Friday, 28 June 2013

A Step Ahead: US Open

Just before Wimbledon I wrote in my column on Todd's Take about fluctuations in outright Grand Slam markets and the importance of attempting to strike at a player's highest point for maximum value. The time to move in on these markets is rarely on the eve of the tournament once the market has settled, but weeks and even months beforehand.

The Overrule believes we have identified one such instance for the US Open starting in late August. Juan Martin del Potro won the US Open in 2009 - beating Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer back to back - before injury took a year away from his career.

Although del Potro hasn't hit the heights he had before his injury he is still to be considered a major threat on his favorite surface. In fact so much so in my opinion that my book would have del Potro as a third favorite for the US Open behind only Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

It's well documented that Nadal may find some difficulty in readjusting back to hard court surfaces full time - despite his outstanding tournament success at Indian Wells this year - and the Argentine can be a match-up problem for him on the surface. At the start of the year I considered Federer as only a serious contender for Wimbledon of the four Grand Slams and nothing I've seen this season would sway me from that thinking as the US Open approaches.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is priced ahead of del Potro in the betting and there is little justification for that. David Ferrer's consistency means he is always liable to make good on his seeding and reach the latter stages but he doesn't have del Potro's ceiling on a hard court.

Del Potro's biggest price all year for the US Open has been 20/1, which I'd argue is a touch over priced to begin with, never mind the fact that 888 Sport have pushed him out recently to 33/1. Although no each-way terms are offered, which would have been preferable, we can at least set ourselves up with a great win position on del Potro and adjust our positions in the market nearer the time and during the tournament if needs be.

Providing del Potro stays healthy between now and late August there is little reason to suggest that 33/1 will last as the price starts to make its way down rather than up. With the potential for del Potro to make the last eight or better at Wimbledon over the next week, the time to strike on this price is now.

It's highly likely the top four seeds for the US Open will be Djokovic, Murray, Ferrer and Nadal. Meaning there will be a 50/50 chance that del Potro lands in a quarter that we would welcome (Ferrer/Nadal). Even if Federer maintained a top four seeding it wouldn't change the equation for us as we'll happily back del Potro to take him on if such a quarter was drawn.

2* Juan Martin del Potro win US Open at 33/1 (888 Sport)

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