Unibet's Armchair Expert, who was a US Open semi-finalist in 1996, says Novak Djokovic & Rafael Nadal will contest the men's title in New York, while Serena Williams is the woman to beat. You can read Goran‘s thoughts on each day’s play at Flushing Meadows from next Monday at www.unibet.co.uk.
The US Open is probably the toughest major. The last of the season, the surface is the fastest and conditions the most humid. You must be super fit to compete. It’s often weather-disrupted – five finals have been pushed to the Monday. But the crowd is great and can be a massive boost, and the fifth-set tiebreak stops people playing percentages.
Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray may have won last year’s tournament but he is in poor form at present, having won just three matches in two Masters tournaments since his historic victory in SW19. He has shaken up the tennis order in the last year but I think you can rule out him winning back-to-back titles at Flushing Meadows. Yes, he can raise his game and won’t give up his crown without a fight but I can’t see him doing it.
Unibet make the Scot their 3.90 third favourite and I agree with them that both Novak Djokovic (2.85) and Rafa Nadal (3.60) have better chances this time around.
Nadal has come back strongly from that remarkable first round defeat at Wimbledon and took last week’s Cincinnati Masters in straight sets, winning his 1000th Masters game in the process. His hard court form has been incredible – no player has beaten him on the surface this year and it will take an exceptional player to do so in the US Open.
But Djokovic is an exceptional player and despite going out in the quarter finals in Cincinnati, the World Number One deserves to be favourite in my mind. This tournament plays to his strengths – that’s why he has reached the last three finals, winning the title in 2011 and he is my tip to win it again this year.
I know Nadal beat Novak when they met in the Rogers Cup but over five sets in New York it’s different. The surface suits Djokovic. He has the pace and game to see off the Spaniard.
I must say that Unibet’s odds compilers are not giving Roger Federer much respect! He’s 14.00 and they have Juan Martin Del Potro ahead of him at 10.00. The Argentinian won this title back in 2009 but Roger has looked good lately and he will be extra motivated to do well in a Grand Slam he has won on five previous occasions.
It’s strange to call Roger a dark horse, but he shouldn’t be as big as 14.00. I fancy him to reach the semi-finals, and from there anything is possible.
The Women’s singles is quite straightforward: it’s Serena Williams’ title to lose. She is 1.75 with Unibet and as long as she can keep her concentration in the earlier rounds, she should win her fifth US Open. It’s no surprise to see Victoria Azarenka (5.00) and Maria Sharapova (9.00) next in the betting as they really are the only players who could beat her in a final.
But if I had to pull out a dark horse it would be American Sloane Stephens. Although she has only got as far as the third round at Flushing Meadows in two previous attempts, she has already made both a Grand Slam semi-final and quarter-final (Australia and Wimbledon, respectively) this year. She is 35.00 with Unibet.
Finally, keep an eye on Laura Robson (145.00 to win). I expect her to make it through to the second week, and if the draw is kind to her she could even do better than that.
US Open Men’s title
2.85 - Novak Djokovic
3.60 - Rafa Nadal
3.90 - Andy Murray
10.00 - Juan Martin Del Potro
14.00 - Roger Federer
35.00 - Tomas Berdych
67.00 - John Isner
US Open Women’s Title
1.75 - Serena Williams
5.00 - Victoria Azarenka
9.00 - Maria Sharapova
25.00 - Petra Kvitova
25.00 - Li Na
25.00 - Agnieszka Radwanska