US Open Lacks Clear Favorite Absent Serena: Who Should You Bet On?


The WTA Tour is as open and competitive as we’ve seen in years. With Serena Williams out for the rest of the season, there’s no longer a clear favorite for the women’s Grand Slams. From youngsters like Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova to veterans Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, there are a bunch of contenders in the mix for the final Grand Slam of the year.

The US Open (August 28th – September 10th) is the last chance for most of our favorites to snap up a Grand Slam. Who’s the best value for bettors? Is anyone consistent enough to even warrant a small wager?


2017 US OPEN ODDS: WOMEN’S DRAW

Garbine Muguruza: 6/1

After a patchy start to the year, the 23-year-old Spaniard picked up her first win of the season in spectacular fashion, defeating Venus Williams (7-5, 6-0) at the Wimbledon final. As the no. 14 seed, she had to overcome top-seeded Angelique Kerber in the fourth round to advance to the quarters. After that, it was straight-set wins all the way to her second Grand Slam.

Muguruza doesn’t have a great record at the US Open, having never advanced past the second round. The 2016 French Open-champ has a playing style that is much better suited to clay. However, after her dominant performance at Wimbledon, she starts as the early favorite for the US Open. That’s largely a product of the state of the women’s game right now, not a testament to her potential to dominate. 

Karolina Pliskova: 7/1

Pliskova suffered a second-round defeat to an unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova at Wimbledon but nevertheless became the no. 1 ranked player in the WTA. She reached the US Open final last year after defeating Serena Williams, but in the end, an in-form Angelique Kerber was too much to handle.

She’s had a solid though not spectacular season so far, reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and semifinals at Roland Garros. She has three tournament titles on the year: Brisbane, Qatar, and Eastbourne.

Victoria Azarenka: 8/1

The two-time Aussie Open winner made her long-awaited return to tennis after taking time off to give birth. The former no. 1 returned as the 683th-ranked player and advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon, losing to Simona Halep.

It was an impressive result given her year-long absence and recent string of injuries. With rival Serena Williams out for the remainder of the season, Azarenka is in good standing to win her first Grand Slam since 2013. Her powerful groundstrokes are ideally suited to hardcourts; in addition to her two Australian Open titles, she also has two US Open finals appearances on her resume. 

Angelique Kerber: 9/1

Kerber’s stellar 2016 season included two Grand Slams and a Wimbledon final. However, the defending US Open champion has struggled with form all year, failing to advance past the fourth round at all three Grand Slams, even losing in round one at the French. 

As the returning champ, she’s among the top contenders for the US Open. But her recent performances haven’t been very promising and she doesn’t have a single title to her name in 2017. 

Maria Sharapova: 10/1

After a few false starts, Maria Sharapova will be looking to finally make a splash in her comeback from suspension. She was granted wild-card entries to the Stuttgart Open, Madrid Open, and Italian Open, but has yet to enter a Grand Slam since returning from her doping ban.

A thigh injury presented another hiccup to the five-time Grand Slam-winner’s comeback tour, but she should be well-recovered by the time the US Open rolls around. However, she isn’t guaranteed entry yet, and her focus in the meantime will be on qualifying or acquiring a wild-card bid.

Venus Williams: 18/1

Venus was almost able to turn back the clock at Wimbledon with her younger sister on the sideline; the 37-year-old made an impressive run to the final, only dropping one set before falling to Muguruza (7-5, 6-0). That followed another finals-run at the 2017 Aussie Open where she was narrowly edged by Serena (6-4, 6-4).

There’s a lot to like about what we’ve seen from Venus in 2017, and seeing her win her first slam since 2008 would be the feel-good story of the year. The difference between her comeback and the one we’ve seen from Federer on the men’s side has one crucial difference, however: Federer is winning titles; Venus is coming up short. She doesn’t have a single win on tour this year.

Pick: Garbine Muguruza

At 6/1 odds, there’s still decent value in picking the favorite. While the other top contenders are all capable of winning the US Open, none seem like great picks at this particular point in time.

Sharapova and Azarenka are proven winners, but they’re both returning from a lot of time off. Kerber had an amazing season last year, but her recent results leave a lot to be desired. And Pliskova has been consistent this season and won a few tournaments, but nothing of major significance, pun intended. At only slightly longer odds than Muguruza, the value lies with the Spaniard.