It’s finally upon us, the final Grand Slam of the year – the US Open in New York – and there are plenty of reasons to watch, and to bet on the athletes.
Alas, a calendar slam for Novak Djokovic isn’t on the table anymore, but another epic duel with Carlos Alcaraz seems inevitable, and Coco Gauff is playing the best tennis of her career.
The tournament begins Monday, Aug. 28, with 128 players apiece competing in the men’s and women’s singles draws. It’s the culmination of a string of North American hard-court tournaments to get the world’s top players reacclimated to the surface after a year of grass and clay action.
Those hard-court tournaments have also allowed players to build momentum and join the ranks of the top title contenders at the Open. We highlight the top options, along with their odds from Tipico Sportsbook.
Novak Djokovic (+117) had his bid for the calendar slam halted by Carlos Alcaraz in a classic five-set Wimbledon final, but he has since exacted a modicum of revenge by beating Alcaraz 5-7, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (4) in the Cincinnati Masters 1000 final. The latter was the first hard-court clash between the 36-year-old Djokovic and the 20-year-old Alcaraz.
A final clash between the top two players in the world rankings would be just about even money, but Djokovic’s pre-tournament odds edge makes sense considering he has a lower chance of losing before the final given his dominance over the rest of the tour in best-of-five set play.
Carlos Alcaraz (+130) is the defending champion, but Djokovic wasn’t in the 2022 draw. While the prodigious Spaniard proved he can beat Djokovic at a Grand Slam in the Wimbledon final, Alcaraz subsequently played far from his best in the pair of Masters 1000 events between Wimbledon and the US Open, producing only one straight-sets win in eight matches.
Alcaraz will need to be sharper here to avoid running out of steam late in the tournament, but the world No. 1 will still be a substantial favorite in every match before the potential final against Djokovic.
Daniil Medvedev (+600) is much closer to Djokovic and Alcaraz on hard courts than on other surfaces. The 6-foot-6 Russian beat Djokovic to claim the 2021 US Open title and also made the final here in 2019.
Whichever of Djokovic or Alcaraz ends up with Medvedev in their half of the draw could be looking at a far tougher semifinal, though Medvedev personally may prefer to face Djokovic considering Medvedev has won just 14 games across five sets against Alcaraz in 2023.
Jannik Sinner (+1000) is in groove heading into the US Open after reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon before going to on to win his first Masters 1000 title in Toronto. Sinner will be kicking himself for losing early in Cincinnati after winning the Canadian Open, as a deep run there would have secured the No. 4 seed for him.
Instead, Sinner’s seeded sixth, which means he could meet one of the three players above in the quarterfinals. He certainly has the skills and confidence to beat any of them, but beating two of Djokovic, Alcaraz and Medvedev will be extremely tough, let alone all three.
Alexander Zverev, Holger Rune and Stefanos Tsitsipas all have +2000 odds, sliding in just ahead of Casper Ruud (+2500).
Tsitsipas is the likeliest player of this group to make major noise at the US Open. The No. 7 seed has never been past the third round of the US Open in five attempts, but he reached the final of the Australian Open and has now been to two major finals and four additional semifinals.
The 12th-seeded Zverev was the 2020 finalist at the US Open and made his third consecutive French Open semifinal this year, but he is just 13-11 on hard courts in 2023.
Rune should have the best draw of this group as the No. 4 seed, but the 20-year-old’s body appears to be letting him down lately in what has been his first full ATP season of making deep runs, as he’s been battling a lower-back injury and enters this tournament on a three-match losing streak.
Ruud took advantage of a depleted draw to reach the final here last year, but he’s morphed back into a clay-court specialist, going just 6-8 on hard courts in 2023.
Karen Khachanov (+5000) is a sleeper who’s available at a discount due to a recent injury. In his last three Grand Slams played, Khachanov reached the 2022 US Open semifinals, 2023 Australian Open semifinals and 2023 French Open quarterfinals, but he hasn’t played since the French Open due to a stress fracture in his back.
He was originally in the draw for Cincinnati earlier this month before withdrawing late, suggesting Khachanov should be healthy enough to give it a go here.
Tommy Paul (+8000) made the Australian Open semifinals this year, and he just split a pair of entertaining three-setters against Alcaraz this month, which should give the 14th-seeded American confidence that he can hang with anyone.
Iga Swiatek (+210) will be looking to repeat her Grand Slam results from last year, when she won the French Open and US Open but came up short at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Swiatek’s only hard-court title so far in 2023 came at a 250-level event in her home country of Poland, but the world No. 1 has made the semifinals or better in all four hard-court WTA 1000 events she’s played this year.
Given that context, it makes sense that she’s handily favored compared to any other individual but is also a clear underdog against the field.
Aryna Sabalenka (+430) won this year’s other hard court Grand Slam at the Australian Open, and the big-hitting Belarusian is hot on Swiatek’s heels for the world No. 1 ranking. Sabalenka’s 44-10 overall record in 2023 includes another hard-court title in Adelaide, as well as a runner-up finish at the hard-court Masters 1000 in Indian Wells.
Elena Rybakina (+620) has been a paragon of consistency in 2023. After reaching the Australian Open final, she proceeded to win Indian Wells and made another final in Miami. The big server’s lone Grand Slam title came at Wimbledon last year, but Rybakina has been right there with Swiatek and Sabalenka near the top of the women’s game in 2023, and she has a 3-0 head-to-head edge against Swiatek this year. Rybakina retired due to a shoulder injury in her most recent match in Cincinnati, but that exit was hopefully precautionary.
Coco Gauff (+800) is playing the best hard-court tennis of her career heading into the US Open. She’s gone 11-1 over the three tournaments since Wimbledon, taking home titles at the Citi Open and Cincinnati WTA 1000.
The 19-year-old American’s best Grand Slam result outside of the French Open was her quarterfinal run here last year, but Gauff has legitimate championship aspirations at the US Open this time around as she searches for her first Grand Slam title.
Jessica Pegula (+950) has an extensive history of falling short late in big tournaments, but she should take some confidence from her recent WTA 1000 title at the Canadian Open, where Pegula beat Gauff and Swiatek along the way. The world No. 3 should take care of business early as usual, but Pegula is 0-6 in Grand Slam quarterfinals.
Ons Jabeur (+1400) reached the final at both Wimbledon and the US Open last year. She repeated that Wimbledon result in 2023, but another deep run at this tournament is unlikely given her struggles on hard courts, where Jabeur’s signature slices and drop shots are least effective.
The world No. 5 has a career winning percentage under 55 on hard courts, compared to marks north of 70 percent on both clay and grass.
Karolina Muchova (+1700) has finally put together a healthy season after battling injuries in recent years. Her 2023 results include runner-up finishes at both the French Open and the Cincinnati WTA 1000. Having climbed to No. 10 in the rankings, Muchova will be a tough out.
Marketa Vondrousova (+2000) shocked the world by claiming her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. She also reached the 2019 French Open final on clay and won a silver medal at the Olympics on hard courts in 2021, so Vondrousova has found success on every surface. The 24-year-old has never been to the quarterfinals of a hard-court Grand Slam, though.
Mirra Andreeva and Caroline Garcia both have +2500 odds. Andreeva is a sleeper who has gained tremendous hype, as the 16-year-old Russian made the third round at the French Open and Round of 16 at Wimbledon this year. It’s a bit early to view her among the top title contenders, though.
Garcia reached the US Open semifinals last year, but nothing about her 2023 results suggest she is capable of a repeat performance. Case in point, Garcia won Cincinnati heading into the US Open last year. This year, she lost her first match at that tournament.
Jennifer Brady and Caroline Wozniacki are both sleepers with +6000 odds taking part in a Grand Slam for the first time in a couple years. This will be Brady’s fifth tournament back from a two-year absence due to a knee injury. Prior to the injury, the American was among the world’s best hard-court players, as she reached the semifinals at the 2020 US Open and the final at the 2021 Australian Open.
Wozniacki is a former world No. 1, Australian Open champion and two-time US Open finalist. After being in the commentators’ booth since the 2021 Australian Open, the 33-year-old Dane got a hankering for more professional tennis and unretired earlier this month.
Photo Credit: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire, IMAGO / NurPhoto
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