The action gets under way on Monday on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows with many of the big names in action.
However, with your outright bets placed, it can often be a tough task during the opening days of a Tennis Grand Slam to find many attractive betting propositions, with most of the top players involved in matches that they are expected to win and at prices that will return little bang for your buck!
For instance, 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal can be backed at 1/10 to beat world number 107 Denis Istomin today, while the much fancied Angelique Kerber is 1/16 to beat Polona Hercog.
However, we’ve ‘rallied’ around and picked out three ‘aces’ from the popular set betting market that we think could give you a more profitable early winner at this year’s U.S. Open.
I’ll get my coat.
Let’s take a look at three first-round matches on Monday that could throw up some interesting set betting options:
Caroline Wozniacki, a former world number one and Rory McIlroy’s ex-squeeze, reached the final of the U.S. Open in 2014, where she lost to Serena Williams in straight sets. She had a particularly successful season on hard courts that year, reaching the semi finals in the WTA Wuhan event and at the WTA Finals.
However, since then she has struggled to match that kind of form. She was beaten in last year’s U.S Open at the last 64 stage by the current world number 261, Petra Ketkovska, and was beaten in the first round of this year’s Australian Open in three sets by Yulina Putintseva. This season, she’s been disrupted by an ankle problem and slumped to number 74 in the world. Despite possessing supremely hard working attributes on the court that has in the past seen her hold the world number one position for over a year and reach two Grand Slam finals, the lack of power in her game is beginning to cause her many problems.
Nevertheless, an experienced player on the WTA circuit with 23 singles titles to her name, she should have enough to beat the young American Taylor Townsend and advance to the second round, a player who she beat in straight sets in the opening round of the 2015 Australian Open, having done the same two weeks prior in Auckland.
Both of those matches did however involve a tiebreak and with Townsend going into her 7th Grand Slam, her second at Flushing Meadows, and with a few appearances in finals on the ITF circuit this season.
She’s fancied to take a set off the inconsistent Wozniacki, albeit on the way to defeat.
Frenchman Monfils has been in pretty good form this season, particularly on hard courts, reaching the quarterfinals at the Rio Olympics, Australian Open, Miami Open and Indian Wells and winning the Citi Open in Washington. Based on that form, he will fancy his chances of having a good tournament at this year’s U.S. Open.
However, he’ll need to match the form of 2014 where he only exited the tournament at the quarter-final stage after a five-set battle with Roger Federer, as opposed to last year where he dropped out at the first hurdle due to injury and in 2013 where he lost to the big serving John Isner in the second round.
His opponent in the first round, Gilles Muller, doesn’t exactly have an impressive record at the U.S. Open, having only made it to the second round once from three previous attempts.
A run to the last 16 of the Rio Olympics however, which included victories over Joe-Wilfried Tsonga, and the big hitting former world number 14 Jerzy Janowicz, and a close fought 7-6 7-5 loss to Novak Djokovic in the Rogers Cup, suggest that Muller has the ability and attributes required to perform well on the fast hard courts of Flushing Meadows and certainly should give Monfils something to think about in their match up.
Monfils’ class and recent hard court form should see him progress to the second round but Muller’s exploits of late give reason to believe that he can prevent the Frenchman from advancing comfortably in straight sets.
The current British No 1 has been on a sensational run of form in recent months, a run that was kick started by her march to the U.S. Open last 16 twelve months ago. Ranked 97th in the world going into last year’s U.S. Open, victories over Garbine Muguruza and Andrea Petkovic before a last 16 loss to Petra Kvitova, saw her rise to 66th in the world.
Johanna Konta enters this year’s tournament at a career high ranking of 14th, and possesses some good hard court form to boost her chances at Flushing Meadows, having beaten Venus Williams to claim her maiden WTA title with victory in Stanford. She’s also reached the quarter-finals at Montreal and the Rio Olympics since then and will fancy her chances of doing as well if not better at this year’s U.S. Open as she did last year.
Her opponent in the first round is the American, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who last year also enjoyed a successful U.S. Open by her own standards, reaching the third round before being edged out by Serena Williams in three sets. She also reached the third round at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open last year.
This year, her Grand Slam form hasn’t been quite as impressive, exiting at the first round in all three tournaments. However, she has tasted first round victory at Flushing Meadows on two separate occasions and if she can raise her game to match previous levels that she has set in this tournament, spurred on by the support of the crowd.
She may just have enough to snatch a set off Johanna Konta.