US Open: Men’s and women’s title predictions

Published by Game Insight Group

Rafael Nadal is hoping to win a fourth US Open title; Getty Images
Simona Halep and Rafael Nadal are the players to beat as the Game Insight Group studies the data ahead of the US Open.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal and fellow world No.1 Simona Halep are strong favourites to win the US Open singles titles.

After studying the data, the Game Insight Group rates Nadal as the man to beat, with his chances boosted by closest rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic being placed together in a brutally tough bottom section of the draw.

In contrast, the women’s quarters are much more evenly balanced and top seed Halep even gets a bit of help from the draw.

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The predictions are put together using Elo ratings*, an alternative to more traditional rankings aimed at giving a greater insight into a player’s performance ability.

They factor in every professional match a player has played in their career, taking into account the level of the opponent, the difficulty of the match and whether it took place at tour level or at a Grand Slam.

When adjusted for specific surfaces, they still take into account all of a player’s matches but weigh those on the chosen surface more heavily.

US Open Women’s Championship Prediction (pre-tournament)

 Player Title chance
1. Simona Halep 28.3%
2. Kiki Bertens 7.1%
3. Elina Svitolina 6.8%
4. Angelique Kerber 6.0%
5. Petra Kvitova 4.5%
6. Maria Sharapova 4.0%
7. Aryna Sabalenka 3.7%
8. Sloane Stephens 3.65%
9. Ash Barty 3.2%
10. Daria Kasatkina 2.8%
11. Elise Mertens 2.5%
12. Caroline Wozniacki 2.3%
13. Caroline Garcia 2.1%
14. Julia Goerges 1.9%
15. Madison Keys 1.86%
16. Karolina Pliskova 1.7%
17. Garbine Muguruza 1.4%
18. Jelena Ostapenko 1.12%
19. Anastasija Sevastova 1.11%
20. Naomi Osaka 0.9%
21. Serena Williams 0.85%
22. Venus Williams 0.8%
23. Carla Suarez Navarro 0.7%
24. Mihaela Buzarnescu 0.6%
25. Victoria Azarenka 0.5%

US Open Men’s Championship Prediction (pre-tournament)

 Player Title chance
1. Rafael Nadal 34.9%
2. Roger Federer 18.8%
3. Novak Djokovic 12.3%
4. Juan Martin del Potro 9.8%
5. Alexander Zverev 4.5%
6. Marin Cilic 3.2%
7. David Goffin 1.8%
8. Nick Kyrgios 1.3%
9. Milos Raonic 1.28%
10. Kevin Anderson 1.0%
11. Grigor Dimitrov 0.8%
12. Fabio Fognini 0.78%
=13. Karen Khachanov 0.51%
=13. Stefanos Tsitsipas 0.51%
=15. Andy Murray 0.47%
=15. Borna Coric 0.47%
17. Kei Nishikori 0.44%
18. Denis Shapovalov 0.42%
19. Hyeon Chung 0.38%
=20. John Isner 0.36%
=20. Roberto Bautista Agut 0.36%
22. Diego Schwartzman 0.35%
23. Kyle Edmund 0.34%
24. Dominic Thiem 0.33%
25. Pablo Carreno Busta 0.31%

Men’s draw difficulty (pre-tournament)

Quarter Top seed (-more difficult/+easy)
1 Rafael Nadal (1) +7.0%
2 JM del Potro (3) +0.2%
3 Alexander Zverev (4) +3.4%
4 Roger Federer (2) -11.0%

Women’s draw difficulty (pre-tournament)

Quarter Top seed (-more difficult/+easy)
1 Simona Halep (1) +2.9%
2 Sloane Stephens (3) -0.7%
3 Angelique Kerber (4) -1.3%
4 Caroline Wozniacki (2) -0.9%

*How do Elo ratings work?

  • Elo ratings are already used in many other sports and when applied to tennis they outperform other published prediction methods, including those based on offical rankings.
  • Elo ratings factor in all main draw singles matches above the Challenger level.
  • Elo is smart about how many points are won or lost. If a player did more than expected in earning a win against a strong opponent, they earn more points than for an easy win. If a player underperformed by getting upset, they lose more points than for losing to an equal opponent.
  • Elo ratings can be surface-adjusted, taking into account all of a player’s matches, but weighing those on the specific surface more heavily.
  • Elo ratings of players absent from competition for more than three months are deducted 100 points. Walkovers and retirements are excluded.
  • Players earn/lose more points for results over the same opponents at Grand Slams compared to lower-level tournaments.
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