Sharapova Sharpest For Meadows Mission
Womens' US Open
With defending champion, Serena Williams somewhat out of sorts, the stage is set for the pretenders to her crown to step up to the plate.
The final Grand Slam of the season is unique among the big four tournaments in using a tie break in every set, including the final one, so there are none of the gruelling marathons that you sometimes see in other events. In terms of records, Chris Evert remains the one to catch. She was the only woman to win this event on both clay and hard courts, and holds the record of six US Open titles.
Hard Court, Hard for Punters
Ruling out players because of their poor record on a particular surface is a mainstay of tennis betting, but it’s hard to do that at the US Open. The Deco-Turf courts offer high bounce, so clay-courters are at home, and the speed of the surface helps power-players zip their serves through.
This is particularly true of the women’s game, where surface specialists are rarer. In ten years, six different women have won this event.
Who To Avoid
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is, but Serena Williams has clearly struggled in the big tournaments this year. Although she’s picked up five titles on the WTA Tour, she hasn’t even made it to the last eight of a Grand Slam event. It may be coincidence or it could be that chinks are finally beginning to show in her invincibility, but I think at short odds, it’s worth taking Serena on this year.
If you want to oppose Serena, then you can never look further than Maria Sharapova.
She hasn’t reached the final of the US Open since 2006, but she remains incredibly competitive, with three titles under her belt this year.
She looked as though she was getting back into form when reaching the semi-finals in Cincinnati and odds of 6/1 could end up looking very generous at the end of the tournament.
Since reaching the Wimbledon final, Eugenie Bouchard has gone out of two tournaments at the first opportunity, but that shouldn’t put you off backing her at Flushing Meadow.
In her break through year, she has tended to produce her best in the Grand Slam events, making the last four at Melbourne and Roland Garros as well as the Wimbledon showpiece. Aggressive and versatile, she will fear no-one and represents plenty of value at odds of 12/1.
The last name on the shortlist is a blast from the past. Ana Ivanovic has returned to the top ten for the first time in five years and is rediscovering the kind of form that once made her the world number one.
She has twice beaten Maria Sharapova this year, including in her last tournament in Cincinnati, where she reached the final. She has the momentum, the class and the experience to come through a gruelling fortnight and is an interesting bet at long odds of 33/1.