Roger Federer claimed the 2015 Cincinnati Masters title on Sunday, defeating rival Novak Djokovic in the championship match 7-6(1), 6-3. The win means Federer now has an amazing seven titles from Cincinnati; furthermore the result also prevented Djokovic from completing the circuit of Masters Series events. The two players will now both have a week off as they will each prepare for the 2015 US Open from Flushing Meadows.
Djokovic will enter the 2015 US Open perhaps a little on the cold side. That he has not been playing his best lately is cloaked by the fact that his 2015 overall record is outstanding. It’s true that he has just five losses on the year so far but the elephant in the room is that three of those losses are recent. Besides the loss to Federer, Djokovic lost to Andy Murray last week in Toronto and the World No. 1 lost to Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final a little more than a couple of months ago.
A couple points that can’t be ignored with Djokovic is that, firstly, he has lost three of the last four tournaments that he has entered. Secondly Djokovic, since he started playing his best tennis in 2011, has lost three of the last four US Open tournaments. Priced at even odds with Stan James, for example, the World No. 1 seems well over-rated heading into the final Grand Slam of the 2015 calendar year.
The Cincinnati title for Federer, besides adding to his impressive allotment of hardware, means that he will leap-frog Murray in the rankings on Monday. It was a short stay for the Scot at the World No. 2 position this time around and the change comes just in time for Federer. The seeds for the 2015 US Open will be determined by the August 24th rankings. Accordingly, Federer will be the No. 2 seed in Flushing Meadows and, by virtue of that seed, he is guaranteed to avoid Djokovic in the draw ahead of the final.
In the immediate aftermath of the Cincinnati results, betting odds on Federer winning the 2015 US Open are generally shortening. BetVictor, for example, have the Swiss Maestro at +450 (9/2), odds that probably well over-rate the five-time champion.
Federer looked sharp in Cincinnati but let’s not forget that he entered the event on plenty of rest having skipped Montreal the week prior. Both Djokovic and Murray were finalists in the Canadian Masters and perhaps fatigue played a role in their losses to Federer.
Furthermore, I do not think that players Federer’s age have much of a chance in Grand Slam events. Grand Slams are two weeks long, the matches are best-of-five sets, and that makes them bigger mountains to climb in comparison to events like ATP Cincinnati. I think Federer will do well in New York but when he draws players six to twelve years younger than him in the very late rounds, I think the fresher legs will belong to the younger players.
A good draw for Federer would pit him against someone like David Ferrer in a late round match. Otherwise I think Federer needs major luck – like a win via walkover in one of the middle rounds – in order to be at his best late in the tournament.
Here’s a look at the betting odds for the top eight favorites:
1. Djokovic, even odds with Stan James
2. Murray, +350 with 888Sport
3. Federer, +450 with BetVictor
4. Stan Wawrinka, +1400 with Bwin
5. Kei Nishikori, +1800 with Boylesports
6. Rafael Nadal, +1800 with Boylesports
7. Tomas Berdych, +5000 with Coral
8. Marin Cilic, +5000 with Sportingbet
My true favorites and true odds are as follows:
1. Murray, +200 (implies a 33% chance of winning)
2. Djokovic, +400 (20%)
3. Nishikori, +600 (14%)
4. Wawrinka, +900 (10%)
5. Federer, +1000 (9%)
6. Nadal, +2500 (4%)
7. Grigor Dimitrov, +6600 (1.5%)
8. Cilic, +8000 (1.25%)
The balance of 6% belongs to the entire field with Berdych, Milos Raonic, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Gilles Simon eating up most of that in my opinion.
As a couple of side notes, Juan Martin del Potro’s betting odds have been removed from most sportsbooks and that can be held to mean that he is very unlikely to participate in the 2015 US Open. Furthermore, Vasek Pospisil’s odds have been removed from most sportsbooks and that may suggest that an announcement regarding his withdrawal is pending as well although a message sent to his official Twitter account has not been returned as of yet
This upcoming week there is a 250-level event in Winston-Salem, one that features Tsonga as the favorite. The 2015 US Open will start next Monday with the championship scheduled for Sunday, September 13th (poor weather on the American east coast often leads to a Monday final).