Novak Djokovic remains the firm betting favourite to retain the men's title at the 2019 U.S. Open. The defending champion was paired with Roberto Carballes Baena in the first round after Thursday's draw.
Familiar foes Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are also in the mix, while Cincinnati Masters winner Daniil Medvedev, who beat Djokovic en route to the prize, makes a worthy outsider.
Meanwhile, Serena Williams is tipped to go one better after losing to Naomi Osaka in a controversial final in 2018. Williams will begin her journey with a first-ever U.S. Open meeting against Maria Sharapova.
Wimbledon champion Simona Halep is the second favourite.
The main draw will start on Monday, August 26, when the top contenders will get a chance to justify those odds.
U.S. Open Odds (Per Caesars)
- Novak Djokovic: +110 (bet $100 to win $110)
- Rafael Nadal: +275
- Roger Federer: +600
- Daniil Medvedev: +1100
- Alexander Zverev: +2000
- Dominic Thiem: +2000
- Stefanos Tsitsipas: +2000
- Nick Kyrgios: +2200
- Karen Khachanov: +2500
- Kei Nishikori: +3000
- Marin Cilic: +3000
- Stan Wawrinka: +3000
- Serena Williams: +400 (bet $100 to win $400)
- Simona Halep: +700
- Ashleigh Barty: +900
- Naomi Osaka: +900
- Bianca Andreescu: +1200
- Karolina Pliskova: +1200
- Madison Keys: +1200
- Angelique Kerber: +1600
- Petra Kvitova: +1600
- Sloane Stephens: +1600
- Aryna Sabalenka: +1800
- Elina Svitolina: +1800
Djokovic Primed for Back-to-Back Titles
Djokovic has the ideal game for the hard courts at Flushing Meadows. His patience and quality returns will give him the edge over most in the draw.
Expect the Serb to make easy work of Carballes Baena early on before moving toward a meeting with Roger Federer in the last four. The psychological edge will belong to Djokovic if the two decorated rivals meet in the semi-final.
Djokovic outlasted Federer in the final at Wimbledon earlier this year, winning in five sets and surviving tiebreaks in three of them. Things haven't run as smoothly for the world No. 1 since, with Medvedev too good for Djokovic in Ohio.
A chance for revenge could be the Serb's if Medvedev makes it through to the last eight. Before then, the favourite may have to beat either Kevin Anderson or Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round, per the ATP official site.
It's a tough path to tread, but Djokovic's ability to hold his nerve and manufacture shots in clutch moments will take him to another title.
Halep to beat Williams to the Prize
Williams will be motivated to claim the prize after her spat with umpire Carlos Ramos during defeat to Osaka. It means Williams will want a fast start, but like Djokovic, the 37-year-old will have to negotiate a tough draw to return to another final.
Sharapova has been steadily regaining her best game following a return from suspension and a myriad of injuries.
Even so, the historical edge belongs to Williams, who has dominated the rivalry:
WTA Insider @WTA_insider
#SerenaMariaXXII will be the 1st career meeting @usopen. They first played at 2004 Miami. Serena leads the H2H 19-2 and has won the last 18 matches. The two were set to play at 2018 Roland Garros R16 but Serena withdrew due to injury. Their last meeting came at 2016 AO. https://t.co/x1Hjj0kHjL
Yet Sharapova can still beat any top player on her day, so Williams will be wise to be wary. Even if she gets past Sharapova, a draw also featuring Anastasija Sevastova, Iga Swiatek, Eugenie Bouchard and Petra Martic, will pose too many problems for the veteran to overcome.
It will be a different story for Halep, who is in winning mode after triumphing at Wimbledon. The victory followed lifting the French Open title a year ago.
Halep has been dealing with an ankle injury, but the draw doesn't intensify for the Romanian until the last 16. It's where she might meet Indian Wells champion Bianca Andreescu, but Halep's experience will likely make the difference against the precocious 19-year-old.
A win over Andreescu will prove the springboard for a dominant run to the final.