The fourth and final Grand Slam of the year gets underway next week in New York and despite some notable absentees, the US Open promises to be as dramatic as ever.
Men’s reigning champion Stan Wawrinka will be absent from Flushing Meadows, as will Novak Djokovic, while in the women’s draw, Serena Williams’ pregnancy could open the door up to a new Grand Slam champion.
A look at the men’s betting suggests it could be a two-way battle with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 6/4 and 5/2 respectively. Both have been written off at times in their careers but have enjoyed vintage years in 2017.
Five-time champion Federer beat 2010 and 2013 winner Nadal in January’s Australian Open final and backed that up at Wimbledon. His great rival’s French Open win reaffirmed his status as the ‘King of Clay’ and with them on opposite sides of the draw, they could meet in a major final for the 10th time.
Of course others will want to have their say, most notably Andy Murray. The Big Apple was the scene of his maiden Grand Slam win in 2012 but he has been hampered by a hip injury and it remains to be seen how prepared he will be for the tournament.
The 15/2 still looks a good price for a player of his quality, while another one to look at is the hugely exciting Alexander Zverev (7/1). The German has won five titles this year and looks ripe for a good showing at a Grand Slam, with his recent fourth round at Wimbledon a career best.
Austria’s Dominic Thiem is another of the new breed who could go well and has form, having reached the semi-finals for the second straight year at the French. His game seems best suited to clay though, but with a big-game temperament, he will not be intimidated at 22/1.
Speaking of form and Grigor Dimitrov finally made his breakthrough last week by winning the Cincinnati Masters and is a streaky player. The Bulgarian is 16/1, the same price as the man he beat in Ohio Nick Kyrgios, who is always dangerous.
The 16/1 is also on offer for 2014 champion Marin Cilic and the Croatian will be looking to back up his final appearance at Wimbledon, where injury hampered any chance of him winning.
Juan Martin del Potro (22/1) of Argentina is another who could strike, although doubts remain over the 2009 winner’s ability to maintain his level over a fortnight due to his years of fitness issues.
As far as home hopes go in the men’s, a first US winner since Andy Roddick’s triumph in 2003 appears unlikely, with John Isner a sizeable but justifiable 66/1, while Jack Sock and Sam Querrery are 80/1 and 100/1 respectively.
While the men’s draw appears like it could be a two-horse race, the women’s tournament looks as wide open as ever and defending champion Angelique Kerber certainly appears unlikely to defend her crown.
It was 12 months ago that the German was flying and her victory at Flushing Meadows took her to the top of the world rankings. Since then she has struggled for form and her price of 14/1 perhaps shows the likelihood of her bouncing back after a tough year.
Instead, Wimbledon winner Garbine Muguruza appears the player to beat as the 9/2 favourite, having won in Cincinnati last weekend. The Spaniard appears to be the all-round player and her confidence levels should help her ignore the fact she has never made it past the second round.
Romanian Simona Halep was her victim in last week’s final and it seems only a matter of time before she breaks her duck at the Grand Slams, having lost twice in the French Open final. 17/2 is a decent price for her to finally get over the line but she may find herself overpowered as the tournament goes on.
If power is what you want, last year’s beaten finalist and current world number one Karolina Pliskova could be the one to watch at 13/2. The Czech has looked the one to beat at times this year and at 25, her latest trip to the Big Apple could prove fruitful.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina (10/1) is another candidate, although like the aforementioned Thiem, her game appears best suited to clay, with the same potentially to be said about French champion Jelena Ostapenko (18/1).
At 11/1 Johanna Konta is more of a shout as like Pliskova, she is arguably amongst the most powerful on the circuit with Serena Williams absent.
All eyes will be on Maria Sharapova, the 2006 winner, as she makes her Grand Slam return following her doping ban and 14/1 could be tempting.
The neutral’s favourite is likely to be Petra Kvitova after fighting her way back from the career-threatening hand injury she suffered when her home was broken into.
An 18/1 shot is a decent price and she is clearly capable of putting two weeks of tennis together, as shown by her brace of Wimbledon triumphs and a good start could push her to the final stages.
As far as home hopes go, Madison Keys is the best priced at 16/1 and will expect to go further than her previous Flushing Meadows best of the fourth round.
Compatriot Sloane Stevens (28/1) is the form player though, making the semi-finals in Cincinnati as a wildcard and despite being down to 83 in the world, can beat anyone on her day, while Coco Vandeweghe is 22/1.
Last but not least, it would be foolish not to mention two-time champion Venus Williams who just seems to keep coming after years of struggling with her health. Final appearances at both Australian Open and Wimbledon have shown that despite being 37, she can still match it with the best.
It seems fitting to end with the seven-time Grand Slam winner, who at 18/1, could just be the bet of the tournament.