Serena Williams’ status as clear favourite to win the US open is based on reputation rather than form.

The six-time champion is, admittedly, the prestigious name and home favourite, but she has won just one match since reaching the Wimbledon final in the beginning of July, losing to rival Petra Kvitova in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters a fortnight ago.

It is likely to be a few more months before we see the best of her again.

That means the value lies elsewhere, particularly with Simona Halep , whose form has not relented throughout 2018.

The French Open champion’s early Wimbledon exit can be put down to the stresses and strains of victory at Roland-Garros, and she has since reached two finals, beating Sloane Stephens in the Rogers Cup before going down to Kiki Bertens in Cincinnati.

Up until to that Bertens defeat, Halep had had a match point in every match since the Italian Open in May.

Defending champion Sloane Stephens joins her among the favourites, despite a dip in her form over the last couple of months.

A shock first-round exit at Wimbledon has been followed by early exits in Washington and Cincinnati, as well as the defeat to Halep in Montreal.

Angelique Kerber , meanwhile, has won just three of her five matches since claiming the title at SW19 last month. Nobody other than a Williams sister has won both that tournament and this one since Martina Hingis in 1997.

Simona Halep to win the US Open
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Best of the rest

After her Cincinnati Masters victory last week, Kiki Bertens is capable of outperforming her price.

The 26-year-old reached the last eight of a slam for the first time in over two years at Wimbledon, and has been handed the out-of-form Caroline Wozniacki in her quarter.

Last year’s finalist Madison Keys has reached the last eight in three of her last four majors, and could also be worth keeping an eye on.

Jelena Ostapenko , meanwhile, looks underrated given that she has reached the last eight of three of her last six slams, despite the hard court not being her best surface.

Petra Kvitova also has a chance, but multiple slam winners Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams are probably not in good enough form to do much damage – though a meeting between the Williams sisters in round three is possible.

Kiki Bertens to win the US Open
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