The US Open is the last of the four Grand Slams on the season, the last opportunity for major glory. Join us as we preview the odds and deliver our tennis picks for your consideration.
Upsets and Underdogs were the story of Wimbledon Betting
Ahead of Wimbledon (short of a crystal ball), few would have predicted that neither one of the top two players in the women’s game – Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova – would feature in the final, much less have predicted Marion Bartoli would be hoisting the trophy at the end of the fortnight in their stead or at the expense of the many other short-odds on favourites for that matter. Of course, if you had such a sage crystal ball, kudos to you. For the rest of us, it was just one of those extraordinarily weird two weeks in tennis betting that turned the market on its head.
So, what can bettors expect from the upcoming US Open? Should we take a page from “Wimblewierd” (as some have called it) or should we revert back to the old ways?
Odds makers certainly have reverted back to the old ways installing the familiar hierarchy of players at the forefront of the tennis futures market for the US Open – that they crashed and burned prematurely in London hasn’t altered their stock value whatsoever. Again, Serena Williams heads the field of players as the -120 favourite at Bet365 to win outright. Behind her stand the ever-present Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, listed at +350 and +500 to win outright, respectively.
The market implications here are obvious: Wimbledon was just a freak aberration, an unusual one-off Grand Slam that is unlikely to occur again or at least in such proportion.
After the usual suspects, Petra Kvitova (2011 Wimbledon champion) follows, maintaining her place amongst the top contenders for the title as the fourth favourite at +1200. She had a good Wimbledon, reaching the quarters before losing to Flipkens – although she was suffering from a terrible virus at that time and had she been healthy might have gone further. Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska who also factored at Wimbledon – going deep into the tournament – come in behind Kvitova. Li Na is listed at +1600 while Radwanska is tipped at +2000.
Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisiciki and Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli have seen their stock rise since their respective Cinderella runs. Both are at betting odds of +2500 to win the US Open title, identical to former US Open champion Samantha Stosur. The chance though that they’d replicate their fortnight at the All England Club in Flushing meadows is a long shot really. Well, theoretically, Lisicki could because her credibility and stock value is enforced by the big names that she beat along the way including Serena Williams. Bartoli on the other hand didn’t face a player of note through the course of her run. Not to take anything away from the Frenchwoman just because she managed to capitalized on the fact that most of the marquee names rolled, but one would think had they not all rolled so prematurely, winning Wimbledon would have been a much tougher ask for Bartoli than it was in the end.
Outside plays lurk in the mix
Of the outside plays that lurk in the betting market, Angelique Kerber at +2800 and Sloane Stephens listed at +3300 are two that many believe have a punters chance. Kerber reached the US Open semis in 2011 as well as the Wimbledon semis in 2012 – she’s been making inroads but has yet to make that major breakthrough. Similarly, Sloane Stephens, who reached the Australian Open semis earlier this year after beating Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, has made significant strides. She also has the added advantage of being American, so crowd support at Flushing Meadows will be a factor.
Tennis Betting Verdict
Since the current landscape for the US Open title mimics all previous Grand Slam markets almost to the letter, bettors would be correct to assume that smart money is on one of the several top favourites – big names that speak for themselves. Experience is an intangible commodity that invariably factors at the Grand Slam stage and comes up trumps – heck, it even factored in the final between Lisicki and Bartoli. Bartoli had the advantage of experience over Lisicki having already made it to the Wimbledon final in 2007. That said it is always theoretically possible that a first-time champion would emerge. Trick is to pick the right ones. Therein lies the problem. One that not until the US Open series officially kicks off, and we see which of the outside plays look to be coming into form on hard courts, we can narrow down the options to the best picks amongst the lot of them.