Serena Williams falls; but is Azarenka set for US Open triumph?
It’s been a very different kind of US Open this year, no crowds was expected but Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams exiting before the final wasn’t.
Djokovic’s campaign ended in disgrace after being disqualified from the tournament, while Williams’ exit was more despair as she let a one set advantage slip to Victoria Azarenka in the semi-final.
Azarenka will meet former Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka in the showpiece, while we’re at the final four stage of the men’s tournament.
Here’s what to look out for as we get to the business end at Flushing Meadows.
Can Medvedev emerge as the leader of the Next-Gen?
Djokovic was 8/11 for the title before a ball was hit, but after the Serb was disqualified for hitting a line judge with a rogue tennis ball it’s left the chasing pack to battle it out.
Much is talked about this new wave of talent, dubbed the ‘next-gen’, but they’ve so far been humbled by the dominant Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
But with talented hopefuls Daniil Medvedev now 7/2 favourite, plus two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem (6/4) and the enigmatic Alexander Zverev (7/5) in the last-four we could be about to witness history.
Medvedev lost the US Open final in 2019 to Nadal and has played like a man ready for his maiden major honour. But the other man in the hat is Pablo Carreno-Busta who’s taken advantage of Djokovic’s error to make his mark.
US Open women’s final: Naomi Osaka v Victoria Azarenka
Serena Williams looked a solid shot to seal a record breaking 24th major when she won the first set 6-1 in the semi-final against Azarenka. But the Belarusian seized on Williams’ achilles injury to make her third US Open final.
The 31-year-old has two Australian Open titles to her name and is 7/5 to see off the exciting Osaka in Saturday’s final.
Despite Azarenka losing her last two games to Osaka on clay, her confidence may come from defeating the Japanese player on hard-court in 2016.
But Osaka has improved massively since then and is the 8/15 favourite after winning this title last year.
She’s 6/5 to win in straight sets, but Azarenka will be buoyed by her comeback victory in the semis and is 7/2 to lose the opening set but still win the match.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication