There are certain realities attached to the U.S. Open which don’t apply to the other three major tournaments of the tennis season. Accounting for those details goes a long way toward identifying a champion in most years.
Health And Rest Are Paramount
The U.S. Open is the last of the four major tournaments played in a season. Therefore, it is the major tournament in which rest and health, in some combination, matter a great deal for players. Rafael Nadal is usually beaten up or depleted, but when he won in 2017, he was healthier than Roger Federer, who had back problems entering the event. Nadal had a very manageable draw and played Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals after Delpo won long and difficult matches against Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer. A year later, Nadal was the player who played the long matches and had to retire in his semifinal against del Potro. Novak Djokovic had a great draw in the quarterfinals, playing John Millman instead of Federer. He survived the hottest, roughest weather in New York and cruised through his semifinal and final.
On the women’s side, it was similar each of the past few years. Sloane Stephens in 2017 and Naomi Osaka in 2018 both played relatively little tennis in late spring and early summer, for varying reasons. They were both fresh and fit entering the U.S. Open, which they won in those respective years. Look for the players who are very talented but haven’t been overloaded with matches in recent months (July and August).
The Surface Is Slower
The United States Tennis Association slowed the court speed last year. There are no guarantees it will slow the courts this year, but if you were to bet on matches, you would want to assume that the courts will be slower instead of faster. The Australian Open has a faster hardcourt surface. The U.S. Open generally played slower last year. If it remains slow, the clay-court players will have a better chance at this tournament, so adjust your bets accordingly.
The Weather Is A Factor
The conditions at the 2018 U.S. Open were suffocating. Even Roger Federer, considered one of the fittest guys on tour, struggle physically in his fourth-round loss. It is hard to predict how a full two-week tournament will unfold, but in terms of betting on individual matches the day before or two days before the actual event starts, you will want to get reports on the heat and humidity in New York. Players built for endurance will be the players you will want to bet on in extreme weather, if it gets very nasty in New York. Keep that in mind.
WTA Players Who Do Well In Cincinnati Have Recently Struggled
The biggest tournament before the U.S. Open is Cincinnati, which ends one full week before the U.S. Open begins. The last two years, the women’s champion in Cincinnati has not done well at the U.S. Open. Garbine Muguruza in 2017 and Kiki Bertens in 2018 failed to make the quarterfinals. Simona Halep played Bertens in last year’s Cincinnati final and lost in the first round at the U.S. Open. If Serena Williams wins Cincinnati in 2019, you can make an exception, but in light of the past two years, you should be wary of the Cincy women’s champion at the U.S. Open.