Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Forget about Novak Djokovic for US Open

World number one Novak Djokovic is much too short at 6-4 to win the US Open at Flushing Meadows, starting next week.



A beaten finalist in 2007 and 2010, he was forced to retire with a shoulder injury when losing to Andy Murray in the Cincinnati Open final last Sunday and there has to be concerns about him lasting the tournament.

It would be no surprise if he didn't line-up come Monday, although he will be very keen to win this Slam for the first time and add it to his Australian and Wimbledon successes.

Winner of nine tournaments this year, his latest defeat by Murray was only the second in 59 matches. That's some form guide but he won't win unless he is 100 per cent fit.

Champion Rafael Nadal appears to be still feeling the effects from the foot injury sustained at Wimbledon.

He was not up to the mark in Cincinnati, being easily brushed aside by Mardy Fish. However, at big odds of 7-2, he's worth taking a chance on as he won't surrender his title easily.

Because of the problems surrounding the top two and Roger Federer struggling to find his form, it does open the door for Andy Murray who keeps getting so near and yet so far.

Federer at 5-1 and winner of 16 majors, hasn't won a tournament in the last 11 attempts, something he has not endured since 2001. The great man is on the wane and his tame surrender to Tomas Berdych in Cincinnati was uncharacteristic.

Murray should therefore be full of confidence and at 11-2, offers a touch of value as the next best to Nadal.

William Hill go 5-1 that the top four of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray reach the semi-finals but in the light of current circumstances, there maybe one outsider to spoil the party and that could be Fish who gave Murray a run for his money in Cincinnati. As the new American number one, he is an attractive each-way bet at 25-1.

On the women's front, Serena Williams will start a strong 6-4 favourite and is a solid bet.

Maria Sharapova (4-1) is certain to have her supporters after her Cincinnati success and is a past winner (2006) but Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (7-1) has never got past the fourth round of the US Open.

Victoria Azarenka (8-1) has never reached the fifth round stage while world number one Caroline Wozniacki must be avoided. She hasn't won a Slam and was beaten in the first round of her last two events.

Age is catching up on Venus Williams whose last major success was at Wimbledon three years ago which leaves Vera Zvonareva a reasonable each-way chance at 14-1.

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