US Open Men’s Round of 16 Predictions Including Novak Djokovic vs Jenson Brooksby

Novak Djokovic US Open 2021 R3
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Two of the top American men, Jenson Brooksby and Reilly Opelka, look for spots in the quarterfinals of the US Open in New York. Brooksby faces Novak Djokovic while Opelka will take on fellow rising talent Lloyd Harris. Our panelists Steen Kirby and Damian Kust offer all their predictions for the round of 16.

Novak Djokovic vs Jenson Brooksby

Steen: Novak Djokovic continued to show some weakness at the US Open, dropping a set to Kei Nishikori in the third round (he also dropped a set to Holger Rune). Regardless, it will take the best tennis of Jenson Brooksby’s career to pull off this massive upset. Brooksby was great against Aslan Karatsev but needed five sets, in all likelihood this impressive run for the American will come to an end as Djokovic continues his quest for the calendar Grand Slam, even if Brooksby can grab a set. Djokovic in 4

Damian: There’s a lot of hype about this match but I don’t think this is a particularly good matchup for Brooksby. His grit and determination can allow him to have a say against many tough opponents but he just doesn’t own weapons of the kind of caliber that can really threaten Djokovic from the ground. As such, he will need to rely a lot on the Serbian’s own inconsistency. While the World No.1 has hardly been perfect so far, he’s going to be able to adjust most of the time, especially over the longer format. Djokovic in 3

Reilly Opelka vs Lloyd Harris

Steen: Opelka just beat Harris in Canada and the pair have split h2h meetings, both players have played dominant tennis to reach this stage, winning their third round matches in straight sets. Opelka’s serve is a weapon that Harris is going to have a difficult time matching. For as good as the South African is playing, the American is playing even better and should win a long battle, just like their Canada Masters matchup was. Opelka in 4

Damian: Opelka is yet to drop a set in this event and while the path hasn’t been particularly hard, he’s making it pretty clear that his potential lies beneath that of the other two highest players of all time, John Isner and Ivo Karlovic. Harris scored another phenomenal win of 2021 against Shapovalov and has a 3-1 win/loss record against top 10 players on this surface in 2021. It feels very trivial to say it but Opelka’s serve should give him the advantage here, especially if he can find one return game per set where a couple of all-or-nothing returns go in. He’s been doing that well in New York so far. Opelka in 4

Matteo Berrettini vs Oscar Otte

Steen: Berrettini won when they met on clay, Otte should have a real chance at the upset on hard courts though. The German has burst onto the stage with six wins in New York, Berrettini grinded past Ilya Ivashka in the third round but looked vulnerable. Berrettini is the more accomplished player but I’ll pick the upset, Otte is playing well above his credentials right now. Otte in 5

Damian: What a fantastic run from Otte, but this is probably where it ends. Berrettini has been quite far off his Wimbledon form, but his serve carried him through the tough moments against Ivashka. The German has a huge delivery as well but his game behind the serve is not as thought out as Berrettini’s and the weapons he has don’t bring him points with such efficiency as the Italian’s forehand does. Otte would need to serve absolutely lights out for three sets to advance here. Berrettini in 4

Alexander Zverev vs Jannik Sinner

Steen: This talented pair have split meetings, Sinner battled past Gael Monfils in the third round, while Zverev got a walkover against Jack Sock, who played well for a set but fell off with his fitness. Either player is good enough to win this US Open title and this match is relatively early given their respective skill levels. Zverev should be the fresher player though and late in the match can most likely dig deep and play with more energy than Sinner. Zverev in 5

Damian: Jack Sock planted the first seeds of doubt in Zverev’s form, but the German managed to find his deadly serving form from the first two rounds and the American’s outstanding level from the opening set quickly went away. This is a big test but the German has been playing with incredible confidence since the Olympics, somehow able to forget about the domestic abuse allegations he’s facing in his personal life when he’s on the court. If he continues to do that, then he should keep up the winning streak as Sinner has been playing at a very uneven level so far, allowing Purcell and Monfils back into the match for no reason. It just won’t cut it against Zverev in this form. Zverev in 4

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