US Open 2016: Men’s Singles Preview
The build up to the final slam of the season offers more intrigue than was perhaps thought likely at the mid way point of the season. While Novak appeared effortlessly dominant up to his win at Roland Garros, Andy Murray has since gone on an impressive run of his own, winning at Wimbledon and the Olympics. The betting markets are not so sure of a Djokovic win as they once were.
The Main Contenders
These win stats are from the previous four years of the US Open.
|Wins||Win %||Overall Titles||Best Odds|
|Raonic||11||73||0||24:1 Betfair Exchange|
|Nadal||9||90||2||36:1 Betfair Exchange|
|Cilic||16||89||1||26:1 BetFred, SkyBet|
The stats above demonstrate that no one player has been able to dominate the US Open in recent years and it is the most open of the four slams. This is perhaps partly because it is the last of the year: injuries and fatigue can play a bigger role in the outcome.
Novak Djokovic comes in as the favourite here, despite some injury concerns surrounding his first round loss at the Olympics and withdrawal from Cincinnati. He is the best hard court player on tour, but at Flushing Meadows has had some trouble converting final appearances to titles, only winning 2 out of 6 finals. His route to the final may well have an impact on his success this year. His main challenger is clearly Andy Murray, who won his first slam here and may feel like he has unfinished business. Murray is gunning for the no 1 spot and a win here would be key in achieving that. His form is not in question but, unlike Djokovic, he has played a lot of big matches recently and this could affect his energy over the two weeks.
The next group contains five players capable of taking the title if things go their way. Raonic has arguably been the third best player on tour this year, making the final at Wimbledon. He is yet to find the key to beating Djokovic and Murray over five sets, however. Wawrinka has established a good record at the US Open, though this season’s form doesn’t convince. Question marks remain over Nadal, who was able to raise his game at the Olympics but looked tired in Cincinnati. Former champion Cilic has just grabbed the title in Cincinnati and could be in the kind of form to take on the rest of the field again. Finally, Nishikori returns to the event where he has arguably had his biggest achievement, making the final in 2014. However, a broader look at his performance here over the last few years is less encouraging.
The obvious dark horse this year is 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro (25:1 Betfair Exchange). After his silver medal performance at the Olympics the rest of the field will be keen to avoid him in the draw. It looks like his game is back to being able to challenge the very best. But can his body hold up over the two weeks? Elsewhere future star Nick Kyrgios (86:1 Betfair Exchange) will have his backers but he doesn’t seem to have found the required consistency yet. Dominic Thiem (105:1 Betfair Exchange) has had a standout year but it will be a surprise to see him better his semi-final run in Paris.
It’s difficult to see a golden goose here in a tournament that looks like it’s heading towards another Djokovic-Murray final. In terms of that contest, it would make sense to reserve judgement until the draw is out. As for outside bets, I would suggest backing a player with a power game who can also be relatively mobile around the court. Raonic, Cilic, Wawrinka and Del Potro would fall into this category. Although his odds have come down since his win in Cincinnati, I would go for Cilic from this group. He has a game that is capable of beating both Novak and Andy. He also has the confidence of having won on this stage before. An each way bet on the Croat could be very profitable.