- The Washington Times - Monday, August 31, 2009

MEN

Roger Federer (1-2 odds) - He’s the five-time defending champion. He won Wimbledon and the French Open. And he comes into Flushing Meadows looking as confident as ever after a convincing win at the Masters Series event in Cincinnati. As always, he is the prohibitive favorite.

Andy Murray (6-1) -He took over the No. 2 ranking and looked good in making a title run at Montreal. He has lost only twice before the quarterfinals in any tournament. And he has shown an ability to hang with Federer, beating him four times in a row after last year’s U.S. Open.

Andy Roddick (7-1) -While many fans chose to dwell on the disappointment of his losing a historic match to Federer at Wimbledon, Roddick chose to view his deep run there as validation of the hard work he has put in over the last year. A fitter, more confident Roddick must be considered a favorite in New York.

Rafael Nadal (10-1) -It was not too long ago that Nadal appeared to have a stranglehold on the world’s top ranking. But bad knees forced him to miss Wimbledon and much of the summer season. He returned on the hardcourt circuit in August and did not appear to be completely back on form. It’s impossible to count out a man with such a strong resolve, but this will not be the year he wins his first U.S. Open.

Others to watch: Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Sam Querrey

WOMEN

Serena Williams (2-1) -At her best, she is the world’s top player, and collecting Grand Slam titles is her hobby. She has proved beatable in the hardcourt season this summer, but it’s no secret she raises her power game when it counts most.

Elena Dementieva (4-1) - While other women have crumbled in the face of tough losses, the fourth-seeded Russian rebounded from a hard semifinal loss to Serena Williams at Wimbledon with a good summer that featured a win in Toronto. No player is more due for her first Grand Slam title.

Dinara Safina (10-1) -She holds the world’s top ranking thanks to some great results in tour events earlier this year but has yet to win a major. What’s more, she’s gassed after playing a full schedule, as evidenced by a baffling second-round loss in Toronto.

Venus Williams (11-1) -She’s always a threat to win any tournament, but Venus hasn’t won in New York since securing her second title in 2001. Her biggest roadblock is likely her sister. The two could meet in the semifinals.

Others to watch: Jelena Jankovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters

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