The US Open Tennis tournament begins at Flushing Meadows on Monday 26th August with both Serena Williams and Andy Murray aiming to successfully defend their 2012 titles.
Murray will face the usual challenges from Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and a resurgent Rafael Nadal, whereas Victoria Azarenka has recovered from the knee injury sustained at Wimbledon to ensure that she will provide tough opposition in the Ladies section.
Fresh from his Wimbledon triumph and his success in the US Open final against Djokovic last year, Andy Murray can be backed at 21/5 with Sporting Bet to retain his title, but he has not enjoyed much success in the past few weeks. Yet, he cannot be dismissed from the reckoning as he proved when emerging in peak condition for the Wimbledon tournament after missing the French Open.
Murray is scheduled to meet Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals this year and the Serbian will be eager to clinch his first tournament victory since claiming the Monte Carlo Masters in April. He is 9/4 with Coral to add the US crown to his Australian Open win in January and he has been a finalist in each of the last three years.
Favourite for the title is Rafael Nadal who is priced at 2/1 by Ladbrokes and who has clinched nine tournament successes this year including two triumphs since his shock first round Wimbledon defeat. The French Open winner is unbeaten on hard courts during 2013 and was a winner at Flushing Meadows in 2010.
Nadal’s potential semi-final opponent will be seventh seed Roger Federer who has only won one tournament during 2013. He is priced as high as 16/1 with Paddy Power and he lost to his Spanish rival in quarter-finals of the recent Western and Southern Open. Federer has failed to reach any of the major finals this season and has been edging down the rankings but he has won this tournament on five previous occasions, the latest being in 2008.
Other contenders who are worth considering include Juan Martin del Potro, priced at 16/1 by Sporting Bet, and who won at Flushing Meadows in 2009 besides claiming victory in the Citi Open just three weeks previously. John Isner has been runner-up in two hard court tournaments during August and is offered at 80/1 by Boylesports with half the odds for being
Among other bets are a Nadal/Djokovic final being offered at 7/4 by Bet365, who quote 11/4 on Murray and Nadal being the finalists. Bet365 are also offering Even money on Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka meeting in the ladies final.
Serena Williams will be hoping to repeat her 2012 success but she disappointed at Wimbledon losing out to Sabine Lisicki in the quarter-finals after winning the French Open. She is priced at 4/5 by SkyBet to win this tournament but despite two wins since Wimbledon, she was beaten by Azarenka in the Western and Southern Open final last week.
The Belarusian is offered at 7/2 by Sporting Bet and is hard court specialist having won the Australian Open earlier this year. Injuries have affected her summer schedule, including withdrawing from Wimbledon, but her return to form in Cincinnati is a clear sign that she is capable of overturning her defeat by Serena Williams in the final last year and clinch
her first US Open.
However, Samantha Stosur is very capable of causing an upset. The 2011 US Open winner defeated Azarenka in straight sets in the recent Southern Californian Open final, although her performances in grand slams during 2013 have been rather disappointing. Paddy Power offer her at 33/1.
Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska is 18/1 at Bet Victor and cannot be ignored. The improving Pole was a semi-finalist in Wimbledon after reaching the quarter-finals in both the Australian and French Opens.
Another bet worth considering is that offered by Bwin in pricing 33/10 for the top three ladies seeds being semi-finalists.
Should the US Open follow the same trend as this year’s Wimbledon tournament, there could be some further shock results with unheralded contenders emerging from the market outsiders.