The final major of the season is the 2014 U.S. Open in New York City, and the anticipation surrounding the biggest event in American tennis each year has led to chatter about the men’s and women’s brackets.
With predictions flying about which of the top seeds will be able to maneuver their respective bracket and advance to the finals, the focus on the draw and the odds for each player have hardcore and casual tennis fans ready for the action to heat up.
Here is all the vital information to enjoy the 2014 U.S. Open and the player to watch moving forward.
*Complete odds via OddsShark.com.
Player to Watch: Simona Halep
There are serious contenders on both the men’s and women’s side of the bracket, but the player tennis fans must watch closer than the rest is No. 2 seed Simona Halep. At just 22 years old, the Romanian star is poised to finally win her first major championship.
Halep had an unusually tough battle against defending NCAA champion Danielle Rose Collins in the opening round of the tournament, but she weathered the storm and proved her seeding was befitting of her elite play.
Sports Illustrated’s tennis Twitter account shared the details of the first-round matchup:
Simona Halep steadies the ship, beats American wildcard Danielle Rose Collins 67 61 62. Not a bad debut for the 2014 NCAA champion. #usopen— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) August 25, 2014
When asked about the pressure of being the No. 2 seed in the tournament, Halep told Jane McManus of espnW.com that the expectations have grown, but she is focused on one match at a time:
It's not easy. It's a little bit of pressure. I can say more pressure because everyone is telling me that I have a chance to win this title. But still I'm very far. I have to take match by match and to see if I can win more matches here. Every match like today was tough, and every match is tough here.
Halep had never advanced past the fourth round in a major before 2014 but has been one of the top players over the last year. With a quarterfinals berth in the Australian Open, a loss in the finals of the French Open and a semifinals loss at Wimbledon, Halep has been the most consistent women’s player this season.
Will Simona Halep win the 2014 U.S. Open?
The path to the championship isn’t overly difficult in the bottom half of the draw, and Halep’s run at the tournament victory continues in the second round against Jana Cepelova. She has the ability to cruise to an easy victory, but Halep must take her competition seriously in each and every round.
As seen with Halep’s recent success and her quiet confidence, she is now as good mentally as she has become physically and will be a force at this year’s event. No. 1 Serena Williams may be the betting favorite, but Halep has the consistency to pull off the win.
Predicted Finish: 2014 U.S. Open Winner
*Stats via USOpen.org.