against each other. But only one is a true star of the present. That, of course, is Zverev. The 20-year-old German has captured two Masters 1000 titles this season (Rome and Montreal), playing his way into a top-four seed at a major. Zverev had some early-tournament jitters as a slam favorite for the first time in his career when he beat Darian King on Monday night (Tuesday morning), but he should raise his level considerably in match two. Zverev in 3: 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.

Joey: I think this is a serious trouble match for Zverev. That late finish in round one is not going to be easy to recover from, because not only was it late, but it was also a long, hard grind with King. Coric clearly has less tools to work with, but he will make Zverev work hard for this one. Both guys definitely favor their backhand, and it will likely come down to who is willing to step around and attack on the forehand side. Zverev’s forehand is better technically, so I think he will get through this. But it’s not going to be easy…nor pretty. Zverev in 4: 7-6(3), 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(5).

(16) Lucas Pouille vs. Jared Donaldson

Ricky: Pouille has been losing left and right to Americans this season, and he has been losing to just about everyone of late. The Frenchman’s victory over Ruben Bemelmans on Monday was his first since the opening round of Wimbledon, a stretch that saw him fall to Donaldson 7-6(5), 7-6(8) in Montreal. The 20-year-old American, on the other hand, is playing far the best tennis of his young career. Donaldson struggled physically at the end of his round-one win over Nikoloz Basilashvili, but he should prevail as long as he is 100 percent. Donaldson in 4: 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Joey: Donaldson has needed almost two years to get used to tour level, but he’s all but there now. Weapons are obviously not the problem and his rally ball is above average. Pouille has had a disappointing year by all measures; he had a big opportunity to step up into the top 10. While Donaldson won the match Montreal, I felt Pouille really let that slip and was in control of points. Donaldson will need to have a good start to win this best-of-five encounter. If not, Pouille will make him hit too many balls. Pouille in 4: 7-6(4), 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

(23) Mischa Zverev vs. Benoit Paire

Ricky: Paire was almost as bad as his fellow Frenchman Pouille in between Wimbledon (where he reached the fourth round) and the U.S. Open. That stretch included a horrific 6-2, 6-1 loss to Mitchell Krueger in Cincinnati. Paire managed to beat lucky loser Lukas Lacko on Monday, but he will need to do a lot more than just beat Lukas Lacko in order to restore any confidence. Zverev has cooled off since a hot start to the year, but his serve-and-volley tactics will likely frustrate Paire to no end. Zverev in 4: 7-5, 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.

Joey: You know those matches that are destined to be five-setters but end up being flops? For me this falls in that category. Paire and the word “reliable” obviously do not go together, but the Frenchman has been playing some good tennis this year. And after a big start to 2017, Zverev’s singles has not been great. If you have not seen the elder Zverev play in person, you might not realize just how awkward his forehand is. Combine that with the disaster that is Paire’s forehand and there will be some hilarious errors in this match. I just don’t see Zverev winning enough free points to get through service games. Paire in 3: 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.

8 Comments on U.S. Open Day 3 expert picks, including Tsonga vs. Shapovalov and Zverev vs. Coric

  1. It’ll take a miracle for Roger to win the event at this point. If Rafa doesn’t win this tourney, it’s a missed chance unless it’s a loss in the semis to a rejuvenated Fed which seems unlikely right now. If Fed escapes Youzhny, I dunno if he can beat Lopez next round. With Berdych and Dimitrov out of the way and Fed looking this shaky it’s Nadal’s tourney to lose unless Cilic or Fed catches fire. Cilic catching fire looks a LOT likelier.

  2. Fed’s more animated now and takes the set 6-4. If I were a Fed fan, though, I won’t have too much confidence going into the fifth. He should win now but he is still vulnerable.

    • It’s like the walking wounded in this match. Youzhny aggravated whatever was bothering him when he fell after going for a shot. Fed doesn’t look 100% to me at all.

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