Serena Williams is, as ever, the favourite for the US Open, but she is not a good bet to win her first grand slam since 2017.
As ever, Serena Williams is the favourite to win the US Open, but she is no more backable than in any major for the last three years.
Williams hasn’t won a slam since January 2017. Despite reaching four finals in that time, her failure to win one isn’t so much down to bad luck as her lacking the stamina to go all the way.
A better bet looks to be the 2018 champion and joint-favourite Naomi Osaka .
Osaka has won two slams since Williams last won one, and has reached the semi-finals of two of her three events this season, including in New York last week.
The 22-year-old also avoids Williams until the final, which is probably the best time to play her. The only concern is a hamstring injury that forced her withdrawal from last week’s Western & Southern Open final, but it does not seem to be too serious.
The best of the rest
One young player worth keeping an eye on is Arnya Sabalenka .
Sabalenka has won a title in each of the last three years, the most impressive of which was earlier this year – the Qatar Open, in which she beat Petra Kvitova in the final.
Her singles record at slams is not fantastic, but she did win the women’s double title at this event last year.
She is a baseline player with a strong serve, which suits the hard court.
Sabalenka’s partner in that doubles competition, Elise Mertens , is also worth a punt. She was knocked out of the Australian Open by Simona Halep in January and reached the quarter-final of the women’s singles 12 months ago.
The 24-year-old also went well in last week’s tournament in New York, reaching the semi-final.
Brit Jo Konta looked in fine form last week, reaching the semi-finals in New York, but has too often fallen short at the latter stages of slams to have much confidence in.
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