Invincible Serena?

It would be very easy to write a one sentence preview of this year’s US Open women’s singles event. After all, everyone expects Serena Williams to win her fourth Grand slam of the year and her 22nd overall. But is victory really a foregone conclusion for the American?

The air of invincibility surrounding the 33-year-old has never been greater. She currently holds all four Grand slam titles (the “Serena Slam”) and is on her way to winning her fifth in a row to become only the fourth female player in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles in the same calendar year.

The general consensus is that the only person standing in Serena’s way is Serena. There will be a huge amount of pressure on her shoulders and intense scrutiny on every game that she plays throughout the next fortnight. If her mind is not in the right place, she could have one of her occasional early round slip-ups.

Having won the last three crowns at Flushing Meadows, there is little evidence to suggest that she is particularly vulnerable on these courts. However, she does tend to have a wobble in the third round of major events and that could give potential opponent Sloane Stephens a glimmer of hope. Stephens has given Williams some tough games in the past and will provide a real test for the World No. 1 is she is not fully up to speed by round three.

If Williams does make it to the quarter-finals as expected, she could meet Belinda Bencic, one of only two players to have beaten her this year. The 18-year-old has bagged two WTA titles already this term including the recent Rogers Cup event in Toronto when she defeated Williams at the semi-final stage.

Other contenders

With the news that Maria Sharapova has pulled out of the US Open, the second quarter now looks wide open. The potential match-up between Elina Svitolina and Ekaterina Makarova could provide one quarter-finalist, while in-form Ana Ivanovic or Jelena Jankovic could battle it out for other spot.

In the third quarter, Petra Kvitova, Andrea Petkovic and Caroline Wozniacki look like the most likely contenders for the two quarter-final places. Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza is in the same quarter but recently split from her coach and has failed to win a match since she graced the courts in southwest London.

World No.2 Simona Halep does not have a great record in New York but she does seem to have recovered from a recent dip in form at just the right time. On her way to the quarter-finals she could face Alize Cornet, Timea Bacsinszky or Sabine Lisicki before a possible meeting with second favourite Victoria Azarenka.

Quarter-final predictions:

  • Williams v B. Bencic
  • Ivanovic v E. Svitolina
  • Kvitova v C. Wozniacki
  • Halep v V. Azarenka

Final prediction:

Two of the last three finals have featured Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and there is a great chance of yet another match-up between the two big-hitters. You can back Azarenka to reach the final at 9/4 with Bet365 or at 3/1 on the Betfair exchange.

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