By Ros Satar, plus Special Guests

  • It’s that time again as Britwatch and a few selected guests have a go and seeing into the future for the Britwatch Prediction Challenge Cup, US Open edition
  • Special Guests: Abigail Johnson, Anne-Marie Batson, George Bellshaw, Chris Oddo
  • Who will win the ultimate Britwatch Prediction bragging rights
NEW YORK, USA – It’s the last Britwatch Prediction Challenge Cup of the year, so who will emerge triumphant?

 

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ATP WTA
Champion Dark Horse Shocker Champion Dark Horse Shocker Brits
Ros

(11)

Djokovic Tsitsipas

Dimitrov

(4) 

Kerber

Sabalenka

Wozniacki (5) ✅ Edmund R4

Norrie R2 (1) 

Murray R3

Konta R1

(1) ✅

Watson R2

Anne-Marie

(8)

Djokovic Tsitsipas

Dimitrov (4)  Kerber

Sabalenka

Muguruza (3)  Edmund R4

Norrie R2 (1) 

Murray R3

Konta R3

Watson R2

George

(9)

Nadal

Wawrinka

Dimitrov (4)  Kerber

Konta

Garcia

(2) ✅

Edmund R4

Norrie R2 (1) 

Murray R2

(1) 

Konta R4

Watson R1 (1)

Abigail

(11)

Djokovic Murray

Dimitrov (4)  Serena Makarova

Wozniacki (5) ✅ Edmund R4

Norrie R3

Murray SF

Konta R1 (1) 

Watson R1

(1) 

Chris (8) Nadal

Wawrinka

Dimitrov (4)  Kvitova

Konta

Garcia

(2) ✅

Edmund R4

Norrie R2 (1) 

 

Murray R3

Konta R4

Watson R1 (1)

 

Ros Satar – Britwatch Sports & Love Sport Radio

Novak Djokovic after winning the Western & Southern Open, ATP Cincinnati 2018

Novak Djokovic after winning the Western & Southern Open, ATP Cincinnati 2018 | (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic is my favourite for the men’s title, just because of the way he was able to win ugly in Cincinnati. He has a hunger back and with a Slam already in his pocket this year, I think he is the man to stop. Grigor Dimitrov has a brutal opening round. Stefanos Tsitsipas is the one to watch – provided he doesn’t break a limb diving on the hard courts!

While I would love for Serena Williams to level Margaret Court’s record in New York, I think it will be Angelique Kerber who will edge them all for the title Caroline Wozniacki’s injury woes mean she is my high point pick for a quick departure. Who wouldn’t put their pennies on Aryna Sabalnka to make a fantastic run here, off the back of the New Haven title?

If Johanna Konta can get past Caroline Garcia then she could go on a gallop to maybe the R16 or quarter-finals but I think Garcia might be too much for her. Ironically I can see Heather Watson coasting on her qualies momentum for at least a round.

Of the British men, British No. 1 Kyle Edmund should be good for a run to the fourth round, Cameron Norrie to the second round, and I think Andy Murray will coast in the first round but could be looking at a grinding five setter against Fernando Verdasco which will leave him spent for a probable show-down with Juan Martin Del Potro.

 

Anne-Marie Batson – BBC Five Live & Love Sports Radio

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action during the third round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

 

Djokovic is a deserved favourite to win the US Open Men’s Singles title after making history in Cincinnati. Enough justification for him to go deep in the draw, given current form. Kerber is another hot favourite for me, after claiming her first straight sets Championship at Wimbledon this year.

Dimitrov and Garbiñe Muguruza are my ‘shock exit’ choices for the Open. Dimitrov plays three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka in the first round. And, the Bulgarian’s form has dipped hugely this year, especially on his second serve. Muguruza is lacking match practice, having withdrawn from San Jose and Montreal with an arm injury.

I predict a fourth round exit for Edmund and third round exits for Murray and Konta. Edmund’s record does not exactly inspire confidence, having secured only one victory in three US hard-court warm up tournaments. Murray’s injury issues are well-documented and he faces a tough test if he reaches the third round. Konta has struggled for consistent form in 2018 but thrashing Serena Williams in San Jose will give her some positivity.

 

George Bellshaw – Metro.co.uk

Rafael Nadal in the third round of the ATP Mutua Madrid Open, 2018

Rafael Nadal in the third round of the ATP Mutua Madrid Open, 2018 | (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

On the men’s side Rafael Nadal and Djokovic are tough to split in terms of favourites but the Spaniard just about gets the edge given the Serb’s trickier looking run.

Dimitrov has been handed another tough draw against the ever-improving Wawrinka and I’m backing the 2016 champion to take him out early, and leaving all my eggs in that particular basket I may as well have him as dark horse.

On the women’s side, I fancy one of Kerber, Simona Halep, Serena Williams or Sloane Stephens to triumph but for no particular reason I’m going for the German.

Similarly to Wawrinka, I will place all my eggs in a Konta-shaped basket. She’s good enough to beat Garcia and the run to the fourth round beyond that match looks decent enough…

For the rest of the Brits, Murray should beat James Duckworth but will probably be too knackered to beat Verdasco, Edmund should make the last-16 before falling to Nadal, Norrie can beat Jordan Thompson but Damir Dzumhur might prove too consistent, while Ekaterina Makarova should beat Watson.

 

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Abigail Johnson – The Tennis Journal & Love Sport Radio

Andy Murray Roland Garros 2017

Photo by Dave Shopland/REX/Shutterstock | Andy Murray Roland Garros 2017

ATP champion: Djokovic only began truly rediscovering his top-level tennis, shaking off nagging injuries, halfway through 2018, and the two-time former champion is looking rejuvenated and mentally secure heading into New York. The Serb is hardly immune to an upset early on, and world no. 1 Nadal has looked strong for the vast majority of the season. But Djokovic currently appears the more reliable pick to go deep.

ATP Dark Horse: Murray – The former world no. 1 – unseeded in New York – has been smart, steady and patient throughout his comeback, and I personally believe that this will pay off in the long run. It remains difficult to say how his body will hold out over best of five sets, but if he can squeeze through a potential third round meeting with Del Potro, the Brit has a favourable projected draw. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

ATP Shock Exit: Dimitrov – A risky call. Roger Federer, while he has all the potential to win the title, could be in early danger as Nick Kyrgios eyes the possibility of a third round meeting with the Swiss legend. But Dimitrov has drawn Federer’s compatriot, Wawrinka, in the first round for the second straight Grand Slam. Not only did their Wimbledon collision end badly for the Bulgarian, but the no. 8 seed has struggled since then. Wawrinka is not the player he was a couple of years ago, but he is slowly regaining his form and fitness.

WTA champion: Serena Williams – Things are still incredibly open on the WTA circuit. Three counter-punchers have won the opening three Grand Slams of the season, indicating that the more power-oriented players have been missing something in 2018. But if a more aggressive player were to come out on top in New York, it would be wrong to overlook her. The American has suffered a couple of disappointing losses since Wimbledon, but she turned it on for the first Grand Slam of her comeback. The six-time US Open champion is in the heaviest quarter of the draw by far, which could mean that she faces trouble before she is properly warmed up. But that is far less of a worry when one owns 23 Grand Slam singles titles.

WTA Dark Horse: Makarova – Her tennis in recent times has been forgettable, and her ability to self-destruct has often been on display. But Makarova has been ranked inside the top ten for a reason. Should the Russian lefty navigate her way past Julia Goerges in a potential second round match, there is every chance of her going even further.

WTA Shock Exit: Wozniacki – The openness of the field makes it ever harder to tell which players will fall at the first hurdle and which will suddenly find form. But Wozniacki – despite the US Open once being her most successful Grand Slam, and despite her softer section of the draw – has hardly played since Wimbledon, and could be vulnerable in her opening matches.

 

Chris Oddo – Tennis Now

Petra Kvitova in the second round of the Nature Valley Classic, WTA Birmingham 2018

Petra Kvitova in the second round of the Nature Valley Classic, WTA Birmingham 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Well, here we are again, taking stabs in the dark. Hmm… I found it very difficult to pick the women’s field. There is simply too much talent all over the place. I went with Petra Kvitova because she has done better at the U.S. Open than any other major over the last four years, and I feel that some type of breakthrough for the Czech on the Grand Slam stage has to come. Maybe it’s New York this year and Not SW19? As far as the men I see Nadal and Djokovic as a toss-up for the title. I really have trouble seeing any other player–even Federer–raising the trophy two Sundays from today. Marin Cilic, Del Potro, Kevin Anderson — all of them feel like dark horse contenders rather than true contenders. But can players seeded 3, 5 and 7 really be dark horses? Don’t think so.

Which takes me to my next dilemma — who are the dark horses. I will likely pay for my decision to not select a seeded player like Serena Williams for this category. Instead I’ve gone with Konta for the heck of it. One the men’s side, same thing: I’m not convinced of Wawrinka’s title hopes but I do believe he’s improved enough this summer to be capable of a trip to the second week. That’s kind of dark-horsey, right?

As far as the Brits go, check back next year for Murray. He’s just not there yet. This is all just a dress rehearsal for his real comeback tour, which will likely be in full flight next January at Australia. Best of luck to all contestants and remember, gloating is a form of thuggery. Cheers!

 

How the scoring works

POSITION POINTS
Champion 5
Brit Placings 1
Dark Horse Unseeded R4 1
QF 2
SF 3
F 4
W 5
Seeded (except 1-4) SF 1
F 2
W 3
Shock Exit (Seeds) 1-2 SF 1
QF 2
R4 3
R3 4
R2 5
R1 6
3-4 QF 1
R4 2
R3 3
R2 4
R1 5
5-8 R4 1
R3 2
R2 3
R1 4
9-16 R3 1
R2 2
R1 3
17-32 R2 1
R1 2
The US Open takes place between 27 August – 9 September

 

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