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2019 Women’s US Open Picks & Betting Preview: Serena Williams, Simona Halep Top Favorites

Simona Halep
Simona Halep will be looking to back up her title win at Wimbledon with another strong showing at the final Grand Slam event of the year at the US Open. Photo By Tatiana (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • The US Open runs from August 26 – September 8, 2019
  • The Women’s Singles offers a wide-open field of contenders
  • Can world No. 1 Naomi Osaka defend her title?

It’s the final Grand Slam of the tennis season with the US Open taking place at Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York.

Several Americans rank among the favorites in US Open odds including Serena Williams, Madison Keys, Sofia Kenin and Sloane Stephens. But Wimbledon winner Simona Halep also has plenty of support from bookmakers as the tournament’s second-favorite. We break down the top contenders from each quarter below and predict a US Open Women’s Singles winner.

2019 WTA US Open Odds

Player Odds at Bovada
Serena Williams +450
Simona Halep +800
Ashleigh Barty +1000
Naomi Osaka +1100
Karolina Pliskova +1200
Bianca Andreescu +1400
Madison Keys +1400
Angelique Kerber +2500
Elina Svitolina +2500
Sofia Kenin +2500

*Odds taken 8/24/19. For all players visit Bovada

Is 1st Quarter Osaka’s to Lose?

Naomi Osaka’s season started with a bang when she defeated Petra Kvitova in the year’s first major, a straight sets win in the Australian Open. However, it was the first and only win and finals appearance for her in 2019.

In the year’s other two slams, she could only reach the third round of the French Open and was knocked out in straight sets to Yulia Putintseva at Wimbledon. Putintseva is currently ranked 39th in the world.

Since Wimbledon, she lost in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup to Serena Williams and needed two three-set wins to advance to the quarters in Cincinnati. There, she would be forced to retire with injury against Sofia Kenin. It’s the third time she’s retired from a tournament this year.

The top half of the first quarter will see Osaka face no one ranked higher than Belinda Bencic (13) should they both reach the fourth round. However, Osaka is only 1-2 against Bencic, with both losses coming in 2019 at Indian Wells and Madrid. That said, Bencic hasn’t progressed deep in a tournament since reaching the Mallorca Open in June.

One longshot to advance to the semis from the quarter could be Marie Bouzková (ranked No. 55) who recently reached the semifinals in Toronto.

There is also the potential for a third-round match between Osaka and rising American star Coco Gauff.

Bertens and Sabalenka Could Pose Threats

The bottom half of the first quarter features two top 10 ranked players in Kiki Bertens (7) and Aryna Sabalenka (9). Bertens is just 4-7 in the tournament lifetime, having never advanced past the round of 32, while Sabalenka is 3-1 and reached the round of 16 last year.

One longshot to advance to the semis from the quarter could be Marie Bouzková (ranked No. 55). She recently reached the semifinals in Toronto, defeating Sloane Stephens and taking a set off both Simona Halep and Serena Williams. She’s priced at +2000 to win the quarter.

Top 15 Showdown in 2nd Quarter?

The top half of the second quarter features both Simona Halep (4) and Bianca Andreescu (15).

Halep’s 39-12 singles record this year has been strong and has seen her claim her second career grand slam title by winning Wimbledon over Serena Williams. She reached the quarters in France and round of 16 in Australia. Last year she won the French Open and reached the final at the Aussie Open.

So the Romanian has certainly been at the top of her game for some time now. Though, she’s failed to advance past the first round at Flushing Meadows each of the past two years. Her best-ever finish at the US Open came in 2015, reaching the semifinals.

After winning her first Wimbledon title, Halep was forced to retire in the quarters of the Rogers Cup and lost to eventual Western & Southern Open champion Madison Keys in the round of 16.

While the two have never played before, the young Canadian, Andreescu has been on a tear this year with a 38-4 singles record of her own. Once ranked 107th on January 7th, she was ranked as high as 14th earlier this month.

Andreescu recently won the Rogers Cup and withdrew from the Cincinnati Masters to rest and prepare for Flushing Meadows.

Is Kvitova Healthy?

As the sixth-ranked player, Petra Kvitova is projected to be playing deep into the tournament. However, her health concerns should make bettors pause before placing a wager. She started the year strong with a finals loss at the Australian Open. She has two wins on the tour this year at Sydney and Stuttgart.

But a forearm tear forced her to miss the French Open and almost Wimbledon as well. She played just one match in Cincinnati losing to Maria Sakkari.

A forearm tear forced her [Kvitova] to miss the French Open and almost Wimbledon as well.

She was recently quoted as saying, “I had a tear in my forearm and it’s pretty healed, but something around it is going badly.” She added, “Maybe the scar with the muscle is doing some bad things. Sometimes it’s getting swollen and there’s pain.”

That doesn’t sound good and I can’t back her to make a deep run. Odds have continued to drift on the Czech, now at 33-1 at Bovada.

American Sloane Stephens has had success at the US Open in previous years and also resides in the quarter. She reached the quarters last year and won the event in 2017. But she’s been in terrible form of late. In her last five tournaments, she is just 3-5. In Cincinnati, she was defeated 6-1, 6-2 by Svetlana Kuznetsova.

I see the winner of a potential Halep/Andreescu matchup winning this quarter.

Plenty of Talent in 3rd Quarter

The standout players in this quarter have to be Karolina Pliskova (3), Elina Svitolina (5) and Madison Keys (10).

Pliskova has to be considered among the favorites, given she’s won three titles this year already and has a singles record of 42-12. She’s been ranked among the WTA Top 5 for most of the season. She’s ranked either second or third since May 20.

Her performances at the grand slams this year have seen her reach the semis in Australia, round of 32 in France and round of 16 at Wimbledon. In the past three US Opens Pliskova has reached back-to-back quarterfinals, as well as the finals in 2016.

In Toronto, she lost to eventual champion Andreescu in the quarterfinals. In Cincinnati, she looked to be well on her way to the semifinals, taking a 6-3 first set win over Svetlana Kuznetsova. However, Kuznetsova would reply with 7-6 (7-2) and 6-3 set wins to pull off the upset.

Svitolina and Keys Among Contenders

Ukranian Svitolina is typically within the contenders in most tournaments. She reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and semis at Wimbledon but has yet to walk away with the top prize from a major event. Reaching the semis at Wimbledon was a new career-high for Svitolina at a slam.

Since, she’s reached the quarterfinals of both the Silicon Valley Classic and Rogers Cup, before a quick two-match exit in the round of 16 in Cincinnati.

While she may, in fact, benefit from the extra rest and has been improving, she’s still yet to take that next step in becoming a dominant player in women’s tennis. In fact, she’s never advanced past the round of 16 at the US Open in seven tries.

Keys is ranked tenth in the world and in addition to reaching the semis of the US Open last year, she also reached the final in 2017. In fact, she’s now reached at least the quarters in four of the past seven slams. She is 19-7 at the US Open and 68-28 at grand slam events in her career.

Keys is coming off a title win, her second of the year, in Cincinnati, though previously, she had played just four matches in the three tournaments prior.

Kenin Could Offer US Open Value

There’s a potential for an all-American matchup in the third round between Keys and 20-year-old Sofia Kenin.

This will be Kenin’s fifth appearance at the US Open, having previously never progressed past the round of 32. That was the best finish at a Grand Slam for her last year.

And while she could only reach the round of 64 at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2019, she had her best-ever showing at a major at the French Open, reaching the round of 16. Roland-Garros included a straight-sets win over Serena Williams in the third round.

Now 20th ranked in the world, Kenin has been cashing tickets for her backers of late. The ranking is a new high for the American, having started the year ranked 56th.

The month of August has been especially strong for Kenin. She reached the semifinals of the Rogers Cup, losing to eventual winner Bianca Andreescu. The tournament also included high-profile wins over Ashleigh Barty and Svitolina.

In Cincinnati, Kenin’s hot streak continued with another win over Svitolina, advancing past Osaka through retirement, and again losing to an eventual tournament champion Keys in the semis. It was a close match, 7-5 6-4 for Keys, and Kenin got the better of Keys earlier this year in Rome 6-7(2) 6-3 6-4.

Keys (+400) or Kenin (+800) could be good value to come out of this quarter.

Williams Still Eyeing Record 24th Title

The 4th Quarter sees tournament favorite Serena Williams returning to Flushing Meadows, the scene of a controversial loss to Osaka in the finals last year after a disagreement with an umpire cost her a game penalty. She’ll be hoping to return to the finals and match the all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles held by Margaret Court.

That aside, she faces a huge first-round match against Maria Sharapova. She’ll also have to contend with health concerns, something that has plagued her for most of the year.

Serena pulled out of Rogers Cup final vs Andreescu and withdrew from Cincinnati with back spasms. Can she contend? Of course. However, her short price, compared to her recent results and injury history make her an unappealing bet. Of the top-ranked players on the WTA Tour, Serena has played in the fewest events this year, with just 11.

This year hasn’t been as strong for Kerber. Her best showing at a Grand Slam was the round of 16 in Australia.

Can Barty Win Second Slam of Year?

Ashleigh Barty enters as Serena’s toughest competition in the quarter. Barty is having a career year, currently ranked second overall. Her performances in majors this year have been strong, having reached the quarters in Australia and winning her first Grand Slam event at Roland-Garros. At Wimbledon, she progressed rather easily to the round of 16 but was upset by Alison Riske.

Since, she made a quick exit in her first match of the Rogers Cup in a loss to Kenin, before making a deep run to the semis at the Western & Southern Open. Once again she was upset by a lower-ranked player in Kuznetsova.

Prior to that match, she needed a hard-fought win over Greek Maria Sakkari in the quarters, where Sakkari won the opening set 7-2. The two could potentially meet again in the third round. Barty is 3-1 lifetime against Sakkari and has been incredible this year with a 42-8 singles record.

Kerber Out of Form

The quarter also includes Angelique Kerber, a previous winner at this event, having lifted the trophy in 2016. She had an incredible 2018 at major tournaments reaching a quarterfinal, semifinal and winning one title. In the US Open though, she could only reach the round of 32.

This year hasn’t been as strong for the German. Her best showing at a Grand Slam was the round of 16 in Australia.

Since losing in the finals of the Eastbourne International to Pliskova on June 29, Kerber has played very little tennis. She lasted just two matches at Wimbledon, before losing in both of her opening matches at the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati Masters.

WTA US Open Best Bet

As has been the case most of the season, the women’s game is generally wide-open. There was a different winner in each of the year’s first 18 tournaments. You can see below that outside of Serena Williams, who also reached the finals in 2011 and 2018, the event has been up for grabs in recent years.

Recent WTA US Open Cup Winners

Player (Country) Year
Naomi Osaka (JPN) 2018
Sloane Stephens (USA) 2017
Angelique Kerber (GER) 2016
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 2015
Serena Williams (USA) 2014
Serena Williams (USA) 2013
Serena Williams (USA) 2012
Samantha Stosur (AUS) 2011
Kim Clijsters (BEL) 2010
Kim Clijsters (BEL) 2009

While the Western & Southern Open may be a good warm-up for the slam, success in Cincy doesn’t always add up to success in New York.

Last year the quarterfinals at the Western & Southern Open included Keys, Sabalenka, Svitolina, Bertens, Halep, Kvitova and Elise Mertens. Of those, only Keys could even make it back to the quarters at the US Open and eventually bowed out in the semis.

But I’m going to bank on Keys continuing her strong recent form and back her to progress to the final from the bottom half of the bracket. On the top half, it’s hard not to like everything Andreescu has been putting out there lately. I’d bet each of them and hope one or both can reach the final.

WTA US Open Picks: Andreescu and Keys to win – both at +1400

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