Conclusions after the 2012 US Open

2012 US Open - tennis trading

From day one, up until the very end, this year’s edition of the US open, has been full of tennis trading opportunities.

In this post, I’ll try to go over some of the things that took place during this tournament and also look at how the two finals unfolded.

After day one, I posted the comebacks post, and I must admit I did not expect to see a record number of comebacks. In total there have been 10. And what was even more satisfying, was the fact that most of these matches took place on show-courts. There were plenty of times during other Grand Slams, when there were opportunities to trade such matches but the fact that they were not on show-courts meant that we had limited and delayed data to work with and the liquidity was not that good either.

I don’t know if these comebacks had anything to do with it, but looking over the matches and markets I’ve traded, I noticed that I’ve traded significantly more markets from the men’s draw. I trade the markets that present opportunities, and most of the opportunities were in the men’s matches.

Of course, the men’s draw was more open than the women’s draw, where Serena was the main favorite. The only question regarding Serena was who can win a set against her. I was looking for Kerber to be the one that would push Serena in the semi-final. As it turned out, Sara Errani had other plans and defeated the German for the second time this year, after the quarter-final win at the French. And with Errani as the semi-final opponent, Serena entered the final without losing a set and without being tested. Usually, I like to see a player tested before going into the final, otherwise her opponent’s level might seem higher than it actually is. In my view, Azarenka had a good chance of taking a set, maybe even leading by a set and a break against Serena, mostly due to the fact that she had been tested earlier in the tournament and had a confidence-boosting semi-final against Sharapova.

In the women’s final preview that I sent out to my newsletter subscribers, I wrote that I was expecting Azarenka to take the first set, and maybe have a break in the second, which she could hold, up until the final stages of the set. But in the end, the scenario that took place was an even better one.Serena won the first set, and Azarenka bounced back to win the second and even served for the match the in third, but failed to close it.  From the moment Azarenka failed to close the match, and the score was 5-5, it was always a matter of whether or not she will make it to a tie-break, as Serena had all the momentum.Yet again, after Serena broke back, it was all about the inner game. But it has to be said that I don’t believe Azarenka “choked” at 5-4, instead, Serena played a good game. And one more thing to mention here is that Azarenka showed a very positive attitude during the runner-up speech when she said she has “no regrets”. When you lose a grand slam final, after serving for the title, you are bound to have some “mental scars”, but I believe that Azarenka showed a positive attitude and understood that it wasn’t about her failing, but about Serena stepping up her game. We will see how Azarenka does in the coming months.

Then there’s the men’s final, played yet again on Monday.  If the weather would not have been a factor in the final, my pick would have been Djokovic. The wind clearly favored Andy, and he took full advantage. At the start of the match, I would have favored Djokovic in a five setter, even with the wind as a factor, but as the match progressed, it looked more and more obvious that it was going to be Andy’s day.

In my view, there were two moments in the match where the momentum looked to be with one player, but in fact was with the other. The first moment was at the end of the second set. Djokovic had just come back from a double break deficit, managing to make it 5-5, but failed to capitalize on the momentum to win the second. This was a very important moment in the match, as it gave Andy a crucial lead in the match. But although Murray had won the second set, the momentum was with Djokovic. At this point, I would have entered the market with a lay on Murray, had I not already entered when Djokovic had gone a double break down. The second important moment was at the end on the forth. Djokovic had the break and managed to close the forth set, but although he won the set, Murray was the one with the momentum, as he was holding serve with less effort and also making inroads on Djokovic’s serve. Murray broke serve early in the fifth and the rest in history.

To sum up the men’s final, it was a match of who could make less unforced errors. That was always going to be the case if Murray was to win it, as he is a counter-puncher. Undoubtedly he lifted a huge burden off his shoulders, by winning his first gram slam, and proved all the skeptics wrong. This will boost his confidence for important moments in future matches, but my rating of him does not increase that much, since he still is the same player. Most people see him going on to win more Grand Slams. I agree, but that has a lot to do with his opponents (without Djokovic and Nadal he could arguably be no.1 ). I still see him winning Wimbledon one day, as grass is a surface that suits his style of play; but overall, three grand slams titles is a maximum I predict he could win.

One more thing to add about this final is that, after this year’s Wimbledon final set a record on the amount traded on Betfair, the US Open final broke the record once more, with over £60 mil. traded.

Overall, from a tennis trading perspective, it was another exceptional Grand Slam, with plenty of trading opportunities, the only thing missing being a roof.  And since there are no plans for a roof to be built in the following years, I guess we will just have to get used to a Monday final at the US Open.

Image credit: keychae

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