With the 2015 U.S. Open starting on Monday, two tennis players stand out as overwhelming favorites to win the men’s and women’s title. Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams have dominated the sport this year, and they are looking to end the season with a final Grand Slam tournament victory.
Djokovic won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon championships, while falling just short at the French Open when he lost in the finals to an inspired Stan Wawrinka. Williams is having a historic year, and a title at Flushing Meadows would give her a clean sweep of all four Grand Slam tournaments in 2015.
A loss for Djokovic would be a surprise to many, considering he has 11/10 or 6/5 betting odds to win the U.S. Open at most sports books, according to Oddschecker. No championship for Williams would be even more shocking. She’s an odds-on favorite, getting 4/5, 8/11 and 5/6 odds at various betting websites.
Roger Federer and Andy Murray stand out as the biggest threats to Djokovic. They rank No.2 and No.3 in the world, and each player got a win over Djokovic in August as they try to win their first Grand Slam of 2015. Whether Federer or Murray is the second favorite depends on the particular sports book.
Federer has won the U.S. Open five times in his career, and he has 4/1 odds at several betting websites. Murray’s odds range from 7/2 to 9/2.
Wawrinka is the only person to beat Djokovic in a Grand Slam this year, though he is somewhat of a longshot with 14/1 odds. Rafael Nadal has won the U.S. Open title twice since 2010, but his struggles this year have him getting between 25/1 and 40/1 odds. Kei Nishikori has slightly worse odds than Wawrinka, coming in at 16/1 and 18/1.
On the women’s side, it will be even tougher to find someone who can beat the No.1 player. A leg injury will prevent Maria Sharapova from playing, and she was considered to be one of William’s biggest threats. She was the third favorite a week before the start of the tournament, though her last appearance in the U.S. Open finals came nine years ago when she won the title.
Victoria Azarenka is the second favorite with 8/1 or 9/1 odds to shock the tennis world and upset Williams. Azarenka is just 3-17 lifetime against Williams, though she has had some success against her on hard court, picking up two hard-court wins over Williams in 2013.
Simona Halep has the third best odds, ranging from 9/1 to 11/1. Petra Kvitova (16/1-20/1) and Belinda Bencic (20/1-25/1) are long shots that have a somewhat realistic chance of winning the title, as well.
It’s been four years since Djokovic won the U.S. Open, and he failed to reach the finals last year, so there’s no guarantee that he’ll win his third Grand Slam of the year. But he’s playing at a level above both Federer and Murray, making Djokovic the smart pick to win the championship. Few expected Marin Cilic and Nishikori to reach the final in 2014, though this year seems a bit more likely to follow the script with Djokovic so eager to regain glory at Flushing Meadows.
Williams has won the U.S. Open in each of the last three years, and she’s playing so well right now that there’s no reason to believe she won’t win another title. Azarenka might provide trouble for the American, but the only person who can probably defeat Williams is herself.