U.S. Open betting preview: Federer leads Nadal atop men’s odds for tournament

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The price on Roger Federer is rising even as his high-profile peers keep dropping out of the U.S. Open.

Federer, who took last week off to rest a stiff back in hope of giving himself a shot at going 3-for-3 in Grand Slams in 2017, is listed at +175 to be the men’s outright winner on the odds to win the U.S. Open at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Top-seeded Rafael Nadal is second favorite at +300, followed by highly touted 20-year-old Alexander Zverev (+450). There seems to be a “but” with each of the top three, since the two legends are operating below peak capability while Zverev has yet to make a Grand Slam quarter-final.

Federer has won both Grand Slams he’s entered in 2017 (the Australian Open in January and Wimbledon in July) but has certainly not been immune to the wear and tear that has forced other top players such as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka to either withdraw from the U.S. Open or shut down for the rest of the season. That might be why the odds on Federer have actually moved up from +125 in recent days.

Federer’s quarter of the draw also has opponents such as the volatile Nick Kyrgios (+1600), Juan Martin del Potro (+2500) and Sam Querrey lurking (+12500).

Nadal is not in top form. The Spaniard is the top seed thanks to his overall body of work this calendar year, but recently had a streak of three tournaments in a row where he departed prior to the semifinals. The biggest threat in his quarter of the draw is Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov (+1600).

It is plausible that a breakthrough from Zverev might top out at being a semifinalist, which would be a major stepping-stone. His quarter of the draw was to include Murray, but former champion Cilic has fallen heir to that spot. Cilic, who won this tournament in 2014, is the sole former Grand Slam champion in the bottom half of the men’s draw.

Women’s tennis has more of anyone-on-any-day vibe with Serena Williams taking time off to have a child. Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza (+600 on the US Open odds), Petra Kvitova (+1400), Venus Williams (+1400) and Caroline Wozniacki (+1600) are all in the same quarter of the draw and  the toll of getting to the semifinal could leave the survivor too taxed for the final two matches.

Muguruza certainly has the championship pedigree and it’s justifiable taking her if one believes the tournament will play out in a very chalky way at sports betting sites.

Karolina Pliskova (+700) appears to have an easier ride through her quarter of the draw and is one of the most consistent players on the WTA Tour. There is also a strong case for Johanna Konta (+800) of Great Britain, who’s been to the Round of 16 at Flushing Meadow for two consecutive years.

With Simona Halep (+900), there’s always the question of whether her defensive style can hold up against stronger players or it’s merely enough to get her into the semifinal and finals.

Not unlike Zverev, promising Elina Svitolina (+1000) might need to make it into a Grand Slam quarter-final before a major title is truly attainable.

Thiem reaches third round at Monte Carlo

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MONACO — Dominic Thiem saved a match point and beat Andrey Rublev of Russia 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.

Rublev was serving for the match at 5-4, 40-30 but hit a forehand narrowly wide. Fifth-seeded Thiem broke him with backhand pass down the line and held for 6-5.

The Austrian was 15-40 up on Rublev’s serve and clinched victory on his first match point, when Rublev double-faulted with a weak serve into the net.

“I was 10 centimeters from being out of the tournament,” a relieved Thiem said. “But I’m happy that I played two hours and 40 (minutes).”

Thiem has reached the French Open semifinals for the past two years. He next meets 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic or Borna Coric of Croatia, who play their second-round match on Wednesday.

“I’m looking forward to watching Djokovic and Coric in front of the TV, and then playing the winner on Thursday,” Thiem said.

In the second round later Tuesday, fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria faced Pierre-Hugues Herbert and seventh-seeded Lucas Pouille played Mischa Zverev.

In remaining first-round play, there were wins for Gilles Simon of France, Marco Cecchinato of Italy and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.

Jared Donaldson fined $6K for ranting at umpire

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MONACO — Jared Donaldson has been fined $6,200 for unsportsmanlike conduct after angrily ranting at the chair umpire during his first-round loss to Albert Ramos-Vinolas at the Monte Carlo Masters.

The American became irate with a call when Ramos-Vinolas was serving at 3-2, 40-0 in the second set on Monday. Donaldson thought the serve was out and pointed to the ground, shouting, “There’s a mark right here,” and then screaming the same words in the face of French umpire Arnaud Gabas.

He then squared up to Gabas and shouted: “Yes it is, yeah it is,” as he insisted his mark was right and the umpire’s call of in was wrong.

Donaldson, who yelled again at Gabas before the supervisor came on, received a code violation. He lost 6-3, 6-3.