2017 has been some sort of renaissance for the tour’s veterans.
Roger Federer is two from two after winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon, while Rafael Nadal won the French Open for the tenth time.
Serena Williams defeated her 37-year-old sister in Australia before her pregnancy, and Venus’ form continued when she lost the Wimbledon final.
Will the run continue for the final Glam Slam of the year or is there a new breed of heroes ready to take over?
Men’s: The Contenders
Federer’s ($2.50) year has been nothing short of amazing. He began 2017 with much uncertainty over his body but his Australian Open was outstanding. Federer defeated Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka and Nadal. He followed that by not dropping a set on his way to an eighth Wimbledon crown. His form continued by making the final in Montreal, however he picked up a back injury and was forced to withdraw from the Cincinnati Open.
After losing the Australian Open to Federer in five epic sets, Nadal ($3.75) then captured another French Open title and reaffirmed his clay dominance. He lost a classic in England against Gilles Muller in the round of 16 and has since regained the world number one ranking. His US Open preparation was briefly stalled by a shock loss to 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov in Montreal and a quarter-final defeat to Nick Kyrgios in Cincinnati.
2017 hasn’t exactly gone to script for Murray ($9.00). He looked like surpassing Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic after years of fighting the good fight. However he has no Grand Slam titles to his name this year. Admittedly, he has been hampered by a hip injury and that complaint sees him enter the US Open with a limited preparation.
Alexander Zverev ($9.00) is on the rise. The 20-year-old German won in Washington and then defeated Federer in the Coupe Rogers final. He suffered a second-round defeat in Cincinnati but that shouldn’t faze him. He has moved into the top ten and his chances are aided by Djokovic’s and Wawrinka’s absence.
Grigor Dimitrov ($17.00) started the year on fire. He won in Brisbane and lost an enthralling semi-final to Nadal at the Australian Open. His clay and grass results were not as good. Now back on his preferred hardcourt surface, he won in Cincinnati. He could cause some problems at Flushing Meadows, particularly if he avoids Federer.
Dominic Thiem ($21.00) has been around the mark for a few years now. He is 24 and achieved the rare feat of beating Nadal on clay earlier this year. His 2017 Grand Slam results are the round of 16 in Australia, semi-finals in France and he lost a marathon five-setter against Berdych at Wimbledon. More recently, he made the quarters in Cincinnati.
Australia’s Best Chance
Nick Kyrgios ($15.00) has had an indifferent year. He exited his home slam early and retired during his first-round match at Wimbledon. He then retired in Washington before making the round of 16 at Montreal. He played very well in Cincinnati where he made the final. His run included victories over Nadal and David Goffin.
Ladies’: The Contenders
Garbine Muguruza’s ($5.50) power and ball-striking ability was on display when she blasted Venus Williams off the court in the Wimbledon final. Since then she made the quarter-finals at Stanford and Toronto and had a commanding victory in Cincinnati. On her day she is almost unstoppable, however can she win when things aren’t going her way?
World number one Karolina Pliskova ($8.00) lost in the quarters at the Australian Open and semis at the French. But she suffered a surprise second-round defeat at Wimbledon. Her preparation for the US Open has been good. She lost a tough three-setter in the quarters in Toronto and then made the semis in Cincinnati. Her game can fluctuate and she is prone to lapses. She needs to fix this to win the US Open.
22-year-old Elina Svitolina ($11.00) hits Flushing Meadows in good form. She won in Toronto and defeated quality opponents along the way: Simona Halep, Muguruza and Venus Williams. Her best Grand Slam performance for the year was a QF at the French, however the young Ukraine’s confidence is sky-high.
Not too many people saw Venus Williams ($17.00) returning to Grand Slam finals and the top ten. Since her Wimbledon final defeat, she made the third-round in Toronto and lost to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the second-round in Cincinnati. Her game has lifted in the Grand Slams, but I’m not sure she can do it again.
Maria Sharapova ($15.00) is playing her first Grand Slam post her drug’s ban, after receiving a wildcard. Her preparation has been limited after withdrawing from pre-US Open tournaments Toronto and Cincinnati due to an arm injury she sustained while playing in Stanford. Her odds look severely short. I believe the US Open is a stepping stone towards 2018, not a 2017 Grand Slam victory.
American’s love a hometown hero and could the powerful and energetic Coco Vandeweghe ($19.00) be their next one? She always plays in top gear, however consistency is the issue. She made the semis in Australia and the quarters at Wimbledon. She made the final in Standford but was a first-round loser at the French Open and more recently, Toronto and Cincinnati.
Australia’s Best Chance
21-year-old Ashleigh Barty ($41.00) is having the best season of her career. She is now inside the top fifty, won her first WTA title in Malaysia and recently defeated Venus Williams. In the grand slam’s she made the third-round at the Australian Open and lost a tight match against Svitolina at Wimbledon. She has also taken a set off Muguruza the last two times she has played her.