US Open Tennis 2014: Championship Odds & Predictions for Top Contenders
Williams seeks her 18th Grand Slam and third consecutive U.S. Open title. Djokovic hopes to win his second Slam this year and another U.S. Open.
The oddsmakers ignored rankings and seeding. David Ferrer is ranked No. 5 and seeded No. 4. However, Ferrer is a long-shot at 66-1 odds. Meanwhile, 2012 Champion, Andy Murray, ranked No. 9 and seeded No. 8, is at 4-1 odds.
Victoria Azarenka, runner-up in the past two U.S. Open finals, has seen her ranking slip to No. 17. Yet she is considered a better bet, at 20-1, than Angelique Kerber, seeded No. 6, at 40-1.
That's because when it comes to winning Slams, those with one have a better chance at winning another. Here's a look at how the oddsmakers and Bleacher Report view the chances of the top-five seeds on the men's and women's side.
ATP Ranking: 6
Prediction: Raonic rolls into Flushing Meadows with his big serve and a career-high ranking of No. 6.
He plays his best tennis on the hard courts, where he enjoys a 76.2 career winning percentage.
Raonic's strength is his serve. He is second only to Ivo Karlovic in aces served this year. His weakness continues to be his movement. However, players with the game to exploit Ranoic's lack of agility, will find it difficult to handle the Canadian's powerful serve.
Raonic managed to reach the fourth round two years in a row without the favorable seeding he enjoys this year. This sets him up nicely for his first trip to the quarterfinals.
WTA Ranking: 6
If she gets by Kirilenko, Sharapova could face Sabine Lisicki in the third round and Andrea Petkovic in the fourth round. She could meet Simona Halep in the quarterfinals.
That's a tough path to the finals. Sharapova will likely get tripped up before the quarters.
ATP Ranking: 5
Prediction: Ferrer gets little respect from the oddsmakers. Despite being ranked as high as No. 3, Ferrer is considered a longer shot than Kei Nishikori, a guy who has yet to break the Top Five.
That's probably because Ferrer has a history of playing small in big matches. He squandered a match point against Andy Murray in the 2013 Sony Open final. That same year, Nadal demolished Ferrer in straight sets in the French Open final.
Ferrer has a rather favorable quarter of the draw. His second-round opponent will be the winner of the Bernard Tomic-Dustin Brown match. Either is as dangerous as they are unpredictable.
Ferrer rarely gets knocked off in early rounds. He reached the quarterfinals last year and the semifinals in 2012. Ferrer will get at least to the quarterfinals again.
WTA Ranking: 5
Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska is still seeking her first Grand Slam title. After this year's U.S. Open, the search will continue.
Radwanska has never advanced past the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. Her defensive skills are among the best in the game. However, the quick, hard courts rarely reward passive players.
The last counter-puncher to win the U.S. Open was Martina Hingis, in 1997. Expect Aggie to counter-punch her way through to the fourth round, again. But that's where it will end.
ATP Ranking: 4
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka is perhaps the toughest player to anticipate because his play is too unpredictable. If "Stan the Man," the guy who powered his way to an Australian Open title, shows up, Wawrinka could win it all.
He reached the semifinals last year. Wawrinka has all the necessary weapons in his arsenal. Big serve? Check. Killer forehand? Check. Point-ending backhand? Check. Death Star volley? Check.
Emotions and mental preparedness are the X-factors with Wawrinka. Judging from his topsy-turvy performances in tuneups, Wawrinka will either crash out in an early round or take home the title.
WTA Ranking: 4
Prediction: When Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon in 2011 she had a hard time handling her new-found fame. She later admitted that she was overwhelmed. When she won this year, it seemed logical to expect the more seasoned Kvitova to surge in post-Wimbledon play.
Instead, Kvitova has struggled. She was 1-2 going into the Connecticut Open. She reached the semifinals on Thursday. If Kvitova manages to win the Connecticut Open, she'll probably be too tired to win the U.S. Open.
Kvitova has never advanced past the fourth round at the U.S. Open. With other two-time Slam winners, Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova, in her quarter of the draw, Kvitova will have a tough time progressing to the next level. She could face Madison Keys in the second round.
Weary from New Haven, Kvitova will not reach the fourth round.
ATP Ranking: 3
Prediction: Federer enters the U.S. Open on a high note. He won the Western & Southern Open and has performed better during the tuneup tournaments than Djokovic or Murray.
Winner of five U.S. Opens, Federer has never lost before the third round. With Nadal out of the picture, Federer hopes to navigate his way back to the finals for the first time since 2009.
He could meet Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinal and face Ferrer in the semifinals. He's proven he can handle both. Federer will reach the final.
WTA Ranking: 2
Prediction: Simona Halep proved she is more than a one-hit wonder. However, she has yet to prove she can defeat top players.
She is 0-7 against Sharapova and Serena Williams. According to oddsmakers, those are the two women most likely to reach the final.
It's unclear if Halep is overwhelmed or outmatched. Either way, she has yet to show she can keep calm and play tough against the likes of Williams and Sharapova.
An astute match manager, Halep will conquer lesser contenders and reach the quarterfinals.
ATP Ranking: 1
Prediction: Djokovic has the toughest draw. So what? He thrives on the mega-watt atmosphere.
Djokovic is trying to reach the finals for the fifth consecutive time and leave with more than one title to show for it. Even with Isner, Murray, Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Djokovic's half of the draw, the seven-Slam champion will prevail.
There is no Nadal in sight. Murray has yet to regain his form and Federer can no longer outlast Djokovic. It will be back-to-back Grand Slams for the Serbian.
WTA Ranking: 1
Prediction: After winning the Western & Southern Open, Serena Williams sat down with ESPN commentators and talked about her chances at the U.S. Open.
She admitted that most of the time the outcome of her matches rests on her racket. The oddsmakers seem to agree.
Williams has endured a disappointing season. Despite winning five tournaments, more than any other player, Williams has played tight and tentative. She has struggled in Grand Slams.
Yet she appeared to find her footing and her serve in Cincinnati. When her serve is on, so is the rest of her game. If her game is on, Williams will salvage her season and win her 18th Slam.