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Do Roger Federer & Serena Williams Offer Value to Win Their First Grand Slam Title of 2019 at the US Open?

Dave Friedman

by Dave Friedman in Tennis

Updated Mar 27, 2020 · 6:50 AM PDT

Serena Williams vying for another major title
Serena Williams at the U.S. Open Photo by Edwin Martinez from The Bronx(Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].
  • The last major tennis tournament of the year, the U.S. Open, begins August 26
  • All-time greats Roger Federer and Serena Williams have not won a major in 2019
  • Do either present strong betting value in New York?

Roger Federer and Serena Williams are among a very small group in discussion for GOAT status. Either or both of them could be considered the greatest tennis player of all time. Both came up one match short of winning Wimbledon. Will they win the 2019 US Open?

Roger and Serena are 37 years old and together have won 43 major titles. However, Roger last won a major at the start of 2018, and Serena’s most-recent victory was at the beginning of 2017. Our U.S. Open odds tracker shows that Serena is more likely than Roger to win in NYC. Let’s look at the updated numbers, and consider the competition.

Men’s Odds to Win 2019 U.S. Open: Top-Five Favorites

Player Odds
Novak Djokovic +125
Rafael Nadal +350
Roger Federer +550
Alexander Zverev +1000
Juan Martin Del Potro +1200

*Odds taken 07/15/19

As has been the case for over a decade, the odds indicate that three players — Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Federer — are the clear favorites.

One of Federer’s issues has been the extreme level of competition. The trio has won 54 major titles, including each of the last 11. Federer (20), Nadal (18), and Djokovic (16) are the three biggest major winners in men’s tennis history.

Roger Federer

He will be 38 when play begins in New York. A five-time U.S. Open champ, Federer won his titles consecutively from 2004-08. He has lost in the finals twice, to Juan Martin Del Potro in 2009, and Djokovic in 2015.

Federer’s best major is Wimbledon. He has won it a record eight times. Djokovic outlasted him in the first-ever fifth-set 12-12 tiebreak on Sunday. You can take the result two ways. On one hand, Federer was every bit as good as Djokovic, after beating Nadal two days earlier. On the flip side, Federer played his A-game in his best venue and still came up short.

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Quality of Competition on the ATP Tour

The reason Serena has a better chance to win any given tournament than Roger is the competition. Women’s tennis has many good players, but no standouts. Federer faces all time greats any time he is pursuing a major title.

Nadal has won the U.S. Open three times, the last in 2017. While he continues to dominate the French Open, having won a record 12 titles at Roland Garros, he is playing great tennis right now. Nadal has reached the semis of six straight majors, winning the two in Paris. Djokovic beat him in straight sets at this year’s Australian Open Final.

Djokovic is the number-one ranked player in the world now for very good reason. While he is not loved by the public, his play is remarkable. Djokovic has won four of the last five majors, and is the defending U.S. Open champ. He has won in New York three times, total, and reached the final on eight occasions. Ten of his 16 major titles have come on hard courts.

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Women’s Odds to Win 2019 U.S. Open: Top-Six Favorites

Player Odds
Serena Williams +350
Naomi Osaka +700
Simona Halep +900
Sloane Stephens +1000
Petra Kvitova +1000
Angelique Kerber +1000

*Odds taken 07/15/19

Kind of the opposite of men’s tennis, there is no consistent top-flight competition on the women’s tour. Serena is the favorite by default, and while you can make an argument for many players, it is hard to pinpoint her biggest rivals tournament-to-tournament.

Serena Williams

Her legacy is unquestioned, 23 major titles including at least three at each historic venue. Serena has won the U.S. Open six times, her first coming in 1999, and most recent in 2014. Last year she lost to Naomi Osaka in the Final, and that has become a trend.

Since returning from giving birth, Serena has played in six majors without winning one. Three times she has reached the final and fallen short. That is what happened on Saturday at Wimbledon when Simona Halep beat her.

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Quality of Competition on the WTA Tour

Last year Osaka’s victory over Serena in New York was overshadowed by what Williams has now apologized for. Pandering aside, Osaka backed up her win in New York with an Australian Open title this year. However, she has not played well of late.

Simona Halep was brilliant on Saturday earning her second major title. She has had a very strong year, but has been eliminated in the first round at the U.S. Open each of the last two years. In 18 appearances at majors played on hard courts, Halep has been to the finals once, and semis twice.

Sloane Stephens, and Angelique Kerber have both won in New York, but neither is playing great nor are they consistently strong at the U.S. Open.

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Who’s the Best Bet?

Father time has started to tap on the shoulder of Federer and Williams. However, they both continue to play at a very high level albeit without winning frequently. Because Federer’s competition is so tough, he is hard to bet on.

Williams on the other hand has a renewed resilience as she tries to become the fourth mother to win a major, and she is one grand=slam title away from tying Margaret Court for the most of all time. She is going to win another, and our bet is she stays in shape following Wimbledon, and gets it done this year in the Big Apple.

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