Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are the consensus favorites of bookmakers heading into the US Open, though the men’s competition is seen as a bit more wide open in the final Grand Slam event of the 2015 season.
Djokovic is seen as an even money favorite to come home with the men’s title, while Williams is an even bigger favorite on the women’s side, commanding 4-5 odds at most bookies.
Williams is looking to accomplish an incredible feat, as a US Open championship would give her all four major tennis titles in 2015, making her the first player to win a complete Grand Slam since Steffi Graf accomplished the task in 1988.
Williams quickly advanced out of the first round on Monday, winning 6-0 2-0 when her opponent, Vitalia Diatchenko, retired with a leg injury.
“It’s kind of awesome that this is the last Grand Slam of the year,” Williams said. “If it were in a different country, I think I would still love it, but it’s not the same as being an American playing in New York, playing for that ultimate goal.”
Williams is Consensus Choice for Women’s Title
While there will certainly be challenges along the way, most experts believe that Williams will win the US Open and collect her first calendar year Grand Slam.
In a poll of ESPN experts, 10 of 12 chose Williams as their champion on the women’s side.
The other selection, chosen by two experts, was Victoria Azarenka.
Listed as a 7-1 second choice at many sportsbooks, the Belarusian star has won two career Grand Slam events (both at the Australian Open), and has twice made the US Open finals; however, her career record against Williams is just 3-17.
Other potential contenders in the women’s field include Simona Halep (8-1) and Petra Kvitova (18-1).
Among the men, there is more debate over who will ultimately win the US Open title, but there is little question among bookmakers as to who the favorite is.
Nine-time Grand Slam tournament winning Novak Djokovic is an even money pick at most betting sites, putting the Serbian star ahead of his nearest competitors, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
Djokovic is looking for his third Grand Slam title of 2015, having already won the Australian Open and Wimbledon, while losing in the final at the French Open.
He got off to a good start in his first round match on Monday, defeating Joao Souza 6-1 6-1 6-1 in straight sets.
“It’s great to be back on Arthur Ashe Stadium,” Djokovic said after his win. “I’m just hoping I can continue playing this way, and if I do that I think I have a pretty good chance against anybody.”
Djokovic to Face Challenge from Federer, Murray
Unlike Williams, however, Djokovic is not the consensus pick to win in New York.
Chief among his rivals is Roger Federer, as the Swiss legend is still looking to add one more Grand Slam title to the record 17 he has already won, including five consecutive US Open titles from 2004 through 2008.
Federer is the second choice at virtually every sportsbook, typically being offered at 7-2 odds. He is closely followed by Andy Murray, who can typically be backed at 4-1.
Other contenders on the men’s side include Stan Wawrinka (14-1) and Rafael Nadal (20-1). Ken Nishikori would also have been considered in this group, but the fourth seed was surprisingly eliminated in the first round by France’s Benoit Paire.
The men’s finals are scheduled to be held on Sunday, September 13, while the women’s finals will take place on Saturday, September 12.