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The final Grand Slam of the year will be one of the most memorable US Opens of all time. This year's main attraction is that it will be the last time we see Serena Williams play competitive tennis. She is set to play on ESPN tonight at 7 pm ET against Danka Kovinic. She is also playing doubles with her sister Venus Williams. That is where all the media attention will be as long as she is still in the tournament but let's look at some other matches in the opening round, possible men's quarter winners, and Men's and Women's futures.
In quarter 1, we have the favorite and returning 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev favored to win his quarter at -118. In this group to challenge him is Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios at +275, Felix Auger-Aliassime at +700, and Pablo Carreno Busta at +1400. Nick Kyrgios would be the sexy pick, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Medvedev is the play here.
Quarter 2 is the most wide-open bracket in the tournament. The American Taylor Fritz is currently tied to be the odds-on favorite with Stefanos Tsitsipas, both at +250. Coming in behind these two are Italian Matteo Berrettini at +400 and Casper Ruud at 9/1. If we are being honest, this quarter feels like just picking a random name out of these four players. I would lean Matteo Berrettini here; he is one of the best hard-court players, and at +250 for Fritz and Tsitsipas, there's not a ton of value.
This is another widely available quarter, with the Spaniard Carlos Alcarax favored to come out at +125. Behind him is Jannik Sinner coming in at +325, Western and Southern Open champion Borna Coric at +650, and Hubert Hurkacz at 8/1. It's difficult not to pick Carlos Alcaraz here. Even though +125 is not great value, he has the potential to dominate this tournament absolutely. Sinner defeated Alcaraz in the round of sixteen at Wimbledon, but it will be a different result this year if they meet. I understand it is a trendy and easy pick, but sometimes those are the right ones.
Besides Serena, the second biggest storyline will be Rafael Nadal going for his 23rd Grand Slam. The sportsbooks have Daniil Medvedev, the favorite at the moment, at +210, with Nadal right behind him at +350. Nadal has some potentially dangerous matchups through his tournament run against Andrey Rublev, Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie, and the Greensboro native John Isner. I like Nadal's chances of winning his quarter. If I were to place the best value on a pick, it would be Cameron Norrie at +700.
I have two picks rolling into Monday's men's matches, and no picks on the Women's side today.
Thiem is currently 7-0 against Busta, but he has been very rusty coming back from injury. He barely escaped with a win against J.J. Wolf in the Winston-Salem Open, advanced again due to Dimitrov being forced to retire, and got smoked by Jack Draper. Busta will be firing on all cylinders, and this match should be finished in straight sets.
It's going to be a serving masterclass on display in this one. I expect each player to dominate their serve games, possibly resulting in a couple of tiebreakers. I would not be shocked to see Kokkinakis steal a set in this one.
These will not be a sexy +3000 pick, but I think playing one of the top favorites gives you an excellent opportunity to win some money here. If you want a long shot pick I would take Matteo Berrettini at +3000 and you may have the ability to hedge later on.
I believe Nadal will grab his 23rd Grand Slam title this year, defeating Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals and defeating Daniil Medvedev in the final.