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US Open Tennis 2016: Latest Odds and Predictions for Top Contenders

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2016

Shoulder issues could impact Serena Williams' performance in the U.S. Open
Shoulder issues could impact Serena Williams' performance in the U.S. OpenCharles Krupa/Associated Press

It didn't end well for Serena Williams at last year's U.S. Open.

After running through the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, all she needed to do was continue to dominate the field in her home country and she would have won the calendar-year Grand Slam.

The first part of the tournament was a success for the queen of women's tennis, but that changed when she got to the semifinals. Italian veteran Roberta Vinci was on the opposite side of the net, and it didn't seem as though she had the talent or athletic ability to stay with Williams.

While she may not have had the physical edge, Vinci played with intelligence, courage and determination. Not only did she stay with Williams, but she also registered a major upset, winning 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Vinci deserved credit, but it was clear that the American was not at her best. She made a number of unforced errors that led to her defeat.

One year later, Williams has a chance to win the title that eluded her in 2015. It won't mean a calendar-year Grand Slam, but it would be her seventh U.S. Open title.

The U.S. Open's Twitter account noted she will again enter the tournament as the favorite:

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US Open Odds
Women's Draw
PlayerOdds
Serena Williams+120
Angelique Kerber+800
Garbine Muguruza+800
Simona Halep+800
Madison Keys+1,400
Men's Draw
PlayerOdds
Novak DjokovicEven
Andy Murray+180
Milos Raonic+1,200
Juan Martin del Potro+1,600
Stan Wawrinka+1,600
Odds Shark

Williams is a plus-120 favorite (bet $100 to win $120) to win the tournament, according to Odds Shark. That's not a surprise. Williams combines power, excellent groundstrokes and the best serve in the history of women's tennis.

Williams is not at her physical peak as she prepares for the U.S. Open. She suffered a shoulder injury earlier in the summer, and she said the injury came to the surface after she won Wimbledon in July and impacted her performance at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“At the Olympics, I just practiced two days before playing my match,” she said, per David Waldstein of the New York Times. “It’s not ideal, but it was all I could do.” 

Williams lost in the third round at the Olympics.

US Open Tennis @usopen

.@DjokerNole and @serenawilliams enter the #USOpen favored, but not invincible. More: https://t.co/YuSCqQMMLZ https://t.co/TpDgexyQZm

If she is going to win the title this year, she'll have to overcome Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep. All three of those challengers have plus-800 odds to win the U.S. Open.

Angelique Kerber
Angelique KerberJohn Minchillo/Associated Press/Associated Press

Kerber is the No. 2-ranked player in the world. She reached the final at Wimbledon this year before losing to Williams. She also got to the gold-medal match in Rio, where she lost to Monica Puig in three sets.

The German has a 47-14 record this year and has won more than $5 million, according the the WTA website.

Muguruza, one of the up-and-coming stars on the WTA Tour, uses her speed, athleticism and consistent groundstrokes to get the best of her opponents.

The 22-year-old has a 28-13 record this year and has won more than $2.8 million.

Halep, the No. 5 player in the world, has had a strong year as well. She has put together a 36-13 record this season and has won three tournaments and more than $2.7 million.

On the men's side, defending champion Novak Djokovic is the even-money favorite to win the tournament. Andy Murray is the second choice at plus-180, while Milos Raonic is the third choice at plus-1,200.

Like Williams, Djokovic has an injury issue. He was troubled by his left wrist in Rio and also failed to medal at the Olympics.

“The wrist hasn’t been in an ideal state for the last three-and-a-half weeks,” he said, per Waldstein. “But I’m doing everything in my power with the medical team, so I’m as close to 100 percent as possible, at least for the beginning of it.”

          

Predictions

The shoulder is a problem for Williams, but it won't show up in the early rounds of the tournament. However, when she gets to the quarterfinals, the discomfort will be too much for her, and she will lose.

Look for Kerber to build on her strong year and take the championship, beating Halep in the final.

On the men's side, Djokovic will fight through his wrist injury and make it all the way to the championship round, where he will meet Murray, who will win the title in five sets.

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