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Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Julien Benneteau could make life tough for Struff

Madison Keys could be on her way out

Julien Benneteau remains a fine match-player in Grand Slams and could surprise younger opponent Jan-Lennard Struff
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It's the final day of second-round action in New York, but punters may have to make do with just a couple of bets as value looks thin on the ground with the oddsmakers now being more on top of the form at Flushing Meadows.

Prior to day three, Simona Halep's opening-day exit was one of only a few surprises the US Open has seen, but with New York temperatures due to cool a little in the next two days a couple of match favourites can be taken on in handicap betting.

Benneteau v Struff
Even though Jan-Lennard Struff has been playing well this season, he is still without a main-tour title and the German could be vulnerable against the legendary Julien Benneteau with a third-round place at stake.

The French veteran, 36, is still a force to be reckoned with, even though he too has never managed to nail a title win at the sport's top level.

That could still change – his fellow professionals would love to see Benneteau claim a decent trophy before he hangs up his boots – but for the time being he may still be a superior performer in Grand Slams than Struff.

Paris resident Benneteau showed admirable resolve to fight back from the loss of the opening set to oust French Open semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato 2-6 7-6 6-3 6-4 in his Flushing Meadows curtain-raiser.

It was happy days for Struff when proving too good for Milwaukee native Tim Smyczek, who has been in decent nick himself this year.
But Smyczek is not the most powerful of players and it may pay not to overrate the form of that win.

Bookmakers reckon Struff, 28, could kick on in New York but Benneteau tends to raise his game in Slams and he appeals with a handicap start of 1.5 sets.

Recommendation
J Benneteau +1.5 sets
1pt 8-11 Paddy Power


Keys v Pera
Madison Keys tends to be consistent in Grand Slams, but while she has been been backed to beat Bernarda Pera on what should be her favourite terrain, the all-American clash may be closer than the layers believe.

Pera has rightly entered many notebooks after a number of promising performances, but in terms of national clashes it does not get much tougher than a date with Keys, with the obvious exception of the Williams sisters.

Keys made the US Open final last year, when she was taken apart by good friend Sloane Stephens. Her time should come but there's a slight suspicion that the 14th seed may not be performing at her absolute peak after losses to Evgeniya Rodina at Wimbledon and Aryna Sabalenka in Cincinnati.

Pera showed enough in seeing off Yulia Putintseva 7-6 6-4 in her opener to warrant support with a start of five-and-a-half games against Keys.

Recommendation
B Pera +5.5 games
1pt 8-11 Ladbrokes


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Benneteau showed admirable resoluteness to fight back and oust French Open semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato 2-6 7-6 6-3 6-4 in his New York opener
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