Net Talk: Final countdown
In his latest Net Talk column, our Andy Schooler says all is looking good for Roger Federer ahead of the US Open.
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So, there will be no Rafael Nadal in New York.
And in recent weeks both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have looked shadows of the players who have previously won the title at Flushing Meadows.
Things could not be looking much rosier for Roger Federer after his win in Cincinnati and runner-up effort in Toronto.
After an excellent Wimbledon which saw him push eventual champion Djokovic all the way in a terrific final, the Swiss has continued his momentum on the North American hardcourts, using the pacy DecoTurf to full effect.
Federer has rewritten the tennis record books over the past decade or so and he could ensure another amendment is made if he lifts the trophy three weeks today.
Only two men in the Open era - Ken Rosewall and Andres Gimeno - have won a Grand Slam title at the age of 33 or older.
Despite this history, the formbook - not to mention plenty of pundits - now have Federer as their favourite for the US Open. The bookies disagree with Djokovic still a short-priced jolly depsite his shock losses to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tommy Robredo over the past fortnight.
I'll be bringing you my best bets in my betting preview on Friday (the draw take place the previous day) but it's a case of so far, so good, in terms of my ante-post suggestions which made up my last Net Talk column.
As well as Federer - 8/1 then but just 7/2 now - Venus Williams and Ekaterina Makarova have enjoyed good warm-up results in Montreal and Cincinnati. I hope some of you got on at a decent price.
Before Friday's previews, we’ll also have other features on site during the week, including a look back at some classic encounters of US Opens past. To whet your appetite, check out his gallery of US Open legends.
It’s been a decent run since Wimbledon with Federer delivering more profits from my last preview when he made the final in Toronto.
Here’s my look at this week’s ATP Winston-Salem Open, which includes 6/1, 25/1 and 33/1 tips.
Meanwhile, Federer is now into 7/2 for the US Open with our betting partners Sky Bet following his victory in Cincinnati on Sunday.
The Swiss is joint second favourite alongside 2012 winner Murray. Djokovic is still regarded as the favourite despite his stuttering form. The 2011 champion is into 6/5 following Nadal's withdrawal.
Having rediscovered something like her best form over the past three weeks, Serena Williams is now a 7/4 shot to win a sixth US Open title.
A full list of US Open odds can be found on the Sky Bet website.
Stat of the week
Roger Federer’s title triumph in Cincinnati was the 80th ATP-level title of his career and his 22nd at Masters 1000 level. On the overall list, only Jimmy Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94) are ahead of the Swiss.
What you may have missed
Defending champion Rafael Nadal withdrew from the US Open due to his ongoing wrist injury. He joins Juan Martin Del Potro, another former champion, in pulling out of the event.
Andy Murray and Heather Watson will represent Great Britain at January’s Hopman Cup in Perth, a warm-up event for the Australian Open.
Ukraine will not be allowed to play next month’s Davis Cup play-off against Belgium on home soil, the ITF ruled.
This week in tennis
Monday to Saturday - There are final chances for match practice ahead of the US Open for the ATP players in Winston-Salem and for the WTA stars in New Haven. John Isner and Simona Halep are the respective top seeds.
Monday – US Open seedings are due to be announced. Expect them to reflect the world rankings.
Tuesday to Friday – US Open qualifying takes place at Flushing Meadows in New York. Britons James Ward, Dan Evans, Dan Cox and Naomi Broady will all be bidding to win three matches and reach the main draw.
Thursday – The US Open draw takes place at 1700 BST.
Stan Wawrinka (@stanwawrinka) and Sergiy Stakhovsky (@Stako_tennis) both made their feelings known on administrative decisions this week by taking to the social-media site.
Plenty of people were annoyed/baffled/disappointed by Bernard Tomic being handed a wild card by US Open officials. They include Wawrinka it would seem, after he retweeted a tweet by Barry Flatman (@Barry_FlatmanST), of the Sunday Times, which described the decision as "farcical".
Tomic has been labelled 'Tomic the Tank Engine' by some for a perceived lack of effort in the past.
Meanwhile, Stakhovsky, best known for his shock defeat of Federer at Wimbledon 2013 but also a prominent figure on the ATP players' council, descibed the ITF's decision to prevent his nation, Ukraine, from staging next month's Davis CUp tie with Belgium as "insane".
It is encouraging to see both stuck to their guns too - no sign of either tweet being deleted thus far.
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