Best of 5 US Open Day 5 Including Stan Wawrinka vs Milos Raonic

The 2018 US Open rolls on with Friday action featuring former champions Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, and Juan Martin Del Potro in action. Our panelists offer up their previews with predictions.

Rafael Nadal vs Karen Khachanov

Yesh Ginsburg: I’m going to go big with this one. Khachanov has the right skill set to bother Nadal, and has been increasingly playing better. The cooler day Friday will mean that someone who can hit through the court can keep Nadal back off the baseline. Khachanov can do that. The only question is whether Khachanov can keep his nerves in check. This will be the biggest win of his career if he can pull it off, and I think it’s his time. Khachanov in 4

Manuel Traquete: Khachanov is yet to take a set in this matchup, but he was close in Canada and has been on the rise for a while now. While he is unlikely to upset Nadal here, a competitive match is to be expected. Nadal in 4

Lukas Weese: For the fifth time, Rafael Nadal and Karen Khachanov will be taking the court to face each other. In the previous four meetings, Nadal has won all of them, including a straight set victory at the Rogers Cup. Khachanov is coming into this match after a straight set victory, where he converted 90 percent of his first serve points and 57 percent of his second serve points. Nadal is coming off a straight set victory over Vasek Pospisil, where he won 75 percent of his total service points and saved four of his five break points. Nadal is too dominant at the moment and playing at an extremely high level. I like the Spaniard to advance to the Round of 16. Nadal in 3

Dominic Thiem vs Taylor Fritz

Yesh: Taylor Fritz is very quietly becoming a very good American prospect. He’s not quite at the level to take out Thiem yet, but he should get a set. Thiem in 4

Manuel: Thiem won this matchup last year at the US Open in a tight 4-setter. Another close contest is expected here, with an upset possible given Thiem’s vulnerability on hard courts. Thiem in 5

Lukas: Dominic Thiem will be taking on the American crowd favourite Taylor Fritz in the third round. Last match, Thiem had to battle to beat Steve Johnson in five sets, where he had 67 winners to only 38 unforced errors. Fritz is coming off a straight set victory where he won 60 percent of his total service points and saved 10 of his 14 break points. If Fritz can keep his unforced errors down, he will need the American crowd to will him to an upset victory. But I don’t see Thiem choking up this opportunity, as he gets a routine win into the Round of 16. Thiem in 3

Denis Shapovalov vs Kevin Anderson

Yesh: Shapovalov actually does pretty well against big servers, and Anderson has struggled so far this tournament. Playing five sets in the brutal heat against Steve Johnson had to be draining. There’s no way Anderson is fully recovered, and that’s all Shapovalov needs. Shapovalov in 5

Manuel: Shapovalov barely escaped Seppi in the secound round, while Anderson had a close escape himself vs Harrison in the first round. On paper, Anderson, having a career year, is favorite to advance but Shapovalov has the weapons to beat him on a good day. Shapovalov in 5

Lukas: Both Denis Shapovalov and Kevin Anderson are coming into this match in great form and will be the first time they meet in an ATP event. Shapovalov won a tight five set thriller over Andreas Seppi in the previous round, while Anderson beat Jeremy Chardy in straight sets. Five set matches in high temperatures mean that Shapovalov will have a longer time recovering from fatigue. Anderson is the more rested and experienced player in this situation and I see his big serve being utilized to take control of the match, sending the South African to the Round of 16. Anderson in 4

Juan Martin Del Potro vs Fernando Verdasco

Yesh: Verdasco got through a still-recovering Andy Murray, but that match also showed that he doesn’t have anywhere near the weapons to challenge del Potro right now. Del Potro in 3

Manuel: Verdasco is always a potentially dangerous opponent for any top players on his day, but del Potro still looks like a safe bet here. He’s even more powerful, far more consistent and has looked like a title contender so far in New York. Del Potro in 3

Lukas: This match will be a battle between two all time greats. 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro has not dropped a set this tournament while Fernando Verdasco finally got the monkey off his back to get his second victory over Andy Murray last round in four sets. With 48 unforced errors in his match against Murray, Verdasco needs to reduce those unnecessary mistakes if he is going to advance. Despite Verdasco’s groundstroke ability, I see Del Potro advancing in this one and making a deep run in this Grand Slam. Del Potro in 4

Stan Wawrinka vs Milos Raonic

Yesh: Wawrinka is not-so-quietly picking up his level tremendously. I’m not sure if he has much left in the tank, but he should give Raonic–who has been a double-faulting machine of late–a lot of trouble with his return. Wawrinka in 4

Manuel: Wawrinka has finally looked close to his best in recent tournaments, while Raonic has struggled with injuries for a lot of the year. However, there’s still some questions regarding the Swiss’s fitness in long best of 5 matches. Raonic in 5

Lukas: The last time these two players faced off in a Grand Slam was at the Australian Open, where Raonic won a five set thriller. Now, they meet again in the third round of the US Open, hungrier than ever to make a deep run at this tournament. Raonic has only dropped one set thus far this tournament, using his serve to dominate his opponents. Wawrinka has conquered a difficult draw to get to this point, beating Grigor Dimitrov in the opening round. These two will showcase their tremendous weapons, from Raonic’s serve to Wawrinka’s groundstrokes. I like the Swiss star to come away with this match in five sets to advance to the Round of 16. Wawrinka in 5

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