Our tennis man Andy Schooler has already earned a profit by getting Bianca Andreescu to the final and he’s happy to back her again as the underdog against Serena Williams in his latest US Open 2019 betting preview.
Prior to the tournament, I wrote about why Bianca Andreescu was such a threat at this year’s US Open.
She’s already delivered for her 14/1 each-way backers but must now face arguably the greatest player of all time in Serena Williams.
It’s only fair to say that, two weeks ago, I also wrote that Williams was a shaky favourite at 5/1, but she’s made that statement look rather off-colour so far, dropping just one set and demolishing most opponents put in her path. She’s won no fewer than seven sets by a scoreline of 6-2 or better; hence she’s a worthy favourite here at 1/3.
Feel the pressure
However, part of my argument for Williams being that ‘shaky’ favourite was her track record for feeling the pressure.
That may sound strange about a player who has won no fewer than 23 Grand Slam singles titles but therein lies the problem.
She heads into Saturday’s final in New York (2100 BST) knowing victory would equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24.
She’s also been here three times before – losing the last two Wimbledon finals and the 2018 US Open title-decider.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 6, 2019
That last-mentioned match brought about her famous meltdown and, sadly for her, it was not the first time something like that had happened in a huge US Open match.
Basically she’s under huge pressure at Flushing Meadows both from her own expectations – she has spoken openly about what Court’s record means to her – and her own nation.
On paper, facing a first-time Slam finalist would be seen as ideal – we’ve seen many such players wilt with nerves over the years.
Don't expect stage fright
Yet Williams is just 4-4 against maiden finalists, last year’s shock defeat here being once such loss when Naomi Osaka outplayed her.
Andreescu does not come across as a player who will freeze on the big stage.
Her two career titles (both this year) have come at two of the biggest WTA tournaments – Indian Wells and Toronto – and she’s now 33-4 for the season. It’s worth mentioning that in the Toronto final, Andreescu met Williams for the first (and only) time in her career thus far, winning three of the first four games before the American retired due to a back injury. Andreescu says the experience will help her on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday.
“I think I deserve to be here”
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) September 6, 2019
An even more remarkable statistic is Andreescu’s 7-0 record against players ranked in the top 10. To put that into some sort of context, Serena won four of her first seven matches against top-10ers, while Maria Sharapova lost all seven.
That stat suggests to me Andreescu’s game creates unexpected problems for her opponents – no wonder given her ability to change the pace.
To me, that’s a potential hazard for Williams, who likes to play a match on her own terms. When her game goes awry, it usually means the forehand starts spluttering errors – see this year’s Wimbledon final – and given Andreescu will try hard not to provide the rhythm Williams craves, I’m not finding it hard to envisage something similar happening here.
Value with underdog
Certainly at the prices I’d be happier backing the Canadian at 12/5.
Williams’ form in New York could make even 1/3 quotes looks big but recent history suggests only the very brave should be getting involved at that price.
If you are convinced about Andreescu being a genuine threat in this contest (or are already on at the pre-tournament 14s), 4/1 about a 2-0 success also looks tasty.
The aforementioned three final losses in the past 14 months for Williams have all come in straight sets. If she’s struggling early on, I can see the weight of everything the match means to her being a heavy burden to carry and she may not be able to find a way to turn things around.