The 2015 US Open Championship is here, and play is ready to kick-off on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows, NY. The last Grand Slam of the year will provide one man and one woman a last opportunity to lie prone on the court in celebration, as a champion, after the last point is played, and everyone else will be sent home empty-handed. Will Serena maintain her strangle-hold over the women’s game? Will Novak continue to raise his level of play? The Las Vegas number-crunchers have set the odds. The only question remains: Who you got?
On the women’s side, Serena Williams is expected to continue her dominant run, and the odds reflect just that. Williams enters the tournament as the favorite by a wide margin, at -125. She is such a heavy favorite because of her recent play, winning the first three majors of the year. Williams defeated Garbine Muguruza in the Wimbledon final earlier this summer, bested Lucie Safarova in the French Open, and beat long-time rival Maria Sharapova to win the Australian Open. If she were to win in New York, she would complete the calendar Grand Slam (winning all four major tournaments in a single year) for the first time in the women’s game since 1988, when Steffi Graf accomplished the feat. With a win, Williams would also tie Graf for the most major titles in the Open-era, at 22. Judging by the odds, Vegas expects her to do just that.
Victoria Azarenka is second on the odds, at +800, following her strong 2015 performance. Azarenka had an injury-plauged 2014 season, but has bounced back convincingly. She has performed well at the other majors this year, reaching at least the third round in all three and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. She was, however, defeated at both the French Open and in London by Williams.
Rounding out the women’s top three is Simona Halep (+1000). The world’s second ranked woman, Halep enters the tournament with something to prove, after being one of six seeded women to lose in the first round of Wimbledon. Halep and Williams met earlier this year, in Miami, with Williams taking both the match and the tournament. The twenty-three year old Romanian is looking for the first Grand Slam title of her career. Her previous best result came at the 2014 French Open, where she lost to Maria Sharapova in the final.
The draw on the men’s side is predicted to be a closer contest. Novak Djokovic, world number one and fresh off a Wimbledon championship, is the +110 odds on favorite. Djokovic has reached the final of all three Grand Slams this year, winning the Australian Open to go along with his title at the All-England Club, but coming up short against Stan Wawrinka at the French. Djokovic has been at the top of the men’s game for several years now, overtaking rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and Vegas likes him to continue that run. With a powerful serve-return, great fitness and an all-around game, Djokovic will be tough to beat.
Among those trying will be Andy Murrary, who is the second favorite at +350. Murrary, who defeated Djokovic to win the 2012 US Open, looks to improve on a year that has already seen him in one Grand Slam final (at the Australian, where he lost to Djokovic in a tough four-set match) and in the semi-finals at the French (where he also lost to Djokovic) and Wimbledon. Based on Murray’s past success in New York, and fine form so far in the 2015 season, he is a good bet to go far in this year’s Open.
Rounding out the men’s top three is a name which has rarely strayed from the top of the favorites list for the last decade-and-a-half: Roger Federer (+400). The smooth Swiss is one of, if not the, greatest tennis players of all time – and although, at 34 years of age, Federer may have slowed a little, he has definitely not stopped. He has won 17 Grand Slam titles, most of all time, and should never be counted out. So far this year, he has reached the quarterfinals of the French Open, where he lost to eventually champion Wawrinka, and the finals of Wimbledon, the tournament where historically he has been most dominant, only to lose to Djokovic in four sets. Federer also won his 1,000th match in 2015. A five-time US Open champion, Federer is not a man to count out, even if his recent success hasn’t kept pace with his historic greatness. He is, after all, still the second ranked men’s tennis player in the world, and no one is cooler than Roger.
Other women of note: Maria Sharapova would have been the fourth favorite, after Halep, had she not had to withdraw from the tournament; Caroline Wozniacki (+2200) is sixth-favorite; and American youngster Sloane Stephens is thirteenth, at +4000.
Also in the men’s draw: French Open champ Stan Wawrinka is judged sixth-most likely to win, at +1200; Nadal, after struggling with injuries for much of the 2015 season, is at +2200; and defending US Open champion Marin Cilic’s odds of victory are set at +5000.