Welcome to my preview and betting tips for the Women’s draw of the 2018 US Open Tennis Championship.
Similar to the US Open Men's qualifying, we certainly saw some very interesting results in the lead-up to the tournament. You will notice that this preview is very condensed in comparison to the men's preview, and there are a few reasons for that:
1. This draw is so wide open.
2. The best of 3 format throws up the potential for more upsets compared to the best of 5 set format.
3. Did I mention the draw is wide open?
Instead of delving too deep, I have decided to focus on who I think it may not win the tournament from a list of the big names, and I will work my way back from there.
Before we get started, make sure you check out our US Open Men’s Draw Preview where we have details of a free competition where you can win a subscription to the Ace Tennis Preview subscription service!
Seeded Players: Halep, Pavlyuchenkova, S. Williams, V Williams, G Muguruza, A. Barty, M Sakkari, K Pliskova
Unseeded surprise packets: Kuznetsova, Giorgi, Yastremska, Safarova, Diya
An incredibly stacked section we have here, but I am happy to take on a few of the seeds based on their recent form and the conditions in Flushing Meadows.
I am happy to go against Pliskova, V Williams, Barty and Muguruza at various stages in this quarter, for a mixture of form, fitness, and performances in key moments. As much as I would love to see Ash Barty make a massive charge, she has been found wanting in a couple of key moments in the last few Grand Slams. I think Venus may struggle to get out of the first round given form and injury, and Pliskova on a slower hardcourt doesn't exactly fill me with promise.
If I had to take a side in this quarter, it would be Halep, closely followed by Serena. Whilst things haven't clicked since Wimbledon, you do need to respect Serena when she steps onto the court. That being said, the movement and counterpunch tennis of Halep lately has been incredibly impressive, so that is why she gets the edge from my perspective.
Main players included: Stephens, Gavrilova, Strycova, Mertens, Goerges, Sevastova, Rybarikova, Svitolina
Unseeded surprise packets: Makarova, Vekic, Radwanska, Azarenka
I have two players who are a step above the rest in this section. I have Stephens and Mertens as the most potentially damaging threats to come from this section, closely followed by Svitolina, then Goerges. I think a lot would have to go right for someone like Gavrilova/Sevastova to push their way out of this quarter, as it would ultimately be up to one of their opponents playing poorly compared to themselves playing top class tennis.
It is near impossible to fault the tennis of Stephens in the higher tier tournaments and at Grand Slam Level. She is motivated by the big stage, and what bigger stage than defending her home Grand Slam title from last year. I have absolutely no interest in opposing her in the early stages of the tournament, however I would love to see her in a 4th round showdown with Elise Mertens, another who is putting together some really solid tennis and is unfazed by the surface/speed.
There are a couple of other players who could pull off an upset or two, but doubt they make their way fully out of the quarter. That list includes the winner of Kuzmova/Azarenka (just haven't seen enough from Azarenka to feel confident in her long term), Lapko, Kozlova, Radwanksa, Vekic and Wang (off a quick turnaround from the Asian Games).
I have Stephens ahead of Mertens ahead of Svitolina, but stay tuned throughout the tournament as that could change depending on early round performance.
Main players included: Garcia, Suarez Navarro, Sharapova, Ostapenko, Keys, Vandeweghe, Cibulkova, Kerber
Unseeded surprise packets: Gasparyan, Pera, Cornet, Anisimova, Konta
You can kind of see why I haven't over-analysed these draws because in comparison to the men, there are so many players in the women's draw that can beat each other on their day, even in round 1. Players like Kerber (vs Gasparyan), Ostapenko (vs Petkovic) and Garcia (vs Konta) have some crazy first round matches, and I think there is more value in the head-to-heads along the way than taking a stab at parts of this draw.
Players I would rule out on form would probably be Vandeweghe (due to injury), Ostapenko (due to form since coach switch earlier in the year) and Cibulkova (form).
I get the feeling if Kerber gets out of the first couple of rounds, she should win the quarter. She can be vulnerable early in tournaments, and has a really tough start to the tournament given her seeding (Gasparyan followed by likely Cornet).
Main players included: Kvitova, Sabalenka, Osaka, Kasatkina, Bertens, Buzarnescu, Kontaveit, Wozniacki
Unseeded surprise packets: Sasnovich/Bencic, Tsurenko, Stosur, Bouchard,
This quarter has a perfect mix of power and movement, the big question is what will come out on top in the end?
Wozniacki is coming in under an injury cloud, as is Buzarnescu (to be honest I will be shocked if she even takes to the court). Kvitova withdrew in New Haven, but I wouldn't read anything into that piece of information.
If the courts are a touch slower, this section of the draw could really open up for a player like Kasatkina, so long as she isn't afraid to attack when necessary. I think there is vulnerability in a lot of players in this section for different reasons, and I think you could do a lot worse than making a player on her to win the quarter, or even Bouchard at $40+ given her qualifying form.
Who can go all the way?
What a wide open draw we have again. If I were to pick 2 from the top half and 2 from the bottom half to go the whole way, there would be a bit of value amongst the group. I would personally take on Quarter 3, as I think there is some vulnerability there, and select some shorter odds from the top half and longer odds from the bottom half.
A bit of value there, but I also see plenty of value across the fortnight when it comes to the head to head matches, so I wouldn't go too crazy on the outrights.
Did I mention it was wide open?
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