The final Grand Slam of the season gets underway in New York on Monday and with the exception of the injured Rafa Nadal, all of the big guns are in attendance in both the men's and women's events. Who are the odds favorites to win, and who could hold the best betting value for our picks?
The favourite with the bookmakers here is
Novak Djokovic, and having won the last three Grand Slams to be played on hard
court surfaces, it's easy to see why.
Djokovic odds will have been further
shortened by his presence in the bottom half of the draw, which means he would
not have to face either Murray or Federer until the final.
The concern for Novak will be that he does
not have the momentum right now. He was a Masters winner in Toronto
a couple of weeks ago but Federer was not playing and Murray dropped out early on with injury. The
following week in Cincinnati,
Djokovic came up against Federer in the final and was humbled 6-0 in the
opening set, before going on to drop the second set on a tie-break.
Having said all that, we mustn't forget the
absolute epic battle which Djokovic and Federer had in the semis here last
year, and it was Novak who held his nerve to come through that one.
At odds of around 8/5 for the title, it's
very tough to back against the Serb.
In the top half of the draw Murray and
Federer appear to be on a semi-final collision course. Federer swept past the Murray to win Wimbledon
in June, however the Scot exacted his revenge when he defeated Federer
comfortably to claim the gold medal at London 2012.
Murray has a tough looking run to the last four, but he'll be so high on
confidence that you'd expect him to make it there. Federer, similarly is being
carried along by a wave of momentum. A semi-final match-up between the two,
could well provide the best action of the fortnight.
Murray comes with the better value odds of 4/1, with Federer just a shade
ahead at 7/2.
Elsewhere in the draw, Juan Martin Del
Potro could be the man most likely to benefit from the withdrawal of Rafa Nadal
and may meet Djokovic in the semis, however John Isner will also be very
hopeful of making in impact on that quarter of the draw and having defeated
Djokovic on hard courts in the Indian Wells semis this year, it would be
fascinating to see the big serving American progressing deep into this event.
Del Potro can be backed at odds of near on
16/1 but the 80/1 on offer for Isner are certainly very tempting and could well
be worth an each-way wager.
In the Women's event, it all seems to be
about Serena Williams. Serena came into this event as the favourite last year and
coasted through to the final before suffering a shock defeat to Aussie, Sam
Williams is the favourite here again but
the difference this time around is that she has the Wimbledon
trophy and an Olympic gold medal sitting safely at home.
Serena is an evens chance for success here
and whilst the value isn't really there for me, it is difficult to see who is
going to be able to stop her.
Victoria Azarenka had an almost perfect
start to 2012 on the hard courts and was a winner in Australia and Indian Wells. Her
form has tailed off in the last few months though and it'll be a big ask for
the Belarusian to rediscover the levels of confidence she had earlier in the
Azarenka, Sharapova and Kvitova all find
themselves in the same half of the draw and whilst they'll be pleased to have
avoided Serena Williams until the final, it's tough picking out which of them
will make it that far.
Kvitova will have been devastated to lose
in the first round here last year but has less pressure on her shoulders this
time around and the 11/1 for the Czech does look like good value. Meanwhile,
Sharapova looked on course for domination when she picked up the French Open
title back in June. Not a lot has gone right for the Russian since.
Out of the three, I would be tempted to
back Kvitova to make the final here, but no matter who goes all the way in the
top half of the draw they will still be most likely faced with the
insurmountable challenge of Serena Williams in the final.
Tennis Picks -
Men's - Novak Djokovic Women's - Serena Williams