What makes tennis’ U.S. Open so unique? Other than it being the last major championship of the year, it’s also arguably the most raucous of the four. The players feed off the energy of those boisterous fans from the Big Apple. This year’s event is underway at Flushing Meadows.
U.S. Open Men’s Favourites
Unfortunately, one of the big story lines entering the tournament is who isn’t playing. Former world No. 1s Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are sidelined by injury. Djokovic, who won the U.S. Open in 2011 & ’15, is done for the rest of 2017 with an elbow injury. Murray might be finished for the calendar year as well with a lingering hip problem. He was the 2012 winner of this tournament.
Also missing in action are defending champion Stan Wawrinka, who beat Djokovic in four sets last year, 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori, and the top-ranked Canadian man on the ATP Tour in Milos Raonic following a procedure on his left wrist. All eyes will be on Roger Federer (+175 to win on Sports Interaction tennis odds) and Rafael Nadal (+300). Believe it or not, those two legends have never played a match against one another at the U.S. Open. Nadal just reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the world from Murray and is the top seed in New York. Federer is ranked and seeded third. Unfortunately, they are in the same half of the draw, meaning they could only meet in the semifinals. Should Nadal win this tournament, he’ll remain No. 1 in the world.
Federer would take over the top spot for the first time in five years if he were to win it. The 36-year-old would become the oldest No. 1 in the world since rankings were established in 1973. Federer has won the U.S. Open five times, most recently in 2008. Those five victories are tied with Americans Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras for the most in the Open Era. Of course, Federer is the all-time Grand Slam leader with 19 titles, including this year’s Australian Open and Wimbledon. The previous three times he entered this tournament as the reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, he won the U.S. Open.
Nadal is a two-time U.S. Open champion (2010, ’13). The Spaniard’s 15 Grand Slam titles are second only to Federer and he won a 10th French Open crown earlier this year. The top players on the other side of the draw are No. 4 Alexander Zverev (+450), a rising star at age 21, and No. 5 Marin Cilic (+1600), the 2014 U.S. Open champion.
No Canadian male has won the U.S. Open. Denis Shapovalov is +20000 to do so. It’s only his second Grand Slam tournament after losing in Round 1 at Wimbledon.
U.S. Open Women’s Favourites
Missing from the women’s side is six-time champion Serena Williams, who would have been favoured but remains out the rest of the year due to pregnancy, and Victoria Azarenka due to a family situation. Azarenka just returned to tennis in June after taking time off to give birth to her son. Azarenka, a former No. 1, was the runner-up in New York in 2012 and 2013, losing in the final each year to Serena.
Garbine Muguruza opened as the +600 favourite and is the third seed – she already won her first-round match in straight sets over Varvara Lepchenko. Muguruza won Wimbledon back in July but hasn’t been past the second round in four previous U.S. Opens.
Muguruza could be looking at a semifinal matchup against No. 2 Simona Halep (+900), who has quite the tough first-round match against wild-card entrant and 2006 champion Maria Sharapova (+900). The top seed is Karolina Pliskova (+700), who lost the 2016 final in three sets to Angelique Kerber (+1200). Those two are also on a potential semifinal collision course.
Canadian Eugenie Bouchard is +6600 and opens play vs. Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina. Should Bouchard win that, No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina (+1000) is likely up next. No Canadian female has won the tournament.
U.S. Open Predictions
Federer has a losing career record vs. Nadal but is 3-0 against him this year so take the Swiss star to win U.S. Open title No. 6. Go with No. 7 Johanna Konta (+800) of Britain to win her first Grand Slam title among the ladies. She reached the semis at Wimbledon.