Maria Sharapova has enjoyed her most fruitful campaign for some time in 2012, and as such is 6/1 second-favourite for the upcoming US Open.
Sharapova made the Olympic final this summer, and that appearance succeeded her first Grand Slam triumph in four years at the French Open earlier in the year also.
The Russian star has previously tasted success in this competition too, albeit six years ago, and she will welcome a return to hard court outings.
Indeed, her French Open victory came on a hard surface, and her efforts in that tournament far exceeded her disappointing run to the fourth round at Wimbledon.
She did improve on the grass courts of SW19 for the Olympics, but 2012 looks somewhat of a breakout year for Sharapova in terms of her hard court performances.
Therefore, she should be highly respected in the betting at Flushing Meadows, as she returns from a stomach ailment that ruled her out of last week’s Cincinnati Masters.
With that in mind, Sharapova’s biggest challenge at the upcoming Open could be in attempting to find her best form, in the aftermath of a recent lack of match practice.
One player who has competed more recently meanwhile is 11/10 US Open favourite Serena Williams, though she will be disappointed to have had her lengthy winning streak broken.
Williams had gone 19 games unbeaten until a quarter-final defeat in Cincinnati, for which German Angelique Kerber was responsible.
Though entering the competition in prime form, Williams succumbed to a straight sets defeat, and this year’s Wimbledon champion would likely prefer a grass surface at the US Open too.
Meanwhile, Williams’ most recent conqueror Kerber is 20/1 in the betting for a first ever Grand Slam victory, after she reached the semi-final of this competition last year.
Kerber advanced to the Cincinnati Masters final after besting Williams, and a hard-fought eventual loss to Na Li suggested both players will be prominent at the upcoming Open.
Li is available as a 14/1 shot after her surprise triumph on the WTA Tour.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.