The next couple of weeks in New York should provide some fascinating discussion ahead of the Women’s Singles tournament at the US Open, in what promises to be a very competitive event indeed.
As is usually the case at this point in time, a look at the top of the market for the Women’s Singles ahead of the Grand Slam sees Iga Świątek *3.500 lead Aryna Sabalenka *6.000 and Elena Rybakina *6.000. However, with none of the trio winning the recent hard court Masters tournaments, there is a very competitive feel for the US Open, which starts in a week’s time.
US Open 2023: Could the closest challenge come from Gauff or Pegula?
While many players on the WTA Tour being capable of beating each other is far from a rare phenomenon, the last two weeks have been an extreme example of this. They have also provided a decent form line (both positive and negative) for a number of players who are towards the forefront of the current Tournament Winner market here at Pinnacle.
This the first time we haven't faded Gauff in a Grand Slam.
Players going into the US Open with a positive form line include the American duo of Coco Gauff *11.000 and Jessica Pegula, who is also priced at the same mark. Gauff won in Cincinnati, beating Świątek in the semifinal on the way to the title. Not only this, but Gauff also picked up the title in Washington recently without dropping a set against a strong level of opposition. While Gauff is a little shorter-priced than she usually is for a Grand Slam, this is probably the first real time that she’s gone into a Slam with great recent data and having beaten a lot of her rivals.
As for Pegula, she won in Montreal, beating Gauff, Świątek, and Liudmila Samsonova - more on her later - to also go into this in decent form. Hard court data suggests her serve is a little worse than Gauff’s, but Pegula does have the better return numbers, and she looks like a realistic second-tier contender.
For these two to contend though, it’s pretty likely that they will need to get past the likes of Świątek, Sabalenka, and Rybakina. Świątek lost in the semifinals of both recent hard court events, but has the best year-long hard court data on tour by a mile (none of the contenders come close to her on return). Sabalenka has uninspired lately, losing to the likes of Samsonova and Karolina Muchova recently, despite being a solid pre-match favourite against both.
Rybakina has other problems to worry about, retiring last time out in Cincinnati with an unexplained injury, which may or may not have been a preventative measure. The Kazakh going into a Grand Slam as an injury doubt isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, but it’s certainly not a positive.
US Open 2023: Is there any value further down the market?
Moving down the field, it’s probably easier to pick out players who look like they have a chance than those who don’t, with it being possible to draw a line through quite a few players. Wimbledon winner Markéta Vondroušová *19.000 has a decent chance of following that up with a good showing in New York, while the aforementioned Samsonova *26.000 has talent, but is inconsistent.
Beating Rybakina, Sabalenka, and Belinda Bencic to reach the Montreal final demonstrates her considerable talent, but a loss to Pegula in the final shows her inconsistency too. While we’ve seen that Samsonova is capable of beating high-profile opposition, putting it together for seven matches in a row is another matter entirely
The other player in the draw who is worth considering is Mirra Andreeva *31.000, who hasn’t played in the August Masters events, and has barely played on hard court on the main tour yet. Despite this, the 16-year-old has shown to be a quick learner, reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon as a qualifier despite having not really played on grass before, and getting to round three of the French Open as a qualifier too. Outside of the top 32, Andreeva is going to be a player who no seed wants to see next to their name when the draw comes out on Thursday. You can read Dan's Men's Singles tournament preview here.