US Open 2018 – Womens Singles Preview

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Key Stats

  • 15/21 winners and 32/42 finalists since 1997 have reached a final of an outdoor hard-court tournament in the build-up from Wimbledon. This year’s finalists are: Qiang Wang and Saisai Zheng (Jiangxi Open), Svetlana Kuznetsova and Donna Vekic (Citi Open), Mihaela Buzarnescu and Maria Sakkari (San Jose Open), Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens (Rogers Cup), Kiki Bertens and Simona Halep (Cincinnati Open),
  • 13/21 winners had won an outdoor hard-court tournament since Wimbledon that year.
  • 38/42 finalists have been seeded, with 35 being in the top-10 seeds and 25 in the top-four.
  • 15/21 winners have been in the top-four seeds.

*Bold highlights the winners of build-up tournaments


Quarter One

The top-half of this quarter has enough talent in to make up a competitive semi-final line-up, let alone battling it out for one quarter-final spot. Simona Halep, the top seed, is in excellent form coming into this tournament, making the final in three of her last four tournaments, winning two. The Romanian should have an easy passage to the fourth round before meeting a more challenging opponent, most likely to be either of: Serena Williams, Camila Georgi, Svetlana Kuznetsova or Venus Williams.

Venus faces Kuznetsova in her opening round, which will be a fierce battle- the Russian having recently won the Citi Open. The winner will most probably go on to play Giorgi in the second round. The Italian has been in great form this year, with the highlight being her quarter-final at Wimbledon where she took the US Open favourite Serena Williams to a deciding set. The American was beaten last time out by Petra Kvitova, while her capitulation against Johanna Konta prior to that can be ignored due to personal reasons. In her opening round, Williams will face tough opposition in Magda Linette- who has reached both a quarter and semi-final since SW19.

This quarter gets even more competitive when you include the likes of Garbine Muguruza, Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova from the bottom half. Muguruza should advance through to the third round (despite losing her only match since Wimbledon) where she’s likely to meet with Barty. The Australian has been in sensational form since Wimbledon, winning eight of her ten matches, a statistic only bettered by Halep.

Additionally, Maria Sakkari reached the final of the San Jose Open and will hope to compete with eighth seed Pliskova in a likely third round clash. Pliskova, however, has made both the quarter-final and final here in each of her last two attempts and should have enough to advance through to the fourth round.


Quarter Two

Sloane Stephens will like the look of her draw, where she faces Evgeniya Rodina (who hasn’t won a match since her fourth round exit at Wimbledon) in her opener. Daria Gavrilova will likely be her third round matchup but last year’s winner will meet her biggest threat in a scheduled fourth round meeting with Elise Mertens, the Belgian recently beating the American in the third round of Cincinnati in straight sets. The only other name of note in this half of the draw is former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who had to rely on a wild card to make it into the draw and is unlikely to cause any upset.

The bottom half of this quarter looks a little more competitive: Ekaterina Makarova, Donna Vekic (runner-up in Washington earlier this month) Anastasija Sevastova and Qiang Wang (winner of the Jiangxi Open last month) all have the potential to go well.  Julia Goerges and Elina Svitolina are the two top seeds from this part of the draw; but the former, prior to getting to the semi-final at Wimbledon this year, has never gone beyond the fourth round in any Grand Slam event. Similarly Svitolina has yet to produce her best tennis at the Slams. Overall, it looks a difficult segment to unpick, with the winner far more likely to come from the top half.  


Quarter Three

The third quarter looks like another testing one, with Johanna Konta and Caroline Garcia locking horns in the opening round. The winner is likely to meet Monica Puig in the second round, who beat Garcia recently at New Haven and further down the line has a potential meeting with Carla Suarez Navarro, who’s currently into the semi finals of New Haven. With the likes of Maria Sharapova, Andrea Petkovic and the dangerous Jelena Ostapenko also sitting in the top half of the quarter, it remains highly competitive and it is difficult to decipher who will reach the quarters from this section.

The bottom half looks a lot more straightforward, as last year’s runner-up Madison Keys looks to have an easy route through to the fourth round where she will likely meet Alize Cornet or Angelique Kerber, with the latter the only Slam winner of the trio. However, the Wimbledon champion has lost her recent hard court matches against Cornet and Keys at the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati respectively.


Quarter Four

Petra Kvitova should have no problem making it through to the third round where she’s scheduled to play either Danielle Collins or Aryna Sabalenka. Both these women have had impressive tournament runs recently on the hard surface, with the latter of the two in the slightly better form. Given Sabalenka’s reputation as the ‘giant killer’, due to her recent exploits, she could add Kvitova to that list of big wins. One of these big wins was over Belinda Bencic who she could meet again in the fourth round.

However, Bencic doesn’t have the easiest route with potential meetings with Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Darya Kasatkina and most probably Naomi Osaka; so difficult to know who will prevail in the upper half of this quarter.

Kiki Bertens comes here on a high having won Cincinnati just two weeks ago and has a fairly easy run until the third round, where she’s scheduled to face Mihaela Buzarnescu. The Romanian recently won the San Jose Open and will be very difficult to beat, but if Bertens can repeat her recent form she should edge past her. Who the world no.13 will meet in the last 16 is more complex. Anett Kontaveit, Lesya Tsurenko, Alison Van Uytvanck, Samantha Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki make up the strongest of the final eight players in the bottom-half of the fourth quarter.

Wozniacki, who’s lost both her matches since Wimbledon, goes head to head with former US champion Stosur in her opening round. In another of the opening matches, Tsurenko meets Van Uytvanck. Despite Van Uytvanck’s good Wimbledon run, she hasn’t shown form on the hard court since. In comparison, Tsurenko recently made the quarters of Cincinnati – where she lost to Halep. That sets up a likely third round between Kontaveit and the winner of Wozniacki and Tsurenko, with the winner of that probably meeting Bertens in the fourth round.


Conclusion

Halep is the rightful no.1 seed after a sensational season where she’s won 49 of 57 matches and broken her Slam duck. However, with the likes of Serena, Muguruza many other big names lurking in her quarter we’re happy to leave her alone at the prices. Indeed, the last seven slams in the women’s game have been claimed by as many different players, so that is where we are going to concentrate our bets on.

Stephens is the reigning champion and after a disappointing first round exit at Wimbledon she looks a lot more comfortable back on the hard court. She reached the final of Montreal only to lose in three sets to Halep, but more recently she lost to potential fourth round opponent Mertens in Cincinnati. The Belgian is a massive price and with not many huge threats in this section of the draw, is worth a small wager.

Kerber fears no one and is having a season much more akin to 2016, when she won here. However, two players that have beaten her on a hard court since her Wimbledon triumph both sit in her quarter. Out of Cornet and Keys, the American is our preference to go one better than 12 months ago.

Wozniacki is a two-time runner up at Flushing Meadows but has struggled this year since winning in Australia. With the no.2 seed out of form, quarter four is the most open part of the draw, especially with Kvitova not winning since the first half of the season. Bertens saved match points against Halep before going on to lift the Cincinnati title where she beat four top-eight ranked player. She is one of the most improved players on tour and her triumph in Cinci was her second on American soil in 2018.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Elise Mertens to Win – 1 Unit

 BACK – Madison Keys to Win – 1 Unit

 BACK – Kiki Bertens to Win – 1 Unit


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