The 2019 US Open is just around the corner and while Naomi Osaka will be looking to retain her title and win her third Grand Slam in the process, there’s plenty of competition. Unlike men’s singles tennis, which sees the ‘big three’ (Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal) win slam after slam, the women’s singles tournament is much more open.
Despite the dominance of the Williams sisters since the turn of the millennium, it’s too tough to call who will win each Grand Slam as they come around. In the last three calendar years alone, a different female star has won each Grand Slam – if Osaka, Ashleigh Barty or Simona Halep aren’t successful in New York, it will be the fourth year that all four Grand Slams have been won by different players.
Who are the favorites for success in the women’s singles at Flushing Meadows?
When looking at US Open tennis odds from Paddy Power, six-time winner of the Slam, Serena Williams is the favorite. Serena famously made the final at Flushing Meadows last year, losing out to rising star Osaka. In the Slams this year, she recently lost the final of Wimbledon to Halep and will need to overcome this defeat and regain her confidence if she wants to break the record of titles won in the Open Era of the tournament. Serena had to recently retire from her Canadian Open final against Bianca Andreescu; however, she’s returned for the next US Open warm-up event, the Cincinnati Masters and should she stay injury-free and on top of her game, there’s no reason why she can’t challenge for another title – and level with Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles.
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Halep recently defeated Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final to win her second Grand Slam title – having previously won the French Open in 2018. Her record in the US Open isn’t the best, with two first-round defeats in the last two tournaments – the most recent seeing her go into the tournament as World number 1 and lose to unseeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi. Halep too had to retire from her match at the Canadian Open – a foot injury preventing her from competing in the quarter-final against Marie Bouzkova – however, she’s set to return for the Cincinnati Masters. The US Open is the only Grand Slam that Halep hasn’t made the final in but should she regain that momentum from Wimbledon, she’ll be an unenviable opponent.
This year has seen Barty reach World number 1, while also exceeding her performances in all of the Grand Slam tournaments so far. At the beginning of the year, she made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time, losing to eventual runner-up, Petra Kvitová. Winning the French Open saw Barty win her first Grand Slam and also reach number 1 in the WTA rankings. However, she was defeated in the fourth round of Wimbledon, her best finish to date in the grass tournament. If Barty wants to regain her number 1 spot, she’ll need a good run in the Cincinnati Masters, which in turn would serve her well ahead of the final Grand Slam of the year.
Current World number 1 Osaka is up there too, amongst the favorites for the slam. Should Osaka retain her title, she’d be the first woman since Serena Williams in 2014 to win back-to-back US Opens. After winning the Australian Open earlier this year, the 21-year-old rising star suffered a shock exit in the most recent Grand Slam, Wimbledon – losing out to Yulia Putintseva in the first round. Osaka recently revealed that she “hasn’t had fun playing tennis” since her Grand Slam success earlier this year, with injuries and a lack of form hampering her season. However, she’s back at the top of the WTA rankings and will need to regain her confidence if she wishes to defend her title at Flushing Meadows.
As we saw in July at SW19, it’s too close to call – and on their day, any number of players could well win the women’s singles title. After her finals defeat in the last Slam (and the last US Open), Serena Williams is our favorite – despite the pressures of winning a first title since 2017, aiming to surpass Court’s record and playing in front of a home crowd.