Novak Djokovic looks the most likely to profit from Rafael Nadal’s absence at the US Open and retain his Flushing Meadows title.
The 25-year-old is priced at 11/8 to pick up his sixth Grand Slam in New York, although Wimbledon champion Roger Federer is in good form.
Federer comes into the tournament as the world number one, but last year’s winner Djokovic will be keen to retain his trophy.
The Swiss convincingly overcame the Serbian in last week’s Cincinnati Masters final, and can be backed at 5/2 to win a record sixth open-era US Open title.
However, studying the men’s singles draw appears to offer Djokovic an easier route to the Queens final than his main rival.
In the same half of the draw as world number five David Ferrer, Djokovic will be hoping that Federer struggles on the other side.
Federer faces American Donald Young in the first round, before potential ties with Fernando Verdasco and Mardy Fish in the third and fourth.
Thomas Berdych looks set to await in the quarter-finals, whilst the 31-year-old’s Olympic conqueror Andy Murray lurks in the semi-finals shadow.
Scotsman Murray is the third favourite to win his first-ever Grand Slam in the US at 10/3, and may need to beat Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, (33/1) Federer and Djokovic within a week to do so.
The Wimbledon runner-up kicks off against Russian Alex Bologomov Jr, and could clash with Feliciano Lopex and Milos Raonic in the later rounds.
Nadal’s countryman Ferrer has effectively taken his place in the US Open draw, but is a much longer bet to win at 40/1 and could face Mikhail Youzhny, Richard Gasquet and John Isner before the last four.
For Djokovic’s part, the draw has been kind to him aside from a tricky looking fourth round tie against either 2009 champion Juan Del Potro (10/1) or Andy Roddick.
Overcome either of those two and Djokovic would be expected to ease past Ferrer in the semis, a man he has beaten in straight sets at every Grand Slam meeting they have had.
A potential final between Federer and Djokovic looks tough to call, although the Swiss’ aging body may struggle against such quality opposition en route.
It may currently be a golden year for Federer, but Djokovic has the ability and mental fortitude to return to the heights he scaled in 2011 at Flushing Meadows.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.