This year’s iteration of the U.S. Open is about a week away, with a stellar cast of players poised to compete for the fourth and final Grand Slam of 2018.
The tournament is set to one of most keenly contested for years, particularly with Novak Djokovic having rediscovered his best form and prevailed at Wimbledon in July. This will also be the first U.S Open since 2015 to feature the game’s so-called ‘big four’, with 2012 winner Andy Murray also poised to return after a serious hip injury.
So while tennis fans may have been distracted by the controversial proposals to reform the Davis Cup, anticipation is beginning to build ahead of the 138th U.S Open. But who’s likely to prevail at Flushing Meadows?
Novak’s the favourite, but not by much
If you look at the majority of reputable sports betting brands listed on OnlineSportsBettingSites.uk, SW19 winner and 13-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic is the early favourite for the U.S Open.
The hard court specialist will certainly arrive in bullish mood, while the fact that he has won on two previous occasions at Flushing Meadows (in 2011 and 2015) more than justifies a starting price of around 3/1.
However, the Serbian is hardly the overwhelming front-runner with bookmakers, with world number one Rafa Nadal and 20-time Slam winner Roger Federer both available at odds of around 4/1.
These two stars, who have won an incredible 37 Major honours between them, have enjoyed a tremendous resurgence of late, while Spaniard Nadal will be keen to defend the title he won last year. The pair have also won six of the last seven Grand Slams, so it would be foolhardy to discount them this time around.
There’s no doubt that these three players are expected to dominate in New York, particularly as their career resumes showcase a combined total of 50 Slams and 10 U.S. Open titles. It’s fair to say that Djokovic and Nadal probably offer the best value at present, although we should note that the Spaniard’s number one ranking will arguably afford him an easier route to the final.
Who else may challenge at Flushing Meadows?
As we’ve already said, the return of Murray means that the big four will complete in New York for the first time in three years.
The Brit will certainly be looking to enjoy a positive run at Flushing Meadows, although it’s unlikely that he has any real designs on winning the tournament. He certainly looked short of his best when losing to Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the first round of the Cincinnati Open last week, and he has very little time to improve ahead of the tournament.
Murray has also been priced at a ridiculously short 16/1 to win by most bookmakers, which offers scant value given his lack of match sharpness and the level of competition that he’s likely to face.
However, the same cannot be said for the 2009 U.S Open winner and world number three Juan Martin Del Potro, who has finally recovered from a number of debilitating wrist injuries to enjoy a stellar 2018.
He won his first ever ATP Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open, while also reaching his maiden French Open semi-final. He was unfortunate to lose to Nadal at the Wimbledon quarters, but there’s no doubt he has re-established himself as one of the world’s very best performers over the course of the last 12 months.
With a powerful serve and monstrous forehand, Del Potro’s entire game is tailor-made for the hard courts of the U.S Open, while he’ll arrive at the scene of his first major win brimming with confidence. With these points in mind, a starting price of 12/1 offers exceptional value, and you’d certainly expect the Argentine to go deep into the tournament.
The Last Word
While there are three clear contenders to win the 138th iteration of the U.S Open, the field of potential winners extends far beyond this.
This includes Del Potro, Marin Cilic, Stan Wawrinka and the returning Murray, each of whom has previously lifted the coveted title at Flushing Meadows. Beaten U.S Open and Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson must also be considered as a key contender, while the precocious world number four Alexander Zverev will surely translate his outstanding ATP form on the Grand Slam stage sooner rather than later.
It’s also fair to surmise that the U.S Open is one of the more unpredictable Grand Slam tournaments, with five different winners in the last six years. This makes it hard to pick a winner, but it does ensure that we’ll see a close and exciting tournament that features plenty of twists and turns.
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