Serena begins mission to make history
The 135th US Open starts on Monday and after a long season it’s the final chance for the world’s best players get their hands on a Major title.
The first round has thrown up some intriguing fixtures. Andy Murray will play one of the Tour’s most controversial figures while Serena Williams starts her bid for a calendar Grand Slam against a little known Russian.
Keep reading for our US Open first round preview.
Andy Murray gets tough draw against controversial Australian
On current form he is one of the favourites for the men’s title but Andy Murray would have liked a lower profile match to get his US Open challenge under way. Murray will play the controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios in round one with the Aussie’s ranking having fallen just outside the seedings.
The 20 year old is currently playing under a suspended ban after being fined earlier this month for an on-court comment made to world number five Stan Wawrinka. While the youngster will be under the spotlight Murray can take comfort from the fact that he beat Kyrgios in straight sets in both the Australian Open and French Opens this year.
Novak Djokovic is the favourite for the men’s title and is certainly in the easier half of the draw. He faces world number 89 Joao Souza in the opening round and is just 1/100 to overcome the Brazilian. The Serb’s toughest opponent on his way to the semi-finals is likely to be Rafael Nadal and the former champion has a tough opening match against young star Borna Coric.
The 18 year old beat Nadal in their only previous meeting and is 39/10 to cause a first round upset.
Roger Federer‘s win in Cincinnati restored him to number two in the world and his seeding means he can’t meet Djokovic until the final. The 34 year old also has a tough draw, opening against the highest ranked non-seeded player in the tournament, Leonardo Mayer. Stan Wawrinka should beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas at 1/25 while Tomas Berdych should overcome American wildcard Bjorn Fratangelo.
Steve Johnson came within a match point of beating John Isner in Washington recently and reached the semi-final in Winston-Salem last week and is just 4/11 to knock out the number 32 seed Fabio Fognini in round one. Britain’s James Ward is 14/5 to beat Thomaz Bellucci and that could be excellent value considering the Brazilian 30th seed lost to an unseeded player in Winston-Salem last week.
Serena just seven matches from history
Unbeaten at the US Open since 2011, Serena Williams is just seven matches from a 22nd Major title and a rare calendar Grand Slam. The top seed is in superb form having won the last four Majors and opens her campaign against the little known Russian Vitalia Diatchenko.
Williams could face some awkward matches on her way to the last four with her talented compatriot Sloane Stephens and 15th seed Agnieska Radwanksa potential early opponents. Williams may also face the Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic who became the youngest player to beat her since 2004 when she triumphed in Toronto a couple of weeks ago.
Bencic is just 3/50 to beat Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria in round one. Simona Halep is seeded two and should beat Marina Erakovic at 3/50 while last year’s beaten finalist Caroline Wozniacki can beat Jamie Loeb at 3/50.
The womens’ game is an unpredictable affair right now and there could well be some upsets in round one. Eugenie Bouchard is having a year to forget and the 25th seed looks vulnerable to Alison Riske in round one. We tipped Bouchard’s first round opponent at Wimbledon to cause an upset at 4/1 and have no hesitation in backing Riske at 10/11.
Caroline Garcia could make life difficult tor 18th seed Andrea Petkovic at 5/4 while Daria Gavrilova is ranked 37 in the world and could test Maria Sharapova. The young Russian is 27/10 to overcome the third seed.
Laura Robson is 29/20 to overcome Elena Vesnina while Heather Watson is 8/15 to beat the American Lauren Davis.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.