US Open Tennis 2011: Handicapping Odds for Each Semifinalist

Carlos TorresContributor ISeptember 10, 2011

US Open Tennis 2011: Handicapping Odds for Each Semifinalist

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    There are still eight players alive in the singles draw at the 2011 US Open.

    On the men's side, the four best players in the world play for two tickets to the final of U.S. Open, where, on Saturday, the semifinals are played Roger Federer-Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal-Andy Murray.

    The world No. 1, Novak Djokovic, the slight favorite to win at Arthur Ashe Stadium, takes on Federer, third-ranked and chasing his sixth title in the courts of Flushing Meadows.

    Meanwhile, the defending champ and former No. 1, Rafael Nadal—second seed—will face Andy Murray. They have played three times this year, all Nadal victories.

    On the women’s side there is a contrast of star power. One features two world No. 1s and the virtual No. 1 as well as the other two surprising as unexpected semifinalists.

    Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams will battle it out at Grandstand Stadium first and will be followed by Angelique Kerber and Samantha Stosur.

    Wozniacki, the WTA top-ranked player who still has not won a Grand Slam in her career, reached the final here in 2009. Williams is looking for her fourth US Open crown.

    Meanwhile, Kerber and Stosur are the surprising semifinalists. Kerber’s presence in the semifinal is the first for a German player since Steffi Graff won here in 1996.

Angelique Keber

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    Odds to win the US Open: 32/1

    Kerber has flown under the radar so far on this tournament.

    The two times she has extended to three sets were when upsetting 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska and 26th seed Flavia Pennetta.

    Kerber is having a great summer on the hard courts. She is 12-16 for the year, but 10-7 on hard courts.

    She reached the semifinals at the Texas Tennis Open just before the US Open.

    Kerber has never faced Samantha Stosur before, but her style of hitting the ball deep could serve her well.

    She has nothing to lose and everything to win.

    I don't see her winning here, but you never know. If we go by the book she was not supposed to be here.

Andy Murray

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    Odds to win the US Open: 6/1

    The fourth seed in the men's draw is peaking at the right time.

    He showed a lot of resiliency during the three hours and four minutes he needed to defeat John Isner in the quarterfinals.

    A complete and versatile game is what allowed Murray to establish the difference over Isner.

    Isner is a hard server whose weakness is when he is forced to move and play defense.

    Murray is at his best when being aggressive and varying his shots on the counterattack.

    He is facing Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. He is 4-12 against Rafa.

    For Murray in this match, being at his best will not be good enough. He will need to step it up another notch.

    A good thing going for Murray, is the fact that he has beaten Nadal the last two times they have played on the hard courts.

Samantha Stosur

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    Odds to win the US Open: 10/1

    Australian Samantha Stosur is the ninth seed of the tournament.

    Stosur comes from beating three seeded players in a row, including second seed Vera Zvonareva in the quarterfinals.

    She's had to work hard for this semifinal spot.

    She has never faced her opponent, Angelique Kerber, but she has the experience going for her.

    Her best results in a Grand Slam prior to this semifinal were at the French Open. She had reached the semis in 2009 and the finals in 2010.

    She is the favorite to win this match, and very deservedly so, but she is not a lock to win it.

    Her opponent's style will give her problems. She is not accustomed to the added pressure of being the expected winner.

    She must keep her focus. The first set will be the key to her match.

Roger Federer

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    Odds to win the US Open: 4/1

    Grand Slam King Roger Federer is playing like his old self.

    Federer has been making winners from everywhere in the court, and is playing with a renewed confidence.

    His win over the ever dangerous Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals was proof of how good he is playing.

    His previous two opponents were not walkovers he was facing, yet he dispatched them with surgical precision.

    Ask Juan Monaco who might have thought he was taking a playing lesson.

    Now he is facing the world's No. 1 player, Novak Djokovic. He still leads their head-to-head record at 14-9.

    But this year, he is 1-3 against him, winning the last time they met.

    That was the streak-stopping win over Nole at the semifinals of the French Open.

    His style of play is the one that hurts Novak the most. Especially the backhand slice shot, which slows Novak's game down.

    He has certainly looked better and better as the tournament has progressed, and looks like he has a legitimate shot at winning his 17th Grand Slam.

Caroline Wozniacki

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    Odds to win the US Open: 6/1

    The Great Dane is the World's No. 1 ranked player.

    She has the best chance she's had so far to win her first Grand Slam.

    She still has to win two more matches, but none poses a bigger challenge than the mountain she has to climb in the semifinal.

    It's an Everest-like mountain called Serena Williams.

    Wozniacki is 0-2 against Serena, but has not played against her since 2009. She was out of the top 20 ranked players back then.

    A lot has changed since for Wozniacki. She is a much better player now, and the proof is her WTA top ranking spot.

    She has been playing very well and has looked good every time she has been challenged so far.

    Wozniacki has overcome adversity in the tournament and shown resiliency and determination.

    She will need all that and more if she is to defeat Serena Williams. But she might be the best bet to beat Serena, as she is the only one not looking to blow shots past her.

    If she is to win, she will have to do it with her best weapons: consistency and explosiveness.

Rafael Nadal

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    Odds to win the US Open: 4/1

    The Freak Train called Rafael Nadal is totally tuned up and ready to roll over his opponents.

    He has shown that, although he has been seen as out of form, not focused and not fit, that is far from the truth.

    He is in top shape both physically and mentally, and ready to defend his title.

    Nadal has more to prove here than even Roger Federer. I say this because he is just one year removed from his best year ever.

    Roger has not been as dominant as Rafa for a couple of years now, so Nadal is out to prove he is still the man.

    Andy Roddick must have reported that he was mugged by an unknown force of nature, because he didn't know what hit him.

    The way Roddick had been playing and then for Nadal to come out and thrash him has to be the most dominant performance of the tournament so far.

    He still has his two biggest challenges coming up in Andy Murray and either Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer.

    But Rafa is back and we will see him at his best. Murray represents a tough challenge, especially on the hard courts for him.

    If Nadal comes out and wins the tournament, you can definitely put him back atop the men's game.

Serena Williams

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    Odd to win the US Open: 4/1

    Serena Williams is definitely back playing at a top level after almost not being able to return to play due to injuries and a medical condition that almost had her retired.

    She's had a superb summer, winning two tournaments and retiring from the other in order to preserve herself for the US Open.

    So far, that tactic has paid off, as she is the only player left who has not dropped a set yet.

    When Serena is at the top of her game, she is definitely the player to beat at every tournament.

    The question for her is how far she is from that top form. We have seen indications that she is very close.

    It's a tall order for anyone to go through what she went through, return and win a major like the US Open.

    But if there is someone to do it, that is Serena Williams.

    So far, her comeback is passing with flying colors and she is the favorite to win the women's singles draw.

    Her opponent is the top-ranked player in the WTA, Caroline Wozniacki. Caroline is a very consistent player who doesn't give away many points

    So for Serena to beat her, she must be very patient and accurate. And if she does reach the final, start preparing the space in her shelf for Grand Slam 14.

Novak Djokovic

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    Odd to win the US Open: 3/1

    Novak Djokovic is the World's No. 1 player on the men's side.

    He has earned that ranking and has been on one of the best years tennis has ever seen. He is 62-2 for the year.

    He's also had success over all top players—especially the next three players below him.

    He is 5-0 against Rafael Nadal, he has beaten him on all court surfaces. 3-1 against Roger Federer and 2-1 against Andy Murray.

    Of course, all three are the others alive in tournament, so for him to win his third Slam of the year will be no easy feat.

    Nole has answered all questions regarding his game so far, and expect for those questions to keep coming faster and harder if he progresses in the tournament.

    He is up against Roger Federer next. He is 9-14 against him lifetime, although as you see, he has seen better results lately.

    Still, Federer possess the biggest threat to damage Novak's magical run this year. He did it in the French Open and could do it again here.

    Federer has the style of play that can break Novak's armor, and has the mental attitude, again, that can get him past Novak.

    This is a great semifinal and if he advances, it will be a special final to watch. Until Novak shows otherwise, this is his tournament to lose.