Serena Williams An Underdog Against U.S. Open’s No. 2 Seed


Serena Williams has the 20th-shortest odds (+4000) to win the U.S. Open on FanDuel, but she’s the talk of the tournament. Arguably the greatest women’s player in history, Williams recently announced plans to “evolve away” from playing competitive tennis. She hasn’t confirmed that the U.S. Open will be her final event, but it’s a possibility. 

With retirement imminent, fans are glued to her every move in the tournament. Williams looked reasonably sharp in Monday’s first-round match, beating Danka Kovinic 6-3, 6-3. 

Wednesday night — Williams’ match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN — the task is tougher, according to sports betting oddsmakers. Williams faces Anett Kontaveit, the tournament’s No. 2 overall seed. Williams is a +205 moneyline underdog on DraftKings and FanDuel. 

Serena’s final match?

Interestingly, Kontaveit only has +3500 odds to win the tournament on DraftKings and +3600 odds on FanDuel. She’s the No. 2-ranked player in the world, but the odds don’t show her as a true contender to win the event. That makes some sense, considering Kontaveit has never advanced past the quarterfinals in a Grand Slam.

This year, she’s failed to advance beyond the second round of the Australian Open, French Open, or Wimbledon. Kontaveit has never reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, but she’s appeared in the fourth round twice, showing some promise as a hard-court player.

Defeating Kontaveit isn’t an impossible feat for underdog Williams, especially with the entirety of the New York crowd behind her. The atmosphere for Williams’ first-round victory was phenomenal Monday night, with the American fans going wild for Williams. Even fellow competitor Cori “Coco” Gauff attended Williams’ packed first-round match.

we here. watching the 🐐. I love you @serenawilliams

— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) August 29, 2022

Williams hasn’t played much in 2022, however, and she hasn’t advanced to the third round of a Grand Slam event since making the fourth round of the 2021 French Open. Williams fell in the first round of Wimbledon this year, and she didn’t play in the French or Australian. Williams also missed the 2021 U.S. Open, although she reached the semifinals of the event in 2020.

Despite limited competitive reps, can the legendary athlete conjure up quality tennis Wednesday on one of the sport’s biggest stages? If she can, it’ll be arguably the biggest sports story of the week. DraftKings lists Williams at +2200 to win the event, and BetMGM has Williams at +2800, significantly shorter odds than those at FanDuel.

The favorites

Iga Swiatek, the top-ranked player in the world, is the women’s betting favorite at +320 on DraftKings. Swiatek won this year’s French Open, giving her two Grand Slam titles. The 21-year-old has a bright future, and she’s eager to add to her growing legacy.

Gauff has the second-shortest odds at +1000, and the 18-year-old American figures to have plenty of crowd support. Gauff hasn’t advanced beyond the third round of the U.S. Open yet in singles, but she played in the doubles finals last year with Caty McNally. It’s likely only a matter of when, not if, Gauff secures a Grand Slam title. 

On the men’s side, Daniil Medvedev is the U.S. Open favorite on DraftKings with odds of +210, and Rafael Nadal is close behind with +350 odds. Carlos Alcaraz is listed at +500, and Nick Kyrgios has +800 odds to win the tournament.

Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY

Author: Ryan Gonzales