Scott Ferguson picks out two short-priced fancies from the women's draw at the US Open on Saturday evening.
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Anett Kontaveit v Belinda Bencic
The most evenly-priced match of the third round is the clash between this European pair. Estonian Anett Kontaveit has already gained her best result here since 2015 and a has a solid chance to keep on going.
Since Wimbledon, she has been in good nick, reaching the third round in Toronto, Cincinnati and now here. If we go back to March for the spring premier events, she reached the fourth round at Indian Wells and the semi-finals in Miami. She clearly loves hardcourts in North America, a fact given more credence when looking at her defeats in those four previous events - they were all to either Ash Barty or Karolina Pliskova, arguably the form players of the year.
Belinda Bencic was stretched to three sets before overcoming Alize Cornet in the second round, worryingly showing signs of a re-occurrence of her left foot injury, which forced her to retire in the first round at Cincinnati. The world number 12 has had a rotten run with injuries since graduating to the WTA Tour, it seems every time she starts gathering momentum and making inroads on her ranking, something new pops up to annoy her.
The pair have met at least once before, when Bencic won in three sets at Wimbledon, back when she was the world's top junior in 2013.
Kontaveit has the slight edge here based on her hardcourt form this year and the fitness concern over her opponent.
Naomi Osaka v Coco Gauff
World number 1 and defending champion Naomi Osaka is working her way back to something resembling her best form, but so far it's only visible in patches rather than complete matches.
She is 6-2 since Wimbledon, with her biggest scalp being the world number 30 and hasn't won three matches in a row since Madrid in May. Anna Blinkova and Magda Linette proved to be handy opponents but not consistent enough to claim the scalp of the top seed.
It's often said that the best players don't need to be at the top of their game at the majors until late in the second week but Osaka has been off the boil for some time and really needs to get her game back.
Coco Gauff has navigated through two rounds in contrasting style. The round one match against Anastasia Potapova was an error-fest, with both players heavily on the wrong side of the winners-to-errors ratio. Against Babos, though, it was a much classier affair which got the crowd right behind her.
Gauff is mature beyond her 15 years, she anticipates the ball well, serves strongly and when required, can volley crisply under pressure.
The young American has already shown she revels in the spotlight and will have the huge home support behind her. The Osaka of last year could be confidently backed to win this, but she's a long way from that form, when she conceded only seven games in her first three rounds and dropped only one set for the fortnight.
Gauff can match Osaka for long periods of the match, she could even win. What is probably more likely, though, is that she gives the defending champ a real scare and kick-starts her back into gear.
The win price isn't quite tempting enough for me, so I'll be playing it safe with Gauff to take a set.
DAY FIVE RECAP
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