Novak Djokovic is the clear favourite to win the 2019 US Open, with the Serbian superstar out to defend the title he won a year ago.
Djokovic is a three-time champion at Flushing Meadows but has been placed in the same section of the draw as Roger Federer, who is arguably his main threat for the trophy.
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Federer has not been at his best of late, but the veteran Swiss tends to raise his game for the biggest occasions and has triumphed at the US Open five times in his career.
However, all of Federer’s successes at the final major of the year came between 2004 and 2008 when he was completely dominant. Since then, he has been to the final twice and lost both times, coming out second best to Juan Martin del Potro in 2009 and Djokovic four years ago.
The other main contender for the crown according to the top bookmakers is Rafael Nadal, who is actually second favourite to Djokovic, ahead of Federer. This is despite the fact that the Spaniard has only reached the final once in the past five years, besting Kevin Anderson in 2017.
Tennis fans have been waiting for the next generation to break through for some time with Djokovic, Federer and Nadal still dominant at the top of the sport. The most likely from the coming men looks to be Daniil Medvedev, who heads to New York in excellent form.
Djokovic is without a doubt the man to beat at Flushing Meadows, but where is the best value to be found in the betting for this year’s US Open? Let’s take a look and pick out some selections.
Can Djokovic Be Stopped at the 2019 US Open?
The bookmakers are clear that Novak Djokovic is going to be the main man in New York this year, with the Serbian the top seed as well as a strong favourite at odds of just 6/5 to triumph.
But Thursday’s draw saw Djokovic and Roger Federer drawn in the same half, which means they are on a collision course to meet at the semi-final stage, assuming both men stay in the tournament that far. That, of course, would be a repeat of this year’s Wimbledon final.
Roberto Carballes Baena is first up for Djokovic and could be set to face Sam Querrey early on as well. The American knocked Djokovic out at Wimbledon, in the second round, in 2016. Medvedev, who has climbed to five in the world rankings on the back of a fine series of performances, is a potential quarter-final opponent for Djokovic, who was beaten by the Russian at the Cincinnati Masters recently.
Djokovic, then, does not have the clearest route through to the final, but if he shows the same form he displayed in his triumph a year ago, it is going to be hard to see how he loses.
Nadal Paired with Zverev in Bottom Quarter
With Djokovic and Federer in the same half, the bottom section should be dominated by Rafael Nadal. He takes on John Millman in his first match and this might not be easy for the Spaniard as the American beat Federer at the US Open in 2018.
Nadal – a 4/1 shot with the bookmakers – shone in Montreal but has not played a lot of tennis since Wimbledon, while his career history shows his body sometimes struggles on hard courts.
John Isner is a potential opponent for Nadal in the round of 16, but the King of Clay could also come up against Marin Cilic – the 2014 Flushing Meadows champion – at this stage.
And should sixth seed Alexander Zverev (40/1) finally show off his huge talent at a grand slam tournament then he is scheduled to meet Nadal at the quarter-final stage. Nadal really ought to reach the last eight at the very least, but he always feels vulnerable to suffering an early exit.
Federer Has Clearer Path to Semis
It is almost certain Roger Federer would have preferred to have been placed in the opposite section of the draw to Djokovic, but he should not be too disappointed with his route to glory in New York.
The five-time champion should come up against Lucas Pouille in the third round, with the Frenchman having got through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open earlier in the year. Kei Nishikori, the runner-up at this tournament five years ago, could face Federer in the quarters.
Federer, though, does not look to have too many stern tests ahead of him before that potential clash with Djokovic in the last four, with his price to win the event set at around the 7/1 mark.
Medvedev Primed to Shine
Few players are travelling to Flushing Meadows with a run of form as strong as Daniil Medvedev’s, whose recent performances have been rewarded by being made the number five seed.
Perhaps the only concern over the giant Russian is that he may have played too much tennis in the build-up to the tournament, having won the Cincinnati Masters – the biggest triumph of his career to date – as well as reaching the finals in both Montreal and Washington.
On paper Medvedev’s game looks ideally suited to the hard courts of New York and a price of 16/1 appeals, although the draw has not gone his way. Medvedev knows he can beat Djokovic, having done so in Ohio just a few weeks ago, but the Serbian is a different proposition entirely in a major tournament. That would be a blockbuster quarter-final, but Djokovic should win it.
US Open Men’s Best Bets
The traditional big three – Djokovic, Federer and Nadal – look set to dominate again and it would be no surprise whatsoever if they all feature in the semi-final lineup.
Even at 6/5 it is hard to look beyond Djokovic given his strong record here, with Federer more difficult to back given his lack of success at Flushing Meadows since those five straight titles.
Medvedev’s 16/1 is tempting but his price reflects the fact he’s in the same half of the draw as Djokovic and Federer.
Nadal’s fitness is always a concern on hard courts, so the bottom half of the US Open draw does seem to provide the best opportunities for value selections at this year’s tournament.
Karen Khachanov pushed Nadal all the way here a year ago and the Russian looks to have a superb future. At 66/1, he is worth considering for a small stakes each-way wager.
At 40/1, Nick Kyrgios could finally make a major breakthrough having shown increased maturity in his Washington success a few weeks back.
Felix Auger-Aliassime could give fans a run for their money at 100/1 although he has to beat fellow Canadian rising star Denis Shapovalov first.