Rafa The Value For The US Open
The grass of Wimbledon is a distant memory as the hardcourt season gets into full swing in August, culminating in the fourth and final grand slam of the season – the US Open.
The Roger Cup is already underway in Canada, whilst another Masters 1,000 Tournament follows it in the shape of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. The big guns will then probably take a break the week before the US Open, when the lower-ranked players will look to find some winning form in the Winston-Salem Open.
Western and Southern Open (August 12-19)
Roger Federer has dominated this traditional US Open warm-up with seven wins between 2007 and 2015. However, it is Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov that have won the last two renewals, with the big boys perhaps saving their maximum efforts for the really big events as they approach what may be the twilight of their careers. Surprisingly, Novak Djokovic has yet to win this event and it will be interesting to see if he can make his mark on the hardcourt season before heading to the US Open. Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic are all set to play, as are Cilic and Dimitrov. Other big names with US Open winning aspirations include Kevin Anderson and Juan Marin Del Potro.
Winston-Salem Open (August 20-26)
This ATP 250 Series Event only began in 2011 but has already been won twice by John Isner and Roberto Bautista-Agut. The other notable winner is Kevin Anderson. However, none of that trio are guaranteed entries at this stage. Therefore, it could be a good opportunity for the likes of David Goffin and Pablo Carreno-Busta to build some confidence before the US Open.
2018 US Open (August 27 – September 9)
It’s no surprise to see Novak Djokovic installed as favourite for the 2018 US Open after his resurgent performance in winning the men’s singles title at Wimbledon, where he attributed his new-found motivation to wanting his son to see him win Wimbledon. Whether Djokovic’s motivation also stretches to wanting to win the US Open with his son watching we can only speculate, but what we can do is look at how some of the leading fancies for the US Open have fared in previous renewals.
US Open Tennis 2018 Betting
Novak Djokovic 11/4, Roger Federer 4/1, Rafa Nadal 9/2, Alexander Zverev 10/1, Juan Martin Del Potro 12/1, Andy Murray 16/1, Marin Cilic 22/1, Nick Kyrgios 25/1, Stan Wawrinka 33/1, Kei Nishikori 33/1, Milos Raonic 40/1, Kevin Anderson 50/1, Grigor Dimitrov 50/1, Dominic Thiem 50/1, Denis Shapovalov 66/1, John Isner 66/1
Only two of Djokovic’s grand slam victories have come in the US Open, compared to six victories in the Australian Open, four victories at Wimbledon, and one in the French Open. His US Open victories came in 2011 and 2015, whilst he was also a losing finalist five times between 2007 and 2016. During that 10-year period, he made it to at least the semi-finals in all 10 renewals. Therefore, though 11/4 may not be the biggest price around, there’s a fair chance he’ll trade shorter than that if he reaches at least the semi-finals, and there must be every chance he will now he’s found something like his best form.
It was sad to see Roger Federer’s Wimbledon dream fade away at the hands of Kevin Anderson last month, and you have to think the powers of the greatest tennis player to ever walk those hallowed grass courts are on the wane. If they are, or even if they’re not, it’s difficult to see Federer winning his first US Open since he rattled off a five-timer between 2004 and 2008. He’s also only made the final twice in the last 10-years and, though he may also be motivated by his defeat at Wimbledon, he’s never placed as much emphasis on winning the final grand slam of the season.
Nadal was on the wrong end of a five-setter with Djokovic in the Wimbledon semi-finals, but that was his best performance at Wimbledon since he made the final in 2011. He’s also won three of the last eight US Opens, which means he’s more of a 13/8 shot on that record. His record when reaching the final is good too, as he’s won three of his four US Open finals. He should be the number one seed too, so his early draw shouldn’t be too difficult, giving him chance to ease into the tournament and not put too much pressure on his injury-prone body.
The 21-year-old German has most of the attributes to be a grand slam winner but what he seems to be lacking, at what is only surely the start of a career that will result in many top-flight wins, is the requisite stamina to win seven five-set matches over a two-week period. He’s capable of beating any of the big names, but he can’t be backed after never making it past the quarter-finals at any of the 14 grand slams he’s played in, especially as he’s never made it past the second round at the US Open.
Juan Martin Del Potro
Delpo, as he’s universally known in the tennis world, has enjoyed a great season so far, and the injuries that have curtailed his prodigious talent too many times will hopefully stay away. Still only 29, it’s amazing to think that his previous victory in this event came way back in 2009, when his form was that hot he, reputedly, made even Roger Federer swear. His best performance since came last year when he again defeated Federer before succumbing to Nadal in the semi-finals. However, his overall form has taken a step forward this season and, after reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 French Open and the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, he is likely to be a danger to all on what is probably his best surface.
Murray won his sole US Open title in 2012 but has failed to make it past the quarter-finals in five attempts since. Admittedly he was carrying injuries for some of those renewals, but he had won Wimbledon in both 2013 and 2016 before failing to make it past the last-eight in those years. His current form and injury status mean he can’t possibly be a betting proposition, and his odds will surely lengthen before the off unless he surprisingly finds top-form.
Cilic is another former winner of this event, having won the 2014 renewal, but his form here has been regressive since, as he made the semi-finals in 2015 before third-round exits in both 2016 and 2017. He looked to be on the up after reaching the 2017 Wimbledon Final and the final of the 2018 Australian Open, but comprehensive defeats by Federer on both occasions seem to have dampened his enthusiasm.
Best Of The Rest
There are plenty of other talented players that are on the comeback from injury, though it’s hard to make a case for former champion Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, or Milos Raonic, whilst Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios perhaps don’t have the mental strength to win a grand slam. Meanwhile, Dominic Thiem is better on clay, whilst winning a US Open this early in his career is unlikely for Nextgen star Denis Shapovalov.
That leaves us with a couple of big-servers in John Isner and Kevin Anderson. Isner may draw some motivation from reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals but the American has never made it past the quarter-finals at the US Open, and the pressure of winning in front of his home fans will surely prove too much. However, Anderson must be of interest after making it to the final here last year and this year’s Wimbledon final, and he looks the value amongst the outsiders.
2018 US Open Summary
Djokovic and Nadal look the most likely winners at the head of the market, with Nadal preferred at the prices. Meanwhile, whilst I’d love to see Del Potro end his injury nightmare with a victory here, but he tends to find the best players too good on the big occasion. Therefore, the each-way value could be Kevin Anderson.