Djokovic, Serena Head US Open Tennis Betting

Newly minted No. 1 ranked Novak Djokovic and 27-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams opened as respective favorites to win the men's and women's singles titles at the 2011 US Open at Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York, Aug. 29-Sept. 11.

Serbia's Djokovic, who opened as a 3/2 favorite over long-time tennis betting darlings Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, assumed the world's top ranking on July 4th after adding the 2011 Wimbledon title to the Australian Open championship he captured in January of this year. Djokovic, who began the year by winning 41 consecutive matches, was the runner-up at the 2007 and 2010 US Open tournaments, to Federer and Nadal, respectively.

Nadal, the winner of 10 Grand Slam titles, including six French Opens, is ranked No. 2 in the world and offered at odds of 10/3 in US Open tennis betting futures. The Spaniard, who has won at least one Major for seven consecutive seasons, won the 2010 US Open to complete the career Grand Slam.

Federer, the 5/1 third choice, may have lost a step in the last year. The winner of a record 16 men's singles titles, Federer is the only male player in tennis history to have reached the title match of each Grand Slam tournament at least 5 times. Regarded by many tennis experts as the greatest tennis player of all time, Federer has appeared in 23 career Grand Slam finals, of which 10 were consecutive appearances, and appeared in 18 of 19 finals over the four and a half years from the 2005 Wimbledon through the 2010 Australian Open. But the Swiss champion is winless in the last six Grand Slam events, making the finals just once.

Amazingly, Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have combined to win 25 of the last 26 Major events. The lone dissenter over those last six and half years is Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro, the winner of the 2009 US Open and the 8/1 fourth choice in future book betting. After a dismal 2010 when he was bothered by a wrist injury, Del Potro reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon before losing to Nadal in fourth tough sets, signaling he may be ready to contend for another Grand Slam title.

At odds of 9/1, and with the next player rated at 45/1, Scotland's Andy Murray is the only other player that sportsbooks give a remore chance of winning. Still looking for his first Major win, Murray was the runner-up at the 2008 US Open as well as the last two Australian Opens.

Over on the women's side, Williams, who has achieved 13 of her 27 Grand Slam titles in singles play, opened as a 7/4 favorite to capture her fourth US Open, and third in a different decade. The five-time former No. 1 player in the world won the US Open in 1999, 2002 and 2008. Williams, who was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open and French Open because of injuries and made it only as far as the fourth round at Wimbledon this year, is ranked No. 30 in the world, climbing from outside the top 100 after back-to-back victories in August.

Fresh off her victory at Wimbledon, Petra Kvitova is listed as the 11/2 second choice in futures. The 21-year-old Czech, who has risen to No. 7 in the women's world rankings, has not advanced past the quarterfinals in any other Grand Slam event

Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Na Li and Kim Clijsters also seemingly have a chance for success in this wide open women's field.

Russia's Sharapova, 8/1, has won three Grand Slam titles, including the 2006 US Open. The runner-up at Wimbledon and a semi-finalist at the French Open this year, Sharapova has climbed back to No. 5 in the world in the world rankings.

Although she has yet to win a Major, Denmark's Wozniacki, 11/1, is the world's top ranked woman. Her best Grand Slam finish was runner-up at the 2009 US Open.

After making it to the semifinals at Wimbledon, Belarus' Azarenka, ranked No. 4 in the world, is offered at 12/1 in futures while China's Li Na, the reigning French Open champion and the globe's sixth ranked player, is held at odds of 14/1.

Belgium's Clijsters seems a good bet at odds of 20/1. Clijsters is ranked second in the world, has claimed four Major events and is the two-time defending US Open champion. The only concern for bettors is a nagging ankle injury.

With several formidable players on the men's side and questions regarding the health or experience of many of the women, US Open tennis betting remains an attractive, if challenging betting opportunity.