She's already racked up a Slam victory over Williams this year, and now Angelique Kerber can become World Number One
US Open 2016, Flushing Meadows
Arguably the greatest women’s tennis player of all time, having equaled Stefi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slams, Serena Williams reached the peak of her powers last year at Wimbledon when she completed the ‘Serena Slam’, holding all four Grand Slam titles at the one time.
However, since that remarkable achievement her form has been inconsistent. She retained her Wimbledon title in a hard fought final against Angelique Kerber, but lost the two opening Grand Slam Finals of this year, the Australian Open to Kerber and the French Open to Muguruza, while she was also surprisingly knocked out of last year’s US Open at the semi-final stage by beaten finalist Roberta Vinci.
Added to those woes, the Rio Olympics was nothing short of a disaster for Serena, exiting the tournament in the first round at the hands of Ukrainian Elina Svitolina while also losing in the first round of the doubles with her sister, Venus.
She has been struggling with a shoulder injury this summer and pulled out of the WTA Cincinnati event, which is far from ideal preparation for her home Grand Slam which she has won on six separate occasions.
If Serena Williams’ can overcome her recent struggles with form and injury she could be a major contender but that seems a tough task at this stage. There may well be better value options than the favourite.
The player who seems best poised to claim victory at Flushing Meadows is Angelique Kerber, at a price of . As mentioned, she has encountered Serena Williams in two Grand Slam Finals already this season, getting the better of her on the hard court at the Australian Open Final.
Kerber’s form on hard courts this season is impressive. She claimed the Silver medal at the Rio Olympics this summer, reached the Final at Cincinnati last week having beaten another strong hard court player in Simona Halep in the semi-final, and also made to it to the semi-final stages in Montreal, Charleston and Miami, making her one of the most consistent hard court players on the Women’s Tour this season.
Angelique Kerber’s run to the Wimbledon Final also highlights that her top level isn’t restricted to one single surface and her all round game is in good shape.
The young American, Madison Keys (), is another player well equipped to also have a successful US Open with recent appearances in the Rio Olympics semi-final, where she was beaten by Kerber, and the WTA Montreal Final. She also had a good run at Wimbledon, reaching the fourth round. However, a recent neck injury that forced her to miss the WTA event in Cincinnati may have badly hampered her chances.
No such doubts surround Kerber leading into the tournament and with form on her side, she’s picked to collect her second Grand Slam title of the season, and with it knock Serena William’s off the World Number One spot.