The last Grand Slam of the tennis season is also the most unpredictable. The men’s and women’s singles divisions have had 14 champions over the past ten competitions. The most recent back-to-back US Open champions were Serena Williams in 2014 and Roger Federer in 2008.
More than most sports, tennis depends on the quality and characteristics of the court, and the US Open is one of two Grand Slam events played on a hard court surface. Hard courts are faster than the clay surfaces at the French Open but slower than Wimbledon’s grass, while their bounce is higher than grass and more consistent than clay.
Theoretically, hard courts are therefore suitable for a broader range of players, but the evidence suggests that some players are more effective on hard courts than others, and it usually makes sense to favor those with a good record on the surface and at this tournament.
Swiatek Looks Vulnerable at Flushing Meadow
When she lifted the French Open earlier this season, Iga Swiatek looked unbeatable. But her form has slumped since June, and she looks vulnerable ahead of Flushing Meadow. She failed to make the last 16 at Wimbledon and hasn’t been further than the quarter-finals in her last three WTA tournaments.
Her latest setback came at the Cincinnati Masters when she lost to US player Madison Keyes in the last sixteen, after which she was complaining about the tennis balls used on the US leg of the WTA Tour. That isn’t a good sign for a player whose best performances have come on clay.
It is also worth noting that since 2016, this event has been extremely unpredictable, particularly the women’s singles competition, not least when world-ranked 150 Emma Raducanu won it last year. Swiatek may just need a recharge after a draining six months, but she doesn’t look like a good bet here.
Three weeks back, Simona Halep looked like a good pick for the US Open, but after her victory in Toronto, her price has dropped in the futures markets and she withdrew from Cincinnati with a thigh injury, so doesn’t look like the best option. The same goes for Cori Gauff, who will surely be US Open champion at some point in her career but suffered a serious injury in Cincinnati.
Among the favorites for the women’s singles, Aryna Sabalenka appears to be hitting form, reaching the final last time, and given that her best Grand Slam performance so far came in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadow last year, she looks a good bet. Defending champion Emma Raducanu is also finding her best form and could be worth a small wager to retain her title.
Novak Djokovic currently heads the betting for the US Open men’s singles, but that may change in the days ahead. As the tournament draws closer, it is increasingly likely that he won’t be participating due to his refusal to accept the COVID-19 vaccine.
If wagering on Djokovic is a risk, the same can be said for his main rival, Rafael Nadal, whose fitness issues mean he is liable to withdraw at any time. That leaves Daniil Medvedev with an excellent chance of retaining his US Open title, but there is very little value in his current odds.
Among the favorites, Carlos Alcaraz looks a better option, having reached the quarter-finals last year. His combination of mental toughness and the powerful hard-court game makes him a dangerous opponent who is still improving. And at big odds, consider backing 2020 winner Dominic Thiem. His comeback in recent weeks has seen him reach the semi-finals in Switzerland and the last eight at the Austrian Open, and he surely has a better chance than his current price suggests.
For more than a decade and a half, Teri Geis has carved a niche in the world of betting. Her writing has graced the pages of some of the industry's heavy hitters, including the likes of Betfair, ESPN, and Sporting Life. With her extensive understanding of sports betting, readers can now peruse her insightful reviews, features, and previews here on this website.