The US Open was among the main highlights of the Men’s Tennis calendar this year, with plenty of shocks and surprises served up at Flushing Meadows.
And while few would have predicted Marin Cilic would pick up his first Grand Slam success in the US, the notion of a final featuring none of the big four so dominant for so many years in the men’s game was the biggest surprise.
With Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic dispatched by the Croatian and final opponent Kei Nishikori respectively, next year’s Australian Open could signal the start of a new era.
Stanislas Wawrinka was the champion last time they took to the courts Down Under, but who, if anyone, could ‘do a Cilic’ in January and come from nowhere to win a major title?
Here are five prime candidates and the odds available through Ladbrokes.
Individual errors cost Dimitrov dearly against Gael Monfils and meant the Bulgarian missed out on a quarter-final meeting with idol Roger Federer at the US Open. The man nicknamed ‘Baby Fed’ has nevertheless had a good season and at 23 has yet to reach his peak.
A Wimbledon semi-final, fourth round exit at Flushing Meadows and an Australian Open quarter-final appearance all came in 2014 and all represented his best ever results at three of the four majors. Further progress could see him push for a Grand Slam final and perhaps even a title.
The surprise package of the US Open, no one could dispute that the Japanese star warranted his place in the final after seeing off Milos Raonic, Wawrinka and Djokovic over some 14 sets of tennis. Unfortunately the 24-year-old appeared to run out of steam by the time of the final.
Rafael Nadal dumped him out of the Australian Open in four sets last time out Down Under, but the Japanese sensation looks set for great things under coach and former US Open winner Michael Chang.
Arguably the best server of anyone outside the so-called big four, Raonic is still only 23 and part of an exciting young Canadian tennis double-act that also includes female up and comer Eugenie Bouchard.
French Open quarter finalist and Wimbledon semi-finalist this year, Raonic also won his first 500 series title with the Citi Open, and also impressed in the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati Masters. A strong player with endurance to match, the only way is up from here.
After several barren years in the men’s game Australian fans finally have a player to back, with Kyrgios arriving on the world stage in 2014 via a sensational victory over a seemingly-resurgent Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon earlier this year.
Still raw, Kyrgios can take on the world’s best on his day, though he remains prone to the occasional lapse in concentration and poor attitude. However, best-ever performances at SW19, the US Open and Australian Open point to a bright future for the 19-year-old. Don’t be surprised to see the home support spur him on come January.
The Latvian starred at Roland Garros earlier this year, with a semi-final appearance helping the 26-year-old announce his long-awaited arrival on the main stage of men’s tennis, following several years in which he has been hyped as the next big thing.
Winner of the Nice Open and Open 13 in 2014, a big title win could be just around the corner, and Gulbis’ Australian Open odds make him a worthy each way bet, so don’t miss out.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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