After coming so near to a clean sweep of the Grand Slam board in 2011, Novak Djokovic had only added two more Australian Opens to his pile before ending more than nearly 18 months of majors pain with the 2014 Wimbledon title.
Now back on the Slam winners’ carousel though, we expect the Serb to sweep all before him at Flushing Meadows.
It’s a huge incongruity that the world number one only has a single US Open title in the bag after five final appearances. Novak’s come up short against Murray and Nadal in successive finals but we expect him to correct some of the imbalance at Flushing Meadows with his second US crown.
Somewhat surprisingly to many, it’s Murray not reigning champion Nadal who’s next on our ladder. The 2012 champion and 2008 US open finalist was clearly suffering from a Wimbledon hangover in 2013 when he crashed out in the quarters in New York. Meanwhile, Murray’s road to recovery from injury looked to have been complete until his shock exit to Dimitrov at this year’s grass major. He’ll be extra motivated by that at Flushing Meadows, where he usually laps up the atmosphere.
After an imperious 2013 season on hard courts where Rafa hardly lost a match, a second US Open title was the crowning glory. However, the King of Clay has lost his last two finals on this surface – firstly this year’s Aussie Open to Wawrinka and then Miami to Djokovic – whilst sandwiching a shock third-round exit to Alexandr Dolgopolov at Indian Wells inbetween.
Stan’s Australian Open win catapulted him into the big time and proved the four-way domination of the top guys in recent years can be broken. His crushing US Open win over Murray before taking Djokovic to five gruelling sets in New York last year suggests he’ll be the prominent Suisse again this year.
The world number nine is on the rise, reaching the quarters in Australia before sweeping Murray aside to set up a semi-final clash with Djokovic at Wimbledon. The Queen’s Club champion has the serve and groundstroke armoury to go deep again on this surface.
Although Federer was so graceful and clinical on his favourite surface in reaching a ninth Wimbledon final, the simple facts are he has been found lacking in the hard-court majors in recent years. He’s not reached the final in New York since losing in 2009 and last reached the Aussie Open finale in 2010, when he won it.
With the fastest serve on the ATP Tour, the Wimbledon semi-finalist could be the best outsider in the pack on this surface.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.