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WTA US Open Quarterly Betting Preview: Angelique Kerber Looking to Repeat History

Credit:

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Angelique Kerber at the 2016 US Open (which she won)

  • Angie Kerber is the betting favorite (+200) to come out of this US Open quarter, but her path isn't easy.
  • I can potentially see eight different women coming out of what should be the most competitive quarter.
  • 2017 finalist Madison Keys will look to accomplish something only the all-time greats have done at the US Open.

After Angelique Kerber won her first Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2016, she backed it up with a second later that same year at the US Open. Well, after a major drought that lasted through 2017 and the first half of this year, Kerber defeated Serena Williams for the Wimbledon title a few months ago.

Not only will Kerber look to go back-to-back, but she’ll also try to win two majors in the same year for the second time in her career — both capped off with victories in New York.

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Kerber finds herself in perhaps the most competitive quarter, which features some big names and potential for intriguing matchups. Based on current form, I could see any one of eight women coming out of this section.

One of those women, Madison Keys, will look to do something that only Serena Williams, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert have done: win the US Open the year after a runner-up finish.

Let’s further evaluate this quarter to help with your futures and first-round betting prep. We’ll look closer at the seeds, then get into futures value and first-round action.

Seed Form Check

(2018 summer hard-court record)

#4 Angelique Kerber (1-2) — Disappointing summer, but somewhat expected after her Wimbledon title. Kerber also didn’t play that poorly in a three-set loss to Keys (her potential quarterfinal opponent) a few weeks back in Cincinnati.

#6 Caroline Garcia (4-3) — Has not found her insane form from the end of last season; the loss last week to Monica Puig was especially disappointing. Garcia looked tired, and her footwork was woeful. Perhaps she got caught looking ahead to this week, but she’ll have to be sharp from the jump, as she faces Johanna Konta in the first round.

#10 Jelena Ostapenko (0-2) — One of the most inconsistent players on tour. She made the Miami final and Wimbledon semifinals earlier this year, but then went 0-2 in the hard-court run-up to the U.S. Open. Ostapenko won the first set in each of those losses, but then bowed out without a fight in the third. The Latvian can win any tournament she enters, but her form and confidence are trending in the wrong direction.

#14 Madison Keys (3-1) — It’s been a light year for Keys due to a lingering wrist injury, but she’s had decent Grand Slam results. Keys comes to NYC after a respectable quarterfinal loss to the red-hot Aryna Sabalenka in Cincinnati; the American showed enough form there to be considered a legitimate threat here.

#22 Maria Sharapova (2-1) — I have zero idea what to expect from the up-and-down Sharapova. She suffered a disappointing first-round loss to Vitalia Diatchenko at Wimbledon, dominated Daria Kasatkina in Montreal, then lost in depressing fashion the next day to Garcia. Her game is tough to predict at the moment, but she is 11-0 in the first round at the US Open — and has made it to at least the third-round in 10 consecutive trips to New York.

#24 CoCo Vandeweghe (0-2) — An ankle injury has hampered Vandeweghe most of the summer. In fact, she retired because of it just last week in New Haven. It’s going to be very difficult for the American to duplicate last year’s semifinal run.

#29 Dominika Cibulkova (0-1) — Cibulkova took a lot of time off after Wimbledon, skipping both Premier tournaments. She entered last week’s New Haven tournament, but was dispatched easily by Julia Goerges. I don’t expect much from Cibulkova, who is only 2-3 on hard courts this year (generally her best surface).

#30 Carla Suarez Navarro (8-3) — Suarez Navarro benefited from one of the luckiest draws ever and made the New Haven final last week, but I still have seen very nice tennis from her this summer. Her three losses all came against quality opponents: Sloane Stephens, Victoria Azarenka and Sabalenka. Her footwork and one-handed backhand look to be rounding into form at the perfect time. She also gets a favorable draw.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Maria Sharapova at the 2017 US Open

Key H2H Records

(hard-court record)

  • Konta 3-2 (1-1) vs. Garcia — first round
  • Kerber 3-2 (0-2) vs. Alize Cornet — potential third round
  • Kerber 7-2 (5-1) vs. Keys — potential fourth round
  • Sharapova 4-2 (2-2) vs. Garcia — potential fourth round

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Moneyline Parlay Potential

  • Suarez Navarro (-300) vs. Nicole Gibbs (+250)
  • Amanda Anisimova (-245) vs. Taylor Townsend (+205)
  • Cornet (-380) vs. Johanna Larsson (+315)

Gibbs played well in qualifying to make the main draw, but Suarez Navarro is a different caliber of player. There may be some really long points in this match, but Suarez Navarro’s precision should lead her to a win.

Anisimova is one of the brightest young talents in tennis, as she turns just 17 on Friday. She is 0-1 in her career against Townsend, but that match came in March 2017 when she was just 15.5 years old. Her game has matured, and she should be able to outwork Townsend.

Cornet displayed nice form this summer and is 2-0 against Larsson in her career. Larsson is simply not a hard-court player.

Upset Alerts

  • Cibulkova (-290) vs. Arantxa Rus (+245)
  • Vandeweghe (-170) vs. Kirsten Flipkens (+150)
  • Kristina Mladenovic (-190) vs. Tamara Zidansek (+165)

As mentioned above, Cibulkova enters New York with zero form and only one match since Wimbledon. Rus doesn’t thrive on hard courts, but she performed well in qualifying and has at least won a match in the US Open main draw before. This price is just too high.

Vandeweghe is impossible to back at this point. She is 2-0 against Flipkens, but that was when she was healthy — and Flipkens still forced a third set in one of the two matches. Flipkens has not had a good summer, but Coco is an auto-fade candidate as a favorite right now.

If Mladenovic is a favorite, she is always on upset alert. Her game simply has not come around to where it was when she was in career form in 2015. Zidansek is a 20-year-old Slovenian who prefers a clay court but did beat Flipkens last week on a hard court. She also had a big win on clay last month against Kasatkina, so we know she can rise to the moment. Mladenovic should not be a -190 favorite.

Futures Value

I see Kerber as susceptible here, so I do see value in this quarter. I’ve already backed Keys at +1600 to win the tournament, but I would not be against taking her at +500 to win the quarter as well. It is a favorable draw, and she sounds confident. Angie has owned the American historically, though.

The other American I want to target is Anisimova (+3300). It’s possible the moment is too big for her, but her win over Petra Kvitova at Indian Wells should have prepped her for this Grand Slam. She also has two vulnerable seeds in her section: Ostapenko and Sharapova.

Suarez Navarro (+2500) warrants consideration, too, since she arguably has the two easiest matches to start the tournament.

First-Round Best Bets

  • Kirsten Flipkens +150
  • Timea Bacsinszky -140
  • Jo Konta -110
  • Tamara Zidansek +165 (.5 unit)
  • Stefanie Voegele +135
  • Andrea Petkovic +200 (.5 unit)

Konta has looked really strong this summer. She withdrew last week in New Haven, but that was because of a viral illness. Hopefully, the full week off will bring her back to 100% health. I’ve been more impressed with Konta’s game this summer than Garcia’s.

Aleksandra Krunic has played three matches this summer and has won four games — FOUR games. I have zero idea what’s wrong there. Bacsinszky meanwhile is slowly returning from injury. She has yet to win a match this year, but looked much better against Monica Puig last week. Puig was on a completely different level, and Bacsinszky was never going to win o a hard court — but she looked solid enough to beat a completely out-of-form Krunic.

Monica Puig is coming off a retirement in New Haven where she injured her abdominal area on Friday. She was in tears. This is a very quick turnaround and Voegele soundly defeated her 6-2 6-0 in Cincinnati just 17 days ago. Considering Puig may retire check your books on how retirement wagers are graded.

Ostapenko has show zero form this summer and is very much a rhythm player. Petkovic meanwhile has beaten Belinda Bencic and Sloane Stephens this summer. Both hitters will bash the ball, and if Petkovic can play with a little margin she can force Ostapenko into her usual tendency of multiple unforced errors.

*All odds referenced from 5dimes overnight on Saturday, Aug. 25. Please check back for added plays as the tourney approaches.

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