The U.S. Open draw took place Thursday morning and the favorites to win the final Grand Slam of the tennis calendar are as expected. Defending champion Iga Świątek is the favorite on the women’s side and Novak Djokovic is just ahead of defending champion Carlos Alcaraz on the men’s side.
Świątek is seeking her fifth Grand Slam title to go with her three French Open titles, including this year’s title and the U.S. Open she won last year. At this point, she is the favorite entering every Grand Slam but is not an overwhelming favorite off of clay.
On the men’s side, Djokovic and Alcaraz are neck and neck in the odds at almost every tournament they both enter. They are the clear top two ahead of everyone else in New York. Alcaraz’s draw for this U.S. Open looks a bit tougher than Djokovic’s, but both players will be clear favorites against any opponent until a potential meeting in the final.
U.S. Open women’s singles odds
The odds show a bit of separation between Świątek and Aryna Sabalenka and then a bigger gap beyond that. Sabalenka has as much talent as anyone on tour, but her inconsistency, particularly with her serve, has hurt her against top players. Still, she has made at least the semifinals at the last four majors and won the last hard-court major in this year’s Australian Open.
After those two, it’s more jumbled, with Elena Rybakina, Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula making up the next tier of contenders. Gauff had a shocking first-round exit at Wimbledon but is fresh off the biggest tournament win of her career last week in Cincinnati. Gauff made the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open last year.
Pegula has made five Grand Slam quarterfinals in the past two years (and has six in her career) and has lost all of them.
U.S. Open men’s singles odds
Djokovic gets the edge ahead of Alcaraz despite Alcaraz beating Djokovic in the Wimbledon final just over a month ago. Alcaraz is the defending champion, but Djokovic wasn’t in the field last year. Djokovic has won six of the past nine Grand Slams he has entered (and has made the final in eight), so it makes sense for him to remain the favorite for now.
Daniil Medvedev, who beat Djokovic in the 2021 final, is a logical third-best in the odds. Medvedev could meet Alcaraz in the semifinals.
Italian Jannik Sinner made the quarterfinals at last year’s U.S. Open and is coming off a semifinal appearance at Wimbledon. He is being given a lot of respect in the odds because it falls off a cliff after him. Alexander Zverev is next in line in the odds to win the tournament and his odds are more than twice as long as Sinner’s. The men’s game is all about the favorites right now.
Highlights from the women’s singles draw
The first thing that stands out about the women’s draw is the potential Świątek-Gauff quarterfinal. The best player in the world in Świątek against an American coming off a Masters-level tournament win. Gauff beat Świątek in three sets in the semifinal en route to her win in Cincinnati. That could be memorable stuff on Arthur Ashe Stadium if we see it.
Another marquee quarterfinal could be Sabalenka against Ons Jabeur. Jabeur knocked Sabalenka out in Wimbledon semis and both players are legit contenders in every tournament.
The early rounds have some intriguing matchups as well. Caroline Wozniacki is in her first major since coming out of retirement. She made the second round in Montreal and lost in the first round in Cincinnati to prepare for this. She will face a qualifier in the first round and could see No. 11 seed Petra Kvitova in the second round.
Sloane Stephens, 2017 U.S. Open champion, faces French Open semifinalist Beatriz Haddad Maia in a marquee first-round match.
Leylah Fernandez, 2021 finalist, opens against No. 22 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova. Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 champion, could face the winner in the second round.
Highlights from the men’s singles draw
While Alcaraz won’t have to see Djokovic until the final, Jannik Sinner, Stan Wawrinka, Alexander Zverev and Andy Murray are all in Alcaraz’s quarter. That’s probably not enough to question Alcaraz’s chances, but it’s a potentially tricky path. Murray could meet Grigor Dimitrov in the second round, with Zverev likely waiting in the third round. That section could be fun.
No. 10 seed Frances Tiafoe hasn’t made it past the third round of a Grand Slam this year but did make the semifinals last year. That run included a big win against Rafael Nadal, who is not in this year’s field. Tiafoe could see No. 5 seed and 2022 finalist Casper Ruud in the fourth round and then No. 4 Holger Rune in the quarters.
After his run to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, Christopher Eubanks is the No. 28 seed at the U.S. Open. He could meet Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round.
(Photo of Iga Świątek: Robert Prange / Getty Images)