History… This will be the 141-st edition of the tournament and the modern version of the US National Championship who was played for the first time in August 1881. The competition has been played on hard courts since 1978, but before those 3 years was played on Clay and between 1881 and 1974 on Grass.
Serena Williams has won the event 6 times with Margaret Court at 5.
Last year event was played without fans due to Covid-19 restrictions and Naomi Osaka came from a set and a break down to overcome the resistance from Victoria Azarenka and to claim her 2nd US Open title.
Favourites/Top Seeds/Dark Horses….
Ashleigh Barty continues to add wins and titles to her impressive resume and seems there is no slowing down in sight. The World No.1 has already won 5 titles this year including Miami and most recently Cincinnati and has eclipsed the 10k point total and is about 3k points clear on no.2 Sabalenka, with both not having much to defend in New York. The Australian hasn’t made it through the R4 in her 6 appearances here, but she decided to skip last year’s tournament because of Covid-19 travel restrictions. With 41-7 record from beginning of the year it would require quite the challenge to defeat her, but if so it has to happen in the first couple of rounds as when she starts rolling it would be even tougher afterwards.
Highest seed Asheligh could face in the QF is the no.7 Iga Swiatek. The Polish had played only 2 tournaments since Wimbledon in the beginning of July, and she was defeated both times by players inside top 30 in the face of Badosa and Jabeur. She has struggled playing within the US with 3-3 record and -28% ROI in last 12 months and overall is 31-12 but many of those wins had come via ITF tournaments in 2018 and before against lower competition. Iga will surely get better with time and getting more used to the tour after winning the French Open in 2020, but she lacks hard court confidence and girls such as Olympic champion Belinda Bencic or Anett Kontaveit seems like a good dark horse variant to be tested out to come out on top to face Barty in the QF. Bookies adjusted the prices for Iga but still I think she is a favorite more than she should be based on past results on clay.
Belinda lost in the SF here in 2019 to eventual champion Bianca Andreescu and Anett hasn’t had a much luck in the draws section with running to Belinda in R3 in 2019 and Naomi Osaka last year in R4. The Estonian is due to break out and is basically on one huge underdog win away to do that.
Proposed ¼ final – Ashleigh Barty def. Belinda Bencic
Karolina Pliskova returned to herself after a long period of bad results in which she wasn’t able to string wins together with a Final in Wimbledon and then continued with good form making it to the final in Montreal and SF in Cincinnati. The only blemish in such results is that she lost to Giorgi and Teichmann these matches, and both were outside top 60.
Pliskova best performance at Flushing meadows came in 2016 where she lost the final to Kerber, but since she was able to get at least to the QF 2 times, and with 21-11 record and +22% ROI and recent form she seems like a safe bet to make another strong deep run relying on her strong groundstrokes and heavy serve which surely would work on a quicky hard court they use in New York.
This section has lot of good players that breaking out this year or has had enough good results to deserve mention on these pages.
The ever-resilient Paula Badosa retired against Ka. Pliskova in her QF match in Cincinnati, 2 weeks ago, while down a set and a break, if there is nothing serious in her right shoulder and is healed, she should make life hard to whoever she faces as proven by her ability to beat Sabalenka and Rybakina in the same Cincy tournament. She may be 10-6 on hard courts in 2021 but her ROI is +49%. We will just have to wait and see a match or two if something bothers her injury wise before pulling the trigger for a more long-term bet.
Petra Kvitova is on the same boat as Badosa with a retirement because of Stomach issue in Cincinnati, but with 2 QF under her belt in the past and hard and heavy game she is one to consider for a deep run whenever she steps on the court but she has regressed and If she doesn’t find something to turn around her game I just don’t see her competing in week 2 of this tournament.
Only 17th seed but Maria Sakkari sort of broke out with a SF in French Open and missed a MP for a final birth but Barboara Krejcikova won that match and the title. She was part of R4 last year progressing there for the 1st time and is one to look forward to make another step in the right direction.
Champion in 2019 Bianca Andreescu has a tough schedule ahead of her if she wants to be even close to matching that result. Bianca is just 13-10 on the year and hasn’t won 2 matches in a row since Strasbourg on Clay in May, while losing to player ranked outside top 20 each time.
Proposed ¼ final – Karolina Pliskova def. Maria Sakkari
After early exits in Montreal and Cincinnati Elina Svitolina decided to play a 250 event in Chicago just a week before US Open. So far is pays out with a run to the finals, but without facing a top 50 opponent and basically used to get some needed match practice for the last grand slam of the year.
With a bronze medal from Tokyo just a month ago, her form seems a bit questionable coming in, but she does have 22-9 record on hard courts and made it to the US Open SF just 2 years ago I just doubt there is value for her as a favorite. She finds herself in a quarter with Kasatkina and the winner of Rybakina and Halep/Giorgi could prove to be too much for the Ukrainian.
Simona Halep still trying to get to her old form back but was dealt with yet another injury as she was forced to withdraw before her match vs Pegula in Cincinnati because of a Right Thigh problem. She missed 3 months with Lower leg injury sustained in Rome in May. She faces red-hot Camila Giorgi in what seems to be one of the best R1 encounters ever with Camila winning Montreal with only 1 lost set and scoring 4 underdog wins in the process. Bookies have prices the Giorgi/Halep encounter at tossup.
Kerber has played few tournaments after some really poor results in the first half of the year but she looks like a new person from the Grass season onwards. A SF in Wimbledon and Cincinnati to her credit, both times losing to world number 1 Barty really speaks volumes about the German. Winnign the title in 2016 here and can make things interesting for someone like Naomi Osaka who is her potential R4 opponent.
Naomi Osaka is still struggling to find form after a 3-month taken rest to address her mental health. She was ousted in her home country in R3 in the Olympics and then lost to Jil Teichmann in Cincinnati as a -400 favorite after another month hiatus. 2 time US Open Champion in last 3 years we all know what she is capable of, just there hasn’t been much match practice and things to go her way after she decided to withdraw from French Open after only a round as she ddin’t want to face the Media and give press conferences. Purely by talent, game and past results she is indeed one of the favorites, but I just don’t see her offering any sort of value and may be tried to lose early.
Proposed ¼ final – Angelique Kerber def Elina Svitolina
New world no.2 Aryna Sabalenka hasn’t had much success at the US Open but this should change starting with this year performance. With only 4th round to her credit from 5 appearances in New York and overall struggling to get deep in Grand Slams she seems sort of destined to make it sooner rather than later.
Aryna is just 26-19 in Grand Slams with -15.8% ROI and Wimbledon was her first time in a Slam in her young career that she was able to get past R4 and had lot of chances to beat even Ka. Pliskova for a final birth. The Belarusian still has lots to prove on the biggest stages and I am always hesitant backing her long term and try for someone more in-form around her for better value.
A meeting with Danielle Collins in R3 could prove tricky as the American won San Jose in the beginning of the month and entered top 30 but retired in Cincy tennis because of a Left Hip problem. She has the game and never say die attitude and especially at home she Is one to look for in the next week or even further. Come to think how she is just 1-6 in US Open…
Huge R1 match between Muguruza and Vekic awaits us with the winner may be facign Victoria Azarenka in R3. Talking about a packed section. Although I agree that Garbine is the deserving favorite, at -250 seems too low. Garbine has won 3 matches in a row only 2 times since March while being always the expected player to come deep into tournaments and she has failed numerous times on various surfaces. With 7-8 record in New York I would personally look for value elsewhere. Vekic is not a world beater herself, but she likes to score wins when nobody expects like she did in Tokyo beating Sabalenka as +560 underdog.
Last 3 losses on hard courts for Azarenka were against either Barty or Sabalenka. With her run to the Finals last year here she has lot of points to defend and her road to another final is quite harder this time and of course if all the seeds win which doesn’t happen often.
Barbora Krejcikova continues to show good form and wasn’t fazed with a French Open title with a title in Prague and a QF in Cincinnati. She had a huge run to the Finals in Dubai in March where she beat Sakkari in R1 and Ostapenko and sort of showed what she is capable of. Nothing flashy but just making the opponent work and not beating herself with good slices is what separates her for most of the other girls. She is just 3-5 in US Open, but that can quickly change with another run as she is part of top 10 now and her confidence Is building up week after week
Proposed ¼ final – Aryna Sabalenka def. Victoria Azarenka
Karolina Pliskova to win 2nd quarter at +300
Angelique Kerber or Elina Svitolina to win 3rd quarter, as both are priced at the same +800
Aryna Sabalenka to win 4th quarter at +300
Naomi Osaka to reach 4th round. – No – +200
Karolina Pliskova to win outright at +1400
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