U.S. Open 3rd Round: Neal Abrams picks Friday men's matches featuring Djokovic, Tsitsipas, Zverev, Fritz and Shapovalov
Pablo Carreno Busta over Ricardas Berankis
Berankis is lucky to be in this year’s Third Round, and he should enjoy the $165,000 prize money. He’ll never make it again. A true show of his ability was in last week’s Western and Southern Open when he got his ass kicked by Nole.
Taylor Fritz over Denis Shapovalov
Shapovalov is way more fun to watch than Taylor Fritz. He’s exciting, interesting, aggressive, and almost always in-the-moment. I particularly like watching him thrash his groundies through thick and thin. He’s 2-0 against the American, but I like Fritz here because he’s been playing awfully well – something that he was not when I last saw him in Florida. His current game appear to be very efficient, and that makes a tremendous difference in tennis when errors are deadly. Shapovalov may be much more exciting to watch, but I think Fritz will move on.
Alexander Zverev over Adrian Mannarino
Adrian Mannarino surprised me by just drubbing Jack Sock. I thought he’d win, but the magnitude by which he did tells me that he’s ready for this battle. Zverev has been very spotty over the past two plus weeks, and I’d expect this match to be much closer than perhaps it might have been last year. If Zverev has trouble with his second serve at all, expect Mannarino to take advantage of it and spank the German.
Stefanos Tsitsipas over Borna Coric
Borna Coric keeps getting better, but the Croat is meeting a player angling for destiny. I think Tsitsipas will win this tournament, and he’ll beat Coric along the way.
Novak Djokovic over Jan-Lennard Struff
When does 4-0 mean a lot? When you are world #1 Novak Djokovic, and that is your lifetime record against your third round U.S. Open opponent, Jan-Lennard Struff. I just love watching Struff play because he leaves nothing on the court. But Djokovic is a much better tennis player, and their past matches have not been close. This one might be a snoozer.