With the defending champion out and many of the world's best stars struggling, the 2014 U.S. Open is shaping up to be the most up-for-grabs Grand Slam event in years.
Rafael Nadal withdrew from the year's final major, citing a right-wrist injury that has kept him out for the past few months. Without last year's champion in the fold, Novak Djokovic had no trouble earning the top overall seed on the men's side—but he takes his own struggles into Flushing Meadows, posting a couple of early losses in the ATP circuit as of late.
Things are also wide open in the women's draw, where Li Na will miss out due to her own injury withdrawal, thanks to knee troubles. Serena Williams is the top seed, but she faces a tough slate of contenders—most of whom will play the matches of their lives against the American, as she's come to know in Grand Slam events.
Take a look at the latest odds and a complete viewing schedule for the event, which begins Monday.
|2014 U.S. Open Men's Odds|
|2014 U.S. Open Women's Odds|
Note: Men's and women's complete odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
|U.S. Open TV Schedule|
|Aug. 25||11 a.m. - 7 p.m.||1st Round||Tennis Channel|
|1 - 6 p.m.||1st Round||ESPN|
|6 - 11 p.m.||1st Round||ESPN2|
|Aug. 26||11 a.m. - 7 p.m.||1st Round||Tennis Channel|
|1 - 7 p.m.||1st Round||ESPN|
|7 - 11 p.m.||1st Round||ESPN|
|Aug. 27||11 a.m. - 7 p.m.||1st/2nd Round||Tennis Channel|
|1 - 6 p.m.||1st/2nd Round||ESPN|
|6 - 11 p.m.||1st/2nd Round||ESPN2|
|Aug. 28||11 a.m. - 7 p.m.||2nd Round||Tennis Channel|
|1 - 6 p.m.||2nd Round||ESPN|
|6 - 11 p.m.||2nd Round||ESPN2|
|Aug. 29||11 a.m. - 7 p.m.||2nd/3rd Round||Tennis Channel|
|1 - 6 p.m.||2nd/3rd Round||ESPN|
|6 - 11 p.m.||2nd/3rd Round||ESPN2|
|Aug. 30||11 a.m. - 12 p.m.||3rd Round||CBS Sports Network|
|11 a.m. - 6 p.m.||3rd Round||CBS|
|3:30 - 6 p.m.||3rd Round||CBS Sports Network|
|7 - 11 p.m.||3rd Round||Tennis Channel|
|Aug. 31||11 a.m. - 6 p.m.||3rd/4th Round||CBS|
|11 a.m. - 6 p.m.||3rd/4th Round||CBS Sports Network|
|7 - 11 p.m.||3rd/4th Round||Tennis Channel|
|Sept. 1||11 a.m. - 6 p.m.||4th Round||CBS|
|11 a.m. - 6 p.m.||4th Round||CBS Sports Network|
|7 - 11 p.m.||4th Round||ESPN2|
|Sept. 2||11 a.m. - 11 p.m.||4th Round/Quarterfinals||ESPN|
|11 a.m. - 7 p.m.||4th Round/Quarterfinals||Tennis Channel|
|Sept. 3||12 - 6 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN|
|6 - 11 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Sept. 4||12 - 6 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN|
|8 - 11 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN|
|Sept. 5||12:30 - 6 p.m.||Women's Semifinals||CBS|
|Sept. 6||12 - 6 p.m.||Men's Semifinals||CBS|
|Sept. 7||4:30 - 7 p.m.||Women's Final||CBS|
|Sept. 8||5 - 8 p.m.||Men's Final||CBS|
Men's (Draw at USOpen.org)
Roger Federer has been down in recent years but never out. And entering this year's U.S. Open, he looks to be peaking at the right time.
The 33-year-old Swiss star enters New York as the No. 2 overall seed largely thanks to Nadal's withdrawal, but he may have been the second seed anyway. Federer has had himself a big summer, advancing deep in nearly every tournament before defeating David Ferrer in Cincinnati for the Western & Southern Open title.
As Federer has re-emerged as the most dangerous tennis player on the planet in recent weeks, the man who has held that title many of the last few years is slipping.
Djokovic has suffered early exits from his last few ATP tournaments, failing to get back to his winning ways after topping Federer in the Wimbledon final.
The Serbian did grab the top overall seed in the upcoming tournament, but his recent wedding and struggles on the court have taken their toll on Djokovic as of late.
“It was a very emotional period,” Djokovic said, per the Associated Press' Rachel Cohen via National Post. “I just felt a little bit flat on the court. I wasn’t managing to find that intensity and the perfect mindset. But, you know, it’s all normal. It’s something that I’m experiencing for the first time, right?”
Even though Djokovic has been off his game lately, there's little doubt that he's the best in the world when he has it going. Federer knows this all too well from Djokovic's resilient, five-set win over him at the All England Club a few short months ago.
That makes Federer's drawing away from Djokovic and other top stars even sweeter, per Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv:
No. 15 Fabio Fognini and No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov will be tough tests for Federer, but it will take a masterful showing from an elite player for one of tennis' biggest legends to go down. That won't come on his half of the bracket, and it might not come at all, considering Djokovic is struggling as of late.
No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka has enjoyed a successful 2014, and he'll be hungry to end it with a second major, which will get him to the final. But he'll be no test for the Swiss great.
With his biggest tests on the other side of the draw and momentum leaning his way, Federer will win his first Grand Slam event in more than two years.
Quarterfinals: No. 8 Andy Murray beats No. 1 Novak Djokovic; No. 3 Stan Wawrinka beats No. 5 Milos Raonic; No. 4 David Ferrer beats No. 14 Marin Cilic; No. 2 Roger Federer beats No. 15 Fabio Fognini
Semifinals: Wawrinka beats Murray; Federer beats Ferrer
Finals: Federer beats Wawrinka
Women's (Draw at USOpen.org)
Williams is the resounding favorite at the U.S. Open this year—that's a statement that seems to ring true annually at this point of Williams' career.
The 32-year-old won the women's draw for the second straight year, and a championship in New York in the coming weeks would mark her third consecutive U.S. Open title. Should she do so, she would become the first woman to win three consecutive titles at Flushing Meadows since Chris Evert's four in a row back in 1978. She'll also move into a tie for second all time with 18 majors.
Recent form suggests she has a great chance to make history. Although she had some tournaments to forget early on in 2014, Williams enters coming off her first-ever 2014 Western & Southern Open title last week.
Williams' 2014 season has been tumultuous at times, but she's a believer in her play at the moment, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
"This is definitely a level that can take me to the (U.S. Open) title," she said. "I still have a lot of work to do. It's definitely a better level than I've played all year, to be honest."
That excerpt should downright scare any player in the women's draw.
But at the top, women's tennis is becoming more and more crowded. Three different players have won the first three Grand Slam events this year, and Williams was not one of them.
Li, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova hold those honors, and they are only the first of many notable names capable of knocking off Williams. There's also the surging Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic alongside struggling stars Eugenie Bouchard and Victoria Azarenka.
The 27-year-old Sharapova has looked like a new player ever since winning the French Open earlier this year. As the No. 5 seed, she'll have a chip on her shoulder and be able to avoid Williams until the final.
Regardless of where it takes place or what surface of court it's on, nobody is better than Williams when she's on her game. As long as she doesn't get in her own way, the 17-time Grand Slam champion will add another trophy to her collection.
Quarterfinals: No. 1 Serena Williams beats No. 8 Ana Ivanovic; No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova beats No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard; No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska beats No. 21 Sloane Stephens; No. 5 Maria Sharapova beats No. 2 Simona Halep
Semifinals: Williams beats Cibulkova; Sharapova beats Radwanska
Finals: Williams beats Sharapova