Expect drama from unpredictable US Open

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While the men’s draw at the US Open looks set to be a two-horse race, the women’s event in the Big Apple is as open as ever.

Serena Williams’ absence means Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza is the 9/2 favourite and did her chances plenty of good by winning last week in Cincinnati. Grand Slam triumphs on both grass and clay mean she may feel she has something to prove on the hard courts so do not be surprised if the determined Spaniard picks up a third major title.

Simona Halep was her victim last week in Ohio and must be wondering if she will ever find a way to produce her best on the big stage after two Grand Slam final defeats. 17/2 is a good price but this surface is not her best, which is exactly what you could say for the player who beat her in the Roland Garros showpiece, Jelena Ostapenko (18/1), as well as Elina Svitolina (10/1).

Power can often be the key at Flushing Meadows and both world number one Karolina Pliskova (13/2) and SW19 semi-finalist Johanna Konta (11/1) could go far, while Maria Sharapova (14/1) will also be looking to prove she’s still got it on her first Grand Slam appearance since returning from her drugs ban.

Reigning champion Angelique Kerber’s (14/1) form suggests her latest bite at the Big Apple could be unsuccessful, but the 18/1 on offer for Venus Williams is an outstanding price.

The 37-year-old reached the finals at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon and after all her health problems, appears a player who has rediscovered her form. Having won in New York in both 2000 and 2001, ruling her out, especially with her sister away, would be very foolish.