• US Open

Put your faith in Murray to make a mint

Jo Carter August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene is threatening to overshadow the start of the final grand slam of the year, but as Rafael Nadal prepares for the defence of his title, we predict who can whip up a storm in New York.

Men

The favourite
Novak Djokovic has not done much wrong this season. With nine titles and more than $8 million in prize money, the Serbian has been virtually unbeatable this season. Just two defeats in 59 matches this season means Djokovic is understandably the bookies' favourite, and with odds of 11/8 does not represent good value. He retired in the Cincinnati final against Murray - has his stunning season finally caught up with him?

The defending champion
Twelve months ago, Rafael Nadal was the man at the top of the world, and he beat Djokovic in the final to claim his career grand slam. Despite struggling for form on the hard courts in Montreal and Cincinnati, Nadal is well backed to defend his crown, and if you fancy him to fend off Djokovic, you can have odds of 4/1 with bet365.

Cash in with Carter

  • Andy Murray to win the US Open - 9/2 at bet365
    Maria Sharapova to reach the final E/W - 2/1 at bet365
  • Serena Williams and John Isner to win US Open - double - 298/1 at bet365

Murray's big chance?
One thing we do know is that it won't be a Murray v Nadal final after the Scot was pulled out of the same half of the draw as the second seed. Murray beat Nadal in their only previous meeting in New York, back in 2008, and has a good record against the Spaniard on grass. While Nadal looks to be struggling for form, Murray is coming to Flushing Meadows on the back of a big win in Cincinnati. Stanislas Wawrinka, the man who knocked out Murray in the third round last year, is a potential fourth round opponent, while Robin Soderling or John Isner could await in the quarters, but the Scot will fancy his chances of a fourth consecutive grand slam semi-final. For you stats fans out there, the last time Murray won the title in Cincinnati, he went on to reach his first grand slam final, beating Nadal in the semis. With odds of 9/2 with bet365, could this be Murray's year?

Nightmare draw
Roger Federer is facing ending the season without a grand slam title in his possession for the first time since before his first Wimbledon victory back in 2003. Playing his first major as a 30-year-old, the Swiss will be desperate to end a 20-month drought. He may be a five-time champion in New York, but the draw has not been kind. With youngsters Bernard Tomic and Ryan Harrison potential banana skins in his path, should he safely negotiate his way into the last-eight, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga could be lying in wait - the man who came from two sets down to oust Federer at Wimbledon, and then did it again in Montreal a month later. Federer to leave New York with the trophy under his arm is 11/2 with bet365.

Dark horse
America has not seen a home champion in the men's draw since Andy Roddick back in 2003. John Isner, seeded at 28, is not the top-ranked American, but the draw has been kind to him, and with a semi-final win over Roddick this week, he is a man hitting form at just the right time. With the out-of-form Robin Soderling the biggest hurdle before the quarter-finals, the man best known for his marathon triumph at Wimbledon last summer could enjoy a nice little run at Flushing Meadows. He's 22/1 to win his quarter, but with the backing of the crowd, is 125/1 to go all the way. In a neat little twist of fate, the women's No. 28 seed, Serena Williams, is a three-time champion in New York. The last time America had double success was back in 2002, courtesy of Pete Sampras and Serena Williams. Try spicing things up with an accumulator, backing the No. 28 seeds to conjure up a double American success in New York, with odds of more than 298/1 with bet365.


Women

The favourite
She may have only played five tournaments in the last 12 months, but you wouldn't bet against Serena Williams claiming a fourth US Open title at Flushing Meadows. Although she failed to defend her Wimbledon crown earlier this year, Williams has looked in ominous form on the hard courts, picking up titles in Stanford and Toronto. Her seeding of 28 means she will face the top seeds earlier, but her rivals are the ones who will be worried, with Victoria Azarenka likely to meet the 13-time grand slam champion as early as the third round. While the odds are not generous, it is hard to ignore Williams at 11/8 with bet365.

The top seed
Like Murray, Caroline Wozniacki carries a monkey on her back, with the world No. 1 yet to break her slam. After reaching the final at Flushing Meadows two years ago, the Dane has not really come close to breaking her grand slam duck, and the bookies are pretty confident that is not about to change. With Wozniacki it is a mental block - she is capable of beating any player on her day. Having dumped her father as her coach, Wozniacki is obviously looking to shake things up, and it could prove just the tonic. With odds of 18/1 with bet365, it is certainly worth a flutter.

Final fancy
Maria Sharapova will be breathing a sigh of relief that she will not meet Williams until the final, and the 2006 champion will fancy her chances in New York. A quarter-final against Petra Kvitova (who she lost to in the Wimbledon final) could prove a stumbling block, but she is a good bet to reach the final, and the three-time grand slam has the experience to take her over the finish line. Sharapova is 5/1 to win with bet365.

Dark horse
As every major over the past few years have shown, the women's winner is almost impossible to predict, with every player in the top 20 in with a chance. Could this be Andrea Petkovic's time to shine? The German backed up a quarter-final appearance in Toronto with a semi-final in Cincinnati, and has claimed victories over the likes of Wozniacki, Sharapova and Venus Williams this season. Petkovic is 40/1 to win the US Open with bet365.

Please note that odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Jo Carter is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk