The final Grand Slam of 2016 is upon us as SportNeverSleeps return to give their verdict on the field for the US Open...
"Kerber has consistently delivered this year though, and she’s now got important experience of winning the big tournaments. As seen in her last two matches in finals, she needs to raise her game again but she’s well placed to add another trophy to the cabinet."
With Flavia Pennetta happily retired, we're guaranteed a new champion this year and as ever, the favourite to win the tournament is world number one Serena Williams.
It's been a mixed year for the American, as although she would have been delighted with her triumph at Wimbledon earlier this summer, it's not been so great overall.
Having been denied in Australia and France, coupled with her more recent disappointment in Rio at the Olympics, question marks are now starting to be raised over the dominant force in women's tennis.
Williams is now 34 years of age and injuries are becoming a troublesome issue. Combined with a lack of form and confidence heading into the US Open, all the signs suggest that this is going to be a hard slog for her if she is to turn things around.
She faces a tricky start too against Ekaterina Makarova, while her quarter is loaded with Simona Halep, Sam Stosur and Ana Ivanovic to name but a few.
Available at 2.546/4, she's still going to get plenty of support. However, the gap between her and the rest of the field has shortened, and there are a group of hopefuls who will be desperate to triumph in the Big Apple.
Angelique Kerber immediately jumps out from the list, with the German ace hoping to add a second Grand Slam title to her year's work.
With the chance of grabbing the No.1 spot, she has proven her class this year and has overcome doubts about her ability to win big points and big matches.
However, those woes have resurfaced more recently after losing to Monica Puig and Karolina Pliskova in finals at the Olympics and Cincinnati respectively, and so it remains to be seen whether or not she's switched on both mentally and physically for this one.
Garbine Muguruza remains a threat despite her below-par summer overall, while Halep, Petra Kvitova and Agnieszka Radwanska will all naturally be in contention.
Behind them are an intriguing group of individuals, who all have a shot over the next fortnight and offer great value.
Johanna Konta's rise has been well-documented, while Pliskova will be buoyed by her success in Cincinnati. Similarly, Puig will be desperate to build on her wonderful achievement in Rio while Madison Keys is making solid inroads having now broken into the top 10.
The first-round draw has some real potential for upsets while the round of 16 onwards could be anyone's game. The second and third quarters are quite balanced so keep an eye on the likes of Radwanska, Venus Williams, Keys and Muguruza, as the opportunity is there.
Kerber has consistently delivered this year though, and she's now got important experience of winning the big tournaments. As seen in her last two matches in finals, she needs to raise her game again but she's well placed to add another trophy to the cabinet.
Back Angelique Kerber to win the 2016 US Open @ 9.28/1
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