Let’s delve into the US Open odds on the women’s front, mainly bookmakers’ short list of top ten favourites all while previewing their current form and results in the US Open Series swing in order to fashion a power ranking for your consideration.
Emirates US Open Series scoreboard
True to form, Serena Williams has won the Emirates US Open Series by an overwhelming margin, amassing 430 points on the heels of a win in Stanford and Cincinnati and semi-final finish in Montreal. Angelique Kerber trails behind Serena with 150 points while Agnieszka Radwanska, the big winner in Montreal, acquired 125 points. Other notables on the scoreboard include Ana Ivanovic and Venus Williams (co-fourth with 85 points), Caroline Wozniacki (sixth with 70 points), Maria Sharapova (seventh with 60 points), Ekaterina Makarova (eighth with 45 points) and Jelena Jankovic and Carla Suarez Navarro (co-ninth with 40 points).
True to form, bookies have installed Serena Williams as the hot favourite to win outright at +163. Any symmetry between the US Open odds and the US Open Series scoreboard begins and ends with Serena. Sharapova is the second favourite to win outright at +550 while slam~less wonders Simona Halep and Eugenie Bouchard are third and fourth favourites at +700 and +900, respectively. The 2014 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova emerges as the fifth favourite at +1000, a position she holds with Victoria Azarenka...and so on. The discrepancies continue.
So is this Serena’s title to win?
Despite going a season without a Grand Slam to her name yet, Serena is the top favourite to win outright. Such is the weight of her reputation and credentials in tennis betting markets. What about the rest of the WTA field headed into the US Open. Is there a contender amongst them that tennis bettors should spot? We’ve sorted our power rankings for the women headed into the US Open; those that we feel have a reasonable shot at the title.
10. Eugenie Bouchard (+900) – It would appear bookies are downplaying the significance of Bouchard’s defeat in the Wimbledon final where she lost the second set 6-0, instead putting stock into all she’d accomplished prior to that disappointing day at the All England Club for the Canadian starlet, all of six months or so. To come so close only to lose so badly, well, that has to take its toll especially on a young player that has yet to fully undergo the maturation process. Signs that all wasn’t well in the Genie camp were revealed in back-to-back exits in Montreal and Cincinnati, two disappointments that have forced her to seek additional match play at the Connecticut Open this week. Not that it did much good as she fell in the second round to Samantha Stosur. With confidence on the decline ahead of the US Open and the burden of expectation showing finally, it’s unlikely Eugenie Bouchard will win the US Open title. It’s worth noting that Bouchard only just won her maiden WTA title not so long ago. Hence, she’s at the bottom of our power rankings.
9. Victoria Azarenka (+1000) – The Belarusian knows how to win Grand Slams having won a pair of Australian Open titles. What’s more, she was the runner-up at the US Open in 2012 and 2013, losing to Serena Williams in the final both times. This season however has been trying for Azarenka, struggling with various ailments and injuries and falling out of the top ten. Sheer guts and determination got her through to the Montreal quarterfinals but she’ll need to be in better form and 100% fit if she’s to go that far at the US Open, never mind win the title. With more questions than answers about where her fitness is at the moment, she’s ninth on our rankings. That said if she does find her A-game, she’s the player to spot.
8. Caroline Wozniacki (+2200) – Former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki is experiencing a resurgence, winning a title in Istanbul and then reaching the quarters in Montreal and semis in Cincinnati to move into sixth place in the US Open Series standings. Both times she faced Serena and won the first set before losing in three sets. There’s a lot of upside for Wozniacki if she continues on that form at Flushing Meadow.
7. Venus Williams (+3300) – In reaching the Rogers Cup final behind a win over Serena in the semis, Venus Williams returns into the conversation. Although we feel winning the US Open title might be unlikely (but not impossible) where Venus is concerned, she arrives in Flushing Meadows on good form and that’s worth mentioning. She might not win, but she makes a good case to go deep, bar a terrible draw. Keep in mind she’s a multiple champion in her own right.
6. Simona Halep (+700) – The Romanian is enjoying a standout season with a 38-11 mark and two titles. Her most notable run was at the French Open where she finished runner-up to Maria Sharapova after a valiant three-set marathon. Halep is one of the most athletic players on the tour. She fares well against most players and largely down to a busy schedule and good results she’s all the way up to No.2 in the rankings. That said she’s not had a great warm-up run, playing only in Cincinnati where she lost to Maria Sharapova in three sets in the quarterfinals. Of course, there is no reason to assume she can’t find her ‘A’ game in New York, but the combination of the fast hard courts at Flushing Meadows with a top power-player isn’t the best match up for her. To date, she has never beaten Serena, Sharapova or Azarenka (0-10 combined) and she has losing records against other credible threats such as Venus and Radwanska, to name a few.
5. Agnieszka Radwanska (+2200) – Polish starlet Agnieszka Radwanska is one of the most versatile players on the women’s tour; she won’t out hit a power-player but she can, outthink, outwit and outmanoeuvre just about any player with the entire contents of her bag of shots. She’s definitely a player to watch after winning the Rogers Cup and reaching the Cincinnati quarters.
4. Ana Ivanovic (+3300) – The Serbian participated in one of the best matches of the season when she beat Maria Sharapova in the Cincinnati semi-finals, second only to the Sharapova-Halep clash at the French Open in our opinion. Ivanovic a former World No.1 and French Open champion is back inside the top ten following her runner-up finish to Serena Williams in Cincy. When Ivanovic’s forehand is on, she can blow just about anybody off the court, even the great Serena – her win over the American at the Australian Open is case and point. If she can build on newfangled confidence, she could be a delightful tennis pick at the generous price of +3300 to win outright.
3. Petra Kvitova (+1000) – Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova hasn’t enjoyed a great US Open Series to date with early exits in Montreal and Cincinnati. It could be just a post-Wimbledon hangover or a complete return to her inconsistent ways, blowing hot and cold as she goes from tournament to tournament. Time will tell. One thing is absolutely certain: when she’s on she can play lights out tennis. Her raw power is of the Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova ilk and there’s no reason why she couldn’t win more Grand Slam titles especially on hard courts that are well suited to her game. The one thing that seems to hold her back – at both the Australian and US Open – is her asthma, which gets worse at both these events.
2. Maria Sharapova (+400) – The imperious Russian tennis star is the correct second favourite to win outright in our opinion, largely down to her incredible season and consistency. Plus, she’s the ultimate competitor and fighter, second only to Serena Williams – her nemesis and greatest threat at the US Open. Sharapova won the French Open title this season, her second in Paris and fifth overall. She’d love to make it a second in New York, naturally. She’s enjoyed a good showing in Montreal and an even better showing in Cincinnati where she reached the semis.
1. Serena Williams (+163) – It’s not like Serena to finish a season without a Grand Slam title. She’s missed three opportunities this year to win her 18th title. This is her last chance and, arguably, best chance given that it’s a home event and her favourite surface. What’s more, as the winner of the US Open Series, she stands to win a bonus $1 million dollars if she wins the title, rounding out her potential paycheque to $4 million dollars ($3 million prize money plus bonus challenge money). If that isn’t incentive, what is?