US Open 2016: Women’s Singles Preview

The last slam of the season should be a hard fought one. Serena Williams returned to winning ways at Wimbledon but this year has seen the emergence of genuine contenders who can go toe to toe with the American, making the result far from a foregone conclusion. The only major absence is Victoria Azarenka, who is expected to give birth by the end of the year.

 

The Main Contenders

These stats are from the previous four years of the US Open.

 

Wins Win % Overall USO Titles Best Odds
S Williams  25  96  6  Betfair Exchange 2.4:1; Betsafe/Betsson/NordicBet 2.3:1
Kerber  10  71  0  BetVictor 13:1
Muguruza  1  25  0  BetVictor, SkyBet 9:1
Halep  11  73  0  SkyBet 11:1
Keys  4  57  0  Betfair Sportsbook 19:1
Kvitova  11  73  0  BetVictor, SkyBet 21:1
Radwanska  9  69  0  BetFred, Betsafe/Betsson/NordicBet 40:1

A glance at the stats from the US Open make ominous reading for anyone trying to take on Serena on home turf. She is one of only 4 former winners in the field, along with sister Venus, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Sam Stosur. She has only lost one match in the last four events (last year’s dramatic loss at the semi-final stage to Roberta Vinci). However there are some vulnerabilities there. Since Wimbledon she has only played once, a disappointing showing at the Olympics. She has missed the two big North American events in Montreal and Cincinnati, citing a shoulder injury. If she is not 100% in New York, she may get found out.

None of the other major challengers have a great record at the US Open. That said, Kerber was able to beat Williams this year on the hard courts in Australia and wasn’t far off at Wimbledon. She will believe that she can win here. French Open champion Muguruza is another player who knows that she can beat anyone else on her day. There are signs that she is coming out of her post-Roland Garros dip, with a good run in Cincinnati. However, her lack of success here in the past doesn’t inspire great confidence. After a slow start to the season Simona Halep is back to her best, with wins in Madrid and Montreal. She is playing with accuracy and increased aggression and has a good chance of making progress through the draw. However, there are question marks about whether she has the weapons to make it all the way.

At longer odds Keys and Kvitova will both be backed by those who see their power games as giving them a great chance of making it all the way. However, neither has shown the required consistency this year. Conversely, Radwanska has the consistency but not the power to threaten here.

 

Dark Horses

Pennetta’s win last year is a reminder that long odds bets can come in on the women’s side. Olympic champion Monica Puig (34:1 SkyBet) could bring that form into Flushing Meadows. Johanna Konta (65:1 Betsafe) made the fourth round last year and is a threat to go further this year. Double champion Venus Williams (67:1 BetFred) made it to the semis at Wimbledon and could go on a similar run again. Another former winner, Kuznetsova (151:1 SkyBet), is also playing well this year and has nothing to fear from the rest of the field. Karolina Pliskova (34:1 BetVictor) could finally make waves at a Slam event after winning in Cincinnati Finally, don’t overlook the form of Dominika Cibulkova (101:1 BetFred). She is sitting in sixth place in the singles race this year and has the game to carve her way to the final.

 

Conclusion

Serena goes in as firm favourite here, though her odds aren’t that attractive given her lack of match play and they are unlikely to change very much. You may want to hold fire on the American until she plays a couple of matches. Angelique Kerber is a real contender and, given that, odds of 13:1 should be snapped up. Should Serena fall at an early stage, Simona Halep could also be in the running for her first grand slam title.

 

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TennisElbow

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