Serena Williams: Over and out? - US Open preview
It's now 15 years (1999) since a young Serena Williams won her first title at the US Open, she was just 17 at the time, now 32 and still world number 1, can the American win her 6th title at Flushing Meadows in 2014?
Priced at 7/4 she remains at the head of the market, just as she has for each of the Grand Slam tournaments in 2014 - the problem being that she has yet to reach a quarter final in any of the three other Slams this year!
Outside of the Slams she has won four tournaments this year and a loss to her sister Venus (25/1) is her only defeat to date since her shock loss in the last 32 at Wimbledon to Alize Cornet (1-6 6-3 6-4)
Ever consistent Maria Sharapova (winner 2006) follows in the market at 5/1, this will be her 10th appearance in the US Open, although she has only been successful once, she is regularly seen deep into the second week.
Also at 5/1 is Victoria Azarenka, an injury ravaged season for the 25 year old Belarusian has seen her win only 10 matches in the whole of the year thus far, but if she is back to anything like her best she can beat anyone on her day.
Youngsters Simona Halep 7/1 and Eugenie Bouchard 8/1 follow next in the betting, both having made big breakthroughs in 2014, the question remains as to whether they will be as effective on the US hard-courts - don't rule them out of your calculations though, as especially Bouchard has the game to be very successful on this surface.
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (10/1) has followed up in exactly the same way she did after her first Wimbledon success in 2011, that's to say she has lost her form completely, and with a record which reads a best performance of the R16 in the US Open from six previous attempts she looks one to avoid here.
Since the tournament became an open event in 1968, American women have won 23 of the 46 completions, so what of the young challengers from the USA?
21 year old Sloane Stephens (33/1) reached the R16 last year before bowing out to Serena, whilst her young compatriot Madison Keys at 19 (50/1) looks a future Slam winner in the making - whether this year comes too early for the pair we will see, but both should certainly go on your ‘to watch' list.
Add to this seasoned campaigners such as Agnieszka Radwanska (25/1), Caroline Wozniacki (25/1), and 2011 winner Samantha Stosur (50/1), we can look forward to some tremendous tennis from the ladies over the coming weeks.
Coverage of the tournament with William Hill starts with the qualifying draw In-Play from Tuesday 19th August, with the main draw commencing on Monday 25th August.