Andy Murray is very much the man in form, having recently won his second Wimbledon title and gone on to defend his Olympic crown. He also won at Queen’s earlier in the summer and was on a 22-match unbeaten run before losing to Marin Cilic in the final of the Cincinnati Masters, when he was understandably quite fatigued following his exertions in Rio. He is playing as well as ever and has fond memories of the US Open, having won his first Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows four years ago - straight after his win at London 2012.
It has been quite a different tale for Novak Djokovic over the past couple of months. Having previously looked close to invincible, he was knocked out of both Wimbledon and the Olympics surprisingly early and then withdrew from Cincinnati due to a recurring wrist problem. The state of his wrist will be the biggest factor in New York, because he was unfortunate to come up against inspired opponents in Sam Querrey and Juan Martin del Potro in the last two big tournaments when he was not quite at his best. If he is in peak condition, Djokovic and Murray remain in a different league to the rest of the field, especially with Roger Federer absent, so straight forecast odds of 9/2 on Murray to beat Djokovic in the final almost look too good to miss.
Del Potro has emerged as the fourth favourite following his run to the final in Rio, but a repeat of his 2009 success at the US Open looks very unlikely. He is still ranked 142nd in the world following an injury-ravaged few years and playing seven five-set matches back-to-back would be a huge challenge for the 6ft 6in Argentine, known as the ‘Tower of Tandil’, although none of the seeds will want to see him in their section of the draw. A more tempting outsider might be Marin Cilic at 25/1, as the Croatian won the US Open just two years ago, reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and kept his form going by winning in Cincinnati.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Murray to beat Djokovic in the final - 9/2
Serena Williams is the clear favourite after equalling Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon, but her price of close to evens may deter many punters. Williams was stunned by Elina Svitolina at Rio 2016 and has not quite shown her normal consistency this year, giving Angelique Kerber the opportunity to close in on her No.1 ranking. Kerber has been very solid all season and won the Australian Open, before finishing as runner-up at both Wimbledon and the Olympics.
Rio 2016 champion Monica Puig remains 34th in the world and it will be difficult for her to come down from the high of winning Puerto Rico’s first Olympic gold medal to justify odds of 40/1. A better bet at the same sort of price might be Karolina Pliskova, who demolished both Kerber and world No.3 Garbine Muguruza on her way to winning the Cincinnati title and has the big serve and powerful groundstrokes to prosper at Flushing Meadows.
Muguruza has similar qualities to Pliskova, but has been far too up and down since winning her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros to inspire much confidence, while American Madison Keys could be one to watch on her home turf. The US Open can sometimes produce surprises, with Flavia Pennetta lifting the title as 26th seed last year at the age of 33 before announcing her retirement. It could just be that Pliskova or Keys could have a similar fairytale run this time around.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Karolina Pliskova to win the US Open - 33/1
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.