2022 Women’s Tennis Futures: Is a Wild Season Incoming?
Credit: TPN, Getty. Emma Raducanu holds the US Open trophy after winning the title.
While the 2021 men’s tennis season will be defined by the sustained success of one player, the women’s season was anything but that.
A crazy year in which four different players took home a slam title was capped off by one of the most miraculous grand slam victories in the open era. Emma Raducanu stunned the tennis world by overcoming enormous odds to become the first qualifier to win a slam title.
But what is the outlook for the upcoming slam season according to oddsmakers? Are they backing Raducanu to win another slam? Will Naomi Osaka come back with a vengeance? Can Ashleigh Barty rebound from a disappointing US Open?
Read on to see the outlook.
The most recent iteration of the tournament saw a familiar face win once again. Osaka defeated Americans Serena Williams and Jennifer Brady in succession to capture her second back-to-back US Open/Aussie Open combination.
Osaka is favored to win the Australian Open again in 2022, but there are two 2021 slam champions right behind her, according to the odds. The Japanese star is +450 while Barty is +500 and Raducanu +650. US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez is +1600, ahead of world number three Karolina Pliskova who checks in at +2500.
Given the dominance that Osaka and Williams have maintained on hard courts in the past five years, it’s no shock to see the two opening as favorites for six consecutive Aussie Opens. But with the struggles that the possible GOAT has had over that time period, it’s also unsurprising to see underdogs winning in Melbourne.
Sofia Kenin and Caroline Wozniacki both won at +3300 or greater while Osaka herself won as an underdog in 2019. In 2022, Williams is priced at +1800, which is easy to understand given her lack of tennis following a torn hamstring that forced her to withdraw from the first round at Wimbledon.
As time goes on, it’s going to become harder and harder for Williams to nab another slam title.
A place where Osaka and Williams have both struggled, however, is on clay. Osaka hasn’t made it past the third round of the event, while Williams only has 3 titles at Roland Garros.
Oddsmakers have the duo as solid underdogs for the clay court slam in 2022, with 2020 champion Iga Swiatek leading the field at +450 and 2019/2018 champions Barty and Simona Halep following at +650. Raducanu is +700 despite the fact that she hasn’t played a professional clay court match.
Barbora Krejcikova won her first slam event at the event this year, defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 3 sets and proceeding to win the doubles title as well. Krejcikova opened at +12500 before going on a tear at Roland Garros, playing remarkable tennis en route to her victory.
If there is a tennis tournament to bet on underdogs, it’s the women’s side of the French Open. Four of the past five editions of the event have featured winners that opened with +5000 odds or greater, and an opening favorite hasn’t won the event since Serena Williams in 2015.
From Krejcikova to Ostapenko winning her first and only main tour event at +10000 to Barty and Swiatek at +5000, Roland Garros has been a place of mayhem for the women’s game, and it’s been epic to watch.
Barty garnered her second grand slam title in London this July, getting by some stiff competition that included Angelique Kerber and Krejcikova while only dropping two sets across the fortnight.
She’s favored to repeat the feat in 2022, with odds of +500. Raducanu tails her closely at +600 and Aryna Sabalenka/Naomi Osaka both sit at +800.
Wimbledon has been less kind to long-shot dogs than the French Open. Simona Halep is the biggest underdog to win the event in the past five years, opening at +1800 and defeating Williams in the final. The Romanian is listed at +1100 and didn’t compete in the 2021 championships due to a calf injury.
Barty is the only champion in the last five years to do so from an opening favorite position. Williams came close in 2018 but fell in the final as a favorite to Kerber.
The event wasn’t held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 Women’s US Open should go down as one of the betting stories of the year. Fernandez met Raducanu in the final bidding to become the biggest odds-on underdog champion in slam history, and Raducanu was able to accomplish her landmark piece of tennis glory in becoming a qualifying champion.
Both players are backed by oddsmakers to have a good chance making a deep run again, with Raducanu a co-favorite at +600 and Fernandez at +1800. Barty and Osaka are both co-favorites with Raducanu, and 2021 semifinalist Sabalenka comes in at +1000.
Osaka’s maiden grand slam title in 2018 came as a surprise to oddsmakers, with Osaka even winning as a +260 underdog in the famous final against Williams.
Raducanu’s recent title obviously stands out as the biggest underdog slam title in recent memory, but Sloane Stephens’ push from +6600 was rather shocking. The American got through four three-set matches before putting on a stunning display in the final, beating Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0.
If 2021 and the projected odds offer any indication, we’re in for another thrilling group of grand slam events in 2022.