Now that we have finished up our strawberries and cream, we can look ahead to the fourth and final grand slam tournament of the year, the US Open (August 29 – September 11).
The US Open is the one grand slam tournament that has not been dominated by any male over the last seven years: five different champions have been crowned in that time. On the female side, it’s hard to find a tournament that Serena Williams (six US Open titles) has not put her mark on over the last decade.
Before his stunning upset at the hands of Sam Querrey at Wimbledon, many were hoping to see Novak Djokovic go for the Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows. No singles players has achieved the feat since Steffi Graf in 1988.
But even without Djokovic playing for the Grand Slam, there are still plenty of reasons to get excited for the US Open: Will Roger Federer top Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras’ record for most US Open titles? Is Rafael Nadal still a threat? Can Serena make her fourth major final of the year?
These questions will be answered shortly, but for now, here are the men’s and women’s singles odds for the US Open.
Novak Djokovic: 7/5
Whether it’s a positive or a negative, Djokovic will not have to carry the pressure of completing the Grand Slam into the US Open, after his stunning early exit at Wimbledon. Despite the loss, there is still no question that he is the best player on the ATP right now.
The US Open has not been Djokovic’s strongest tournament, but he has still won it twice (including last year) and lost in the finals four times. A poor showing at Wimbledon will have the Serbian fired up to defend his 2015 title.
Andy Murray: 7/2
Andy Murray is playing the best tennis of his career, coming off a very impressive Wimbledon victory, which included a dominant finals performance against Milos Raonic.
Murray is the biggest threat to Djokovic at the top of the rankings, but he has not fared well when matched up head-to-head. Murray has only won 10 of the 34 matches they have played, and is 7-19 on hard courts against Djokovic.
Murray’s sole US Open title came in 2012 by beating Djokovic in the finals, but he’ll still be hoping another Sam Querrey emerges to bounce the Djoker early.
Roger Federer: 7/1
With Djokovic out of the way early at Wimbledon, Roger Federer had a golden opportunity to win his eighth Wimbledon championship, but lost a thriller in the semifinals to Raonic. Although Federer is no longer in his prime, he has proven that he is still a very worthy competitor.
Federer’s five US Open titles (2004-2008) have him tied with Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras for most in the open era. Federer has only played in two US Open finals since 2008, though, one of them being last year. His time to distinguish himself as the greatest US Open player is running thin.
Fortunately for him, no one has had much longevity at this tournament since his reign ended; there has not been a back-to-back champion since Federer in ’08.
Milos Raonic: 12/1
Bringing in John McEnroe has paid off immediately for the Canadian, who just reached his first major final at Wimbledon. The always fiery McEnroe has encouraged the Canadian to show more (positive) emotion on the court, and it worked in his two come-from-behind wins against Federer and David Goffin at the All England Club.
The 25-year-old’s comeback against Goffin, in particular, exorcised some mental demons, marking the first time he’s come from two sets down to win a match. Yet, despite his supreme serve and mental progress, he still remains a step down from the likes of Murray and Djokovic. The Wimbledon final was ample evidence of that.
Rafael Nadal: 18/1
Nadal has not played in the finals of a major event since he won the French Open in 2014, but no one is going to take him lightly.
After sitting out Wimbledon with a wrist injury, the Spaniard is set to compete in the Rogers Cup, and has said that nothing will hold him back from competing in the Olympics. These two tournaments should provide Nadal with a tune-up before the US Open begins.
Serena Williams: 5/4
Not only did Williams just win her seventh Wimbledon championship, but she also won her sixth Wimbledon doubles championship. It may be her first grand slam title of the year, but she has played in every major final in 2016, losing the first two.
Serena has won six US Open titles, and that includes three of the last four. One more victory will see her pass Chris Evert for most US Open titles in the open era.
Williams has been so dominant over the last couple of years, and I fully expect her to win her second major of the season in September.
Victoria Azarenka: 6/1
Azarenka finds herself with favorable odds here strictly based off her experience and comfort with hard courts. Her only two major titles came at the Australian Open, and her only other two finals were at the US Open.
She lost the 2012 and 2013 US Open finals to Serena, and I wouldn’t expect a different result if the two meet again. Azarenka is 4-17, career, against Williams, and has never beaten her in a major tournament. And with the rise of Angelique Kerber, Azarenka’s path to the finals will not be a walk in the park.
Angelique Kerber: 15/2
Regardless of what happens at the US Open, 2016 has already been a very successful year for Kerber. She won her first major title at the Australian Open by defeating the heavily-favored Williams, and made it to the finals of Wimbledon as well, this time losing to Williams.
Kerber is currently the second-ranked woman in the world, but still has an Everest-ian mountain to climb if she wishes to surpass Williams in the near future.
Garbine Muguruza: 8/1
Currently ranked third in the world, Muguruza has showed very well over the last two years for a 22-year-old. She played in her first major final at the 2015 Wimbledon, and then won her first major title earlier this year at the French Open.
But she is still very young and Serena is just too dominant right now. An appearance in the semifinals at the US Open would be viewed as a positive for Muguruza.
Simona Halep: 10/1
After a promising 2014, which saw her ranked number two in the world, Halep’s career has stalled. She has been knocked off in the first round in two of her last five majors and has not made a major final since the French Open in 2014.
She now finds herself ranked fifth and is coming off of a quarterfinals loss at Wimbledon. Halep did, however, make the semifinals in the 2015 US Open and has enjoyed some of her best major performances on hard court.
(Photo Credit: Tatiana from Moscow, Russia (Novak Djokovic) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)