The fourth and final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, is perhaps one of the favorites for the neutral tennis spectator as it throws up the potential of a shock winner.
For so long the men’s singles game has been dominated by the ‘big four’ of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, but with Marin Cilic winning at Flushing Meadows last year – and Stan Wawrinka’s famous victory over Djokovic on the French clay in June – it is fair to say that this tournament is wide open.
And that’s why this even is so intriguing; and why it is well worth keeping an eye on the US Open betting odds to see if you can pick out a potential surprise winner.
What was incredible about Marin Cilic’s victory in this tournament last year was that he wasn’t expected to even reach the latter stages, let alone lift the trophy, as the 14th seed. He’d only reached one Grand Slam semi final in his career up to that point, at the Australian Open in 2010, and had only ever gotten to the last eight at Flushing Meadows twice in five attempts.
But something just clicked in the Croatian’s game during that fortnight, and his straight sets wins over Kei Nishikori (another surprise) in the final and Federer in the semi-final, show that there can be demons in the hard courts of America for the more fancied players.
So who are the players to watch at this year’s event?
The number 12 seed reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon and has adapted his game to suit the faster courts in recent years. He is a solid all-round player who will capitalize if his opponents have a bad day. A decent showing at the Cincinnati Masters shows that the Frenchman is ready to take on the best at the US Open.
The huge serving American will be fancied to go a long way on home soil. Isner’s grand slam record isn’t the best, but he has enjoyed plenty of success on hard courts this season; with victory at the Atlanta Championships and a finals spot at the Citi Open. If the 13th seed can bring his A Game against his more fancied opponents he could well spring a surprise or two.
The number 17 seed’s progress has stalled somewhat since reaching the semi-final of Wimbledon in 2014, but he has shown recent signs of recovery. He has been playing well in recent hard court events on the ATP Tour and that improving confidence could be translated into good form at Flushing Meadows, and he was unlucky to lose in the fourth round to Gael Monfils at the event last year.