American Sloane Stephens will look to defend the US Open title she won so impressively last year but that could prove difficult with seven different players capturing the last seven majors.
Williams will hope to re-establish her dominance at the top of the game in front of her home fans. Serena is seeded 17th due to her absence from the tour after having a baby. Is she the rightful US Open favourite?
Personally, I don’t think she should be favourite due to her lack of matches coming into the event but you have to respect her record at the US Open and in majors over the last decade. Serena remains a question mark, but she remains Serena.
Her presence and determination are enough to win many matches. She knows she’ll have crowd support and be given preferential scheduling on the Ashe stadium and night matches so we could well see her win her 24th major.
Angelique Kerber enters the US Open having beaten Serena in this year’s Wimbledon final.
Not only will this give her confidence but she is likely to be the one Serena fears most. In fact, the German holds a 2-1 record over Serena in major finals which is a record that nobody else in the draw can boast.
Her game is suited to hard courts with her movement and consistency. As one of the leaders in the US Open betting, and with a good draw in theory, don’t be surprised if she adds to her major collection this week.
Simona Halep is playing like the weight of the world is off her shoulders.
The World No.1 has featured in three of the last six major finals. After overcoming her major demons to win this year’s French Open, it is now a case of how many Majors she will win.
Halep comes into the event in scintillating form after winning the Canadian Open and coming runner up in the Cincinnati Masters. There was concern over her fitness in that final but having taken a week off she’ll come in fresh for the season ending major.
If matches are won by the seeds, Halep is set to take on a certain number 17 seed Serena Williams in the fourth round.
Madison Keys is a dark horse for the US Open Women’s title.
In the early years of her career she has failed to perform in the big matches but was able to beat Kerber in the run up to this year’s event. Interestingly, she and Kerber are in the same quarter and both will fancy their chances of coming through.
The fiery American was a losing finalist last year but the weapons she brings to a tennis court, coupled with support of the home fans, make her a dangerous opponent. Don’t be surprised to see Madison causing problems for the top seeds this week.
Aryna Sabalenka will be a new name to many tennis viewers – remember the name as she is here to stay.
The 20-year-old Belarusian won her first title last week in Connecticut but it is the manner in which she won the title that was most impressive. She dropped only one set en-route to victory and her powerful game is suited to the fast conditions in New York. She will be oozing confidence and could offer value this week.
Svitolina has flattered to deceive in major championships and is yet to make a semi-final in over 20 attempts.
However, she has won three times this year, including defending her title in Rome and beating Halep in the final. Victory gave her the favourite tag for the French Open but she was surprisingly knocked out in the 3rd round when the weight of expectation proved too much for her.
I believe this could be the week for the 23-year-old Ukrainian to break through. She has come in under the radar which is strange for a woman who has 12 WTA titles and has won at least once every year since 2013. She is 14-2 in career finals so if she is in the latter stages of the US Open, she would be my pick to win the title this year.
Tie of the first round: Carolina Garcia v Johanna Konta
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