Preview: Odds Against Serena Williams at US Open

by Jeremy Davis | August 29th, 2015, 1:07 pm

Contrary to what commentator Chris Evert says, Serena Williams is the GOAT. She, the Martinas, everyone else is out. But having said that, the odds are against Serena that she is going to win the US Open and complete the calendar year Grand Slam. The pressure build up is too great.
She’s already given herself an out, saying if she does it or not, she’s just ready for it to be over. The week before the US Open, she’s been more omnipresent than the entire Kardashian clan. I’m just not feeling it, especially once the draw came out.

In her opening match again Russian rookie Vitalia Diatchenko it will be an occasion to take Serena’s temperature. In the third round against fellow American Sloane Stephens or maybe Coco Vandeweghe, the pressure will immediately be on. Then she is looking at maybe Madison Keys or sister Venus, opponents that have stretched her to the limit. Then maybe Maria Sharapova, who she has had little trouble with during her career, but this would be a whole ‘nother meeting with different implications.

How badly do you think Maria Sharapova would like to be the one who crushes Serena’s Grand Slam dream?

Pressure is a whole other opponent.

But let’s get to the 2015 US Open draw by quarter:


Top 4 Seeds: (1) Serena Williams, (8) Karolina Pliskova, (12) Belinda Bencic, (15) Aggie Radwanska

Floaters: Coco Vandeweghe, Monica Puig, Madison Keys, (23) Venus Williams

Notes: As noted, the third round is when it gets interesting for Serena with Stephens likely, with Keys or the struggling Radwanska waiting after that, then Bencic or Venus. Yikes. (29) Stephens starts against fellow American Vandeweghe, and (23) Venus against the Puerto Rican riser Puig.


Top 4 Seeds: (3) Maria Sharapova, (7) Ana Ivanovic, (10) Carla Suarez Navarro, (13) Ekaterina Makarova

Floaters: Alison Riske, Dominika Cibulkova

Notes: Sharapova starts against some young talent with an opener against fellow Russian Daria Gavrilova then either Croat Ana Kohjuh or German Tatjana Maria…Tough start for struggling (25) Genie Bouchard against the American Riske, and (7) Ivanovic opens against the veteran Cibulkova.


Top 4 Seeds: (4) Caroline Wozniacki, (5) Petra Kvitova, (9) Garbine Muguruza, (16) Sara Errani

Floaters: Jamie Loeb, (22) Sam Stosur, (26) Flavia Pennetta

Notes: Dull as dishwater, with no early challenges save for the American college stud Loeb against the injury-ridden (4) Wozniacki. Should be easy advancements for the seeds. Watch for Errani-Stosur in the third round.


Top 4 Seeds: (2) Simona Halep, (6) Lucie Safarova, (11) Angie Kerber, (14) Timea Bacsinszky

Floaters: (20) Victoria Azarenka, (24) Sabine Lisicki, (27) Alize Cornet

Notes: Some lower-seeded talent in the bottom quarter possibly positioned to upset the apple cart, with Azarenka-Kerber set for the third round, and Halep-Cornet third round.

In the end I’m going with a Keys vs. Halep final, with Halep taking the title. Stephens beats Serena in the third round in a battle of “frenemies” where Stephens has nothing to lose and Serena finally feels the pressure.


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42 Comments for Preview: Odds Against Serena Williams at US Open

Ben Pronin Says:

Halep has been awful at the slams this year, she needs to prove herself.

Odds might be against her but Serena doesn’t care about those odds. The thing is, she’s been willing herself to wins all year in the slams. The French Open was a nightmare. Wimbledon wasn’t that much better. But she keeps winning basically because she wants to. As long as she can serve well, she’ll win all the matches. There’s no way around her.

jalep Says:

Simona has a ridiculously hard draw. Serena – who does she have? Maybe a challenge from Sloane and Bencic. Sharapova? She owns Maria. Aga and Pliskova?

Halep could face Kvitova (starting to play better and in New Haven final), Azarenka, Kerber, Woz, Safarova (playing in well this summer; in New Haven final)

Markus Says:

Is Halep the weakest number 2 in the history of women’s tennis?

jalep Says:

Someone else might agree with you, Markus.

I’ll just pretend you didn’t ask that. ;)

Markus Says:

I’m in a nasty mood. Seeing Anderson recieve the ugliest troplhy in the history of trophies does not help. I hope he does not poke hie eyes.

anthony Says:

I keep hearing Chris Evert say over and over how Serena IS the best player of all time and frankly gushing over her at every opportunity….

jalep Says:

Well? I’ve been there – nasty mood.
Pierre was a gracious loser – he’s adorable!

Now comes Petra and Lucie in New Haven, Markus. That might cheer you up. (I hope)

chris ford1 Says:

Evert is right if you think there is no such thing as GOAT because it is far too subjective to look at women of different eras and say who was better, who had the most competition to get where they got in the pro sport.
GOAT is an idle parlor game to engage fans and to give McEnroe something to talk about on air when he doesn’t want to discuss the match he spent 15 minutes prepping for. And producers tell him, “please no more Borg or Vitas “good old days”.

Slam Count! is also abused. It is a stat that has value, but cannot be ALL that a player is measured by.
*Since 99% of pros never win a Slam.
*Since Slam Count fails to account for competitive times differences, collective achievements outside Slam Wins! , and factors like equipment changes, duration of career, the earlier players banned in the 60s from Slam events, and players skipping the Australian Championships before it was elevated to a bona fide co-equal Slam.

AS for Sharapova being a threat…she is Doormatapova to Serena even in top health. And Sharapova has not played since Wimbledon due to leg injury and Grigor issues.

Markus Says:

Pierre almost made history. I like Kvitova. She just needs a brain transplant.

Okiegal Says:

That is an ugly trophy. Where do they come up with the designs of trophies? This rates up there with the one that has spikes!! Forget trying to be different…..just give them a silver tray…..

Okiegal Says:

@Markus^^^ u r in a bad mood….. :(

Markus Says:

The problem with women’s tennis is that Serena is so good while the rest is so bad.

Okiegal Says:


Markus Says:

I can’t tell who’s who!

Markus Says:

They probably choke the same way, too.

jane Says:

i’m with jalep; halep’s draw is a nightmare.
but anyhow, i think there’s no stopping serena; she will win. feels foregone to me. much less open than the men’s side, where i could see 5 or 6 guys winning.

Okiegal Says:

Petra is a long tall drink of water! She looks to be over 6 ft….anyone know????

jalep Says:

Could not agree with you more, CF1.

But John Q. Public here in America, anyway, who watches tennis now and then…just don’t know much else than possibly a couple GS: USO and Wimbledon. They also want to know who is GOAT, a popular question in sports. GS will make more sense to them.

jalep Says:

Petra is down as being 6’0″ but does appear taller.
Happy to see her in the final here after being down with mono earlier this year.

chris ford1 Says:

All the Winston-Salem trophy suffers from is that it is a small little 4-sided vase more suited for a lady that settles on the same looking thing at Target or Walmart for the extra zinnias amd daisies. Made in China, sells for 3.95 US

That trophy is not ugly. Just cheap-looking pathetic glass bric–brac. Good for holding a beer maybe, but something you can find similar to just by going to one of the large discount chains and pick through hundreds of boxes with decorative glass products in the usual Chinese light brown cardboard boxes.

Some people detest the Paris-Bercy trophy. Which looks like a mutant deer antler rack, a trophy inspired by the throne in the “Game of Thrones”, a piece of extra sharp staghorn coral.
I love it though because it is wierd and French to a T. It was supposed to be a stylized tree. It is the only tennis trophy people step away from when it is in someone else’s hands.

The ugliest, perhaps one of the ugliest in all sport going back to home-made grade school trophies? Madrid Masters. AKA “The Toilet Brush”, “The Torture Dildo”.

jalep Says:

Haha, ya, the Madrid trophy CF1, agree there too. But Kimberly once chastised me for mocking – possibly it was the Madrid trophy — and she had a point: in a sense they are all beautiful.

Wog Boy Says:



jalep Says:

Have picked a Serena – Vika final. Hoping Vika is up to it. Their matches are pretty good.

Picking a WTA draw is next to impossible for me – except for where Serena will be. Have picked Ana Ivanovic to beat Maria. ajde Ana!

Okiegal Says:

My favorite trophy is The Coupe Des Mousquetaires…..for obvious reasons…..but I think it’s everything a trophy should be! The one they give at Queens is humongous!! I think to give something breakable is a travesty…..

skeezer Says:

There is a cool vid out there ( maybe someone can post it? ) with Serena playing ping pong against Wawa. Hilarious and all in good fun. They’re pretty good!

elina Says:

The writer calls Serena the undisputed GOAT with 3rd most slams.

Mustn’t play tennis.

Okiegal Says:

@Elina…..She’s working on it!!

Okiegal Says:

Found the ping pong video. Cute! Serena’s dress was so close fitting she could barely bend down to pick up the ball. I think she had help retrieving it…

Alan Says:

Jamie Loeb is a floater? Which world are we living in?

Eric Says:

Almost everything in this article is deeply stupid or misinformed. I’ll just point out that Keys and Serena have only played once (Serena won in straight sets), Venus has only won a single match against her sister since 2009, and the idea that Maria will somehow be more motivated to win THIS time with a slam on the line than she was the last dozen (or whatever) times over the past decade that was the case, to me, evidence of a childish, video-game theory of psychology (as well as of no interest in understanding what it might be about their tennis and the matchup that gives Serena a clear, nearly insurmountable edge over Sharapova). It goes without saying that nothing is inevitable, Sloane could always beat Serena again, her arm could fall off, etc., but come on.

(And if we’re going to talk about “odds,” it might be interesting to know that, right now, at one gambling site a correct bet of $100 on Serena will earn you a profit of $83. Vegas’ number 2 pick is Vika — and a successful $100 bet on her would pay off $841 profit. So, hey, go ahead and claim the “odds” are against Serena, who has an extremely easy draw.)

Navdeep Says:

We all know the situation of WTA right now. Let’s face it this is the weakest era ever. The 2nd best player of this generation (sharapova) hasn’t beaten the best one in over a decade. WTA means WILLIAMS TAKES ALL. Gone are the days when we had the likes of Graff’s,seles, Navratilovas n other great ones. Serena is awesome but I can’t rate her above Steffi Graff or even Monica seles. Serena is definitely in the top 3 of all time but the best ever.

Margot Says:

Nice one Navdeep! Henin was pretty good too, tho I realise she’s really disliked.

Margot Says:

Remembering Navratilova’s famous quote now, that Henin was a female Fed, or Fed was a male Henin!
She had a fantastic all court game, astonishing one handed backhand, Mac said it was the best in tennis,speed of foot and was amazingly aggressive, took risks all the time.
The only player, I believe, to defeat Venus and Serena in the same tournament.

Navdeep Says:

Thanks Margot! I like Henin as well. She was the best clay player of her time.If m right she won 3 straight French opens from 2005-07.

jane Says:

i kind of agree with navdeep. serena is great but she has virtually no competition. the rest of the tour is so inconsistent. you have players that show potential, like vika or kvitova, but they are injured or sick or not mentally strong enough, roller-coastering between seasons and events. i don’t know. i just see no one challenging serena. there are no rivalries. it’s hard to stay engaged.

Navdeep Says:

I hope Azarenka produces something special. She is the only one who doesn’t feel the terror of Serena unlike everyone else especially Masha.

sienna Says:

absurd to make comparisson Federer Henin.
maybe aan brief periode Henin with one handed backhand. but that is just one comparisson.

Federer history in tennis and foothprint will echo in tennis for eternity.
Henin was a good dominant player but certainly no Federer material.

Margot Says:

Of course Navratilova knows nothing, like John Snow, compared with the EXPERTS on tennisx.

sienna Says:

yeah Margot.. Henin is on par with Federer.

With mentioning Henin immediatedly Federer comes to mind.
Im all for equal pay but this is ridiculous. Meaning … you are.

Markus Says:

Everybody chokes against Serena, Azarenka included.

Gypsy Gal Says:

Even if and its a big if Serena doesnt win the USO, i still think its only a matter of time before she surpasses Graf anyway,then i will say enough is enough,and please can somebody else win something now?….

SamStephensen Says:

Proficiency in journalism means that you NEVER use an acronym without first defining it, no matter how obvious it may seem to the writer. GOAT GOAT GOAT

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