U.S. Open women’s singles preview, odds, and best bets: Barty favored, but it’s up for grabs
The story could not be any more different for the women compared to the men. Men’s tennis is being dominated by Novak Djokovic, who is going for the calendar-year Grand Slam. Even with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Dominic Thiem sidelined, the next three best players (Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Alexander Zverev) are relatively dominant against the rest of the field. Every one of the top four seeds advancing to the semifinals of the U.S. Open would hardly come as a surprise. On the women’s side, however, an unbelievable 16 different players have earned the 16 total semifinal spots at this year’s 4 biggest tournaments (the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and Olympics). That’s right; not one player advanced to the semis in more than one of those events.
That being said, Ashleigh Barty is the undisputed world No. 1 and U.S. Open title favorite. The 25-year-old Australian has been undone by some injuries in recent seasons, but when healthy she is clearly the cream of the crop. A case in point: Barty triumphed at Wimbledon earlier this summer and dropped only 2 sets the entire fortnight (1 in the first round and 1 in the final).
Will the top seed also take care of business in New York, or will someone like Naomi Osaka, Simone Halep, or Petra Kvitova crash the party? Let’s take a look at the odds and some of the best bets.
Ashleigh Barty +330
Naomi Osaka +600
Aryna Sabalenka +1400
Simona Halep +1600
Barbora Krejcikova +1700
Iga Swiatek +1700
Karolina Pliskova +1700
Coco Gauff +2000
Petra Kvitova +2500
Garbine Muguruza +2500
Belinda Bencic +2500
Best bet: Ashleigh Barty (+330)
Not including a retirement, Barty has lost only one match at a Grand Slam this season. She reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne, was injured in Paris, and then triumphed at the All-England Club. After falling early in the Olympics (perhaps she endured a figurative or even literal hangover following Wimbledon), Barty got right back on track by winning the Cincinnati title a few weeks ago. She did not surrender a single set the entire week. As mentioned above, when healthy the top seed is 100% deserving of her status.
Longshot: Aryna Sabalenka (+1400)
Sabalenka’s high-risk, high-reward game naturally enders her inconsistent. When she is clicking, though, the Belarusian can blow anyone off the court with her power. Following years of Grand Slam frustration, she finally put it all together on the biggest stage and made a run to the Wimbledon semis, coming within 1 set of the title match before succumbing to Pliskova. Sabalenka finds herself in a favorable spot opposite Barty in the draw, so the world No. 2 could be ready to take the next step.
Deep sleeper: Paula Badosa (+3000)
Much unlike in the men’s draw, there is plenty of value found in women’s longshots since no one — and definitely no one other than Barty — is anything close to dominant. This is yet another Grand Slam title that is totally up for grabs. If the world No. 1 loses early for some reason, it blows the door even more wide open.
Badosa is among those who could take advantage. The 23-year-old Spaniard’s breakout season has her up to 26th in the rankings and she is really playing like a top 10 talent at the moment. Badosa recently advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon, the quarterfinals at the Olympics, and the quarters in Cincinnati. It must also be noted that she has posted a trio of top-8 wins in the last 4 months — over Barty, Swiatek, and Sabalenka.
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