The Final Grand Slam of the Year is finally here! And if every event from this caliber has its own distinguishing feature with Wimbledon being the most conservative one than the US Open is the complete opposite. Taking place in the Promised Land of capitalism – New York, it is noisy, colorful and lavish.
Will take you out on a journey through the Draws, starting with the Women’s side. To see who and where landed in the 128 player bracket.
World No. 1 Serena Williams, who of course is the top seed of the event, will possibly need to get past several young Americans in order to win this year in New York and complete the calendar-year Grand Slam. From the 21 Grand Slam titles she has – 6 had come from US Open where the American is a 3 time defending champion. She had lost only 2 sets combined while winning the last three events in Flushing Meadows.
Williams, who will start with the 86th-ranked Vitalia Diatchenko, could meet Sloane Stephens, who beat Williams at the 2013 Australian Open, in the third round and Madison Keys, a semifinalist at this year’s Australian Open, in the fourth.
In an interview with Omnisport, U.S. Tennis Association President Katrina Adams said Williams is “the greatest athlete of all time.”
“Serena Williams is the ultimate champion. She knows what it takes to get to the top,” Adams said. “She started at the bottom from Compton, worked her way up through the ranks of the professional tour to No. 1 in the world. She has been No. 1 in the world for the last four years. She’s been No. 1 multiple occasions.
”Serena Williams is the greatest tennis player of all time, the greatest female athlete of all time, the greatest athlete of all time.”
Madison Keys, the young American who has a breakout year could square off against Agniezska Radwanska in the 3rd round while the 18 year old Toronto Champion Belinda Bencic is the projected Venus Williams opponent in the same round and possibly the winner boosting their chance to face Serena in the Quarters.
Heavy hitting 8-th seed Karolina Pliskova is the highest one, after Serena, in this part of the draw and the furthest from the American until the QF of the event. The Czech had earned points in at least three Emirates Airline US Open Series events, therefore doubling their Bonus Challenge point total, which led her to winning the competition. She can now double her prize money in the US Open Grand Slam tournament.
Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic were in collision course in the 2nd half of the top part of the draw but the Russian withdrew from the tournament,just 24 hours before the tournament was about to start
”Unfortunately I will not be able to compete in this years US Open. I have done everything possible to be ready but it was just not enough time. To all my amazing fans, I will be back in the Asian swing in a few weeks and look forward to finishing the year healthy and strong”
This opened up a spot which is now taken by the Lucky Loser Daria Kasatkina.
Winner in 2004 and finalist in 2007 Svetlana Kuznetsova is now the only seeded player in that part of the draw,which opens up a chance for her to get to at least R4 without facing a top 20 player . Rising star and top 20 player Elina Svitolina is on the path of last year’s semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova, if both players win their respective first 2 rounds. Katya hasn’t had much success over in North America with SF in Washington (retired with right leg injury against Pavlychenkova), 2nd round loss to Polona Hercog in Toronto and didn’t participate in either Cincinnati or New Haven. She needs to be in her physical best to match the players around her.
Elina is caring a lower back injury herself, picking it in the 1st round in New Haven with 1 week time to heal and be ready.
On a 6 game losing streak and not a single win since June, Carla Suarez Navaro starts with Denisa Allertova with a chance to snap that streak. Allertova with no hard court match under her belt since Miami in March seems like a good opponent to reverse the trend. Rejuvenated Jelena Jankovic is the Spaniard 3rd round potential opponent.
Ana Ivanovic has probably the hardest 1st round opponent in face of Dominika Cibulkova. The Slovak who will return in the top 50 after her QF appearance in New Haven and is still climbing back after her injury derailed season. The Serb who lost in 2nd round last year, has out of form Genie Bouchard as first seeded test in the 3rd round.
Bouchard who has started preparing for the tournament under the supervision of one of the all-time greats of the game – Jimmy Connors, is still looking for a way to get out of this prolonged and almost unbelievable slump. 7-th seed 12 months ago, now 25-th she will start with Alison Riske. Interesting to see what Connors could bring to her and spark her confidence again.
Lot of questions surrounding the opponent of Serena in the Semis, as many of the top seeds there hasn’t had good hard court swing or are caring injury concerns with them before the tournament hasn’t even started.
Simona Halep is the 2nd seed, as she just overtake Maria Sharapova for that place with her 2 consecutive finals – Toronto and Cincinnati. The Romanian was 50/50 coming into Cincy after she was forced to retire in the final in Toronto against Bencic with right arm injury and heat illness.
Simona’s first seeded opponent could be Alize Cornet with potentially the winner of Bacsinszky/Lisicki as her 3rd round foe. In her quarter she has Roland Garros finalist Lucie Safarova as the highest seed and a QF projected opponent, if she gets through the winner of Kerber/Azarenka’s clash. Lucie is starting to catch steam down the stretch.
Losing in R1 in Toronto and in QF in Cincinnati she lost a real tight final in New Haven to compatriot Petra Kvitova in New Haven.
Surprisingly to see that bookies consider Victoria Azarenka, the 20-th seed as the 2nd favourite to win the event after Serena, even though she retired in Cincinnati’s 3rd round vs Pavlychenkova. Despite with a set lead, a right thigh injury clearly affected her movement in most of the match, and she decided to retire avoiding more serious damage just before US Open.
Many consider, including Serena’s coach Patrick Muratoglu, that Azarenka Is the one that can push the American to her very best. If the Belarussian is healed, watch out for bookies prediction to come true.
Wozniacki/Kvitova is the 3rd projected QF of the draw, but many questions surround those two coming in New York.
Petra Kvitova, who was diagnosed with mononucleosis that affects her immune system and she feel sleepy and couldn’t train as much as she liked is the 5th seed of the event. After losing in Canada and Cincinanti, she showed life in New Haven winning the title for 2nd consecutive year and defeating Madison Keys,A. Radwanska and Lucie Safarova along the way. She showed her delight of playing here again:
“It’s always nice coming here,” Kvitova said. “When you’re coming somewhere where you really feel good, you have nice memories, it’s always giving you a little bit more confidence.”
In strange turn of events Aleksandra Krunic, who defeated Petra in the 3rd round in Flushing Meadows 12 months ago, may be the Czech’s third opponent again this time around.
Things don’t get easier with Andrea Petkovic or Garbine Muguruza as projected opponent for Petra in the 4th. Garbine who has had tough time getting a win after going all the way to the Wimbledon finals 2 months ago is making headlines with her highlight reel racket demolishers these days. Caring a 3 game losing streak and looking frustrated on court she will try to win her first match in New York as well. The Spaniard has only played 2 times so far, in 2012 and last year, both lost in R1. She starts with powerful hitter and newcomer from Germany – Carina Witthoeft. The German doesn’t have a MD win herself.
With Chirico or Johanna Konta in R2, Garbine may finally get some of her groove and confidence back before bigger battles happen.
Caroline Wozniacki who is starting to build her game up in order to defend her final from 12 months ago is making good strides in New Haven after her hard court season was hampered by calf injury. The Dane lost 3 consecutive R1 matches since the season shifted to North America,but taking a WC for Connecticut Open proved to be a wise choice. Flavia Pennetta is her projected first seed opponent in the 3rd round with the winner of Sara Errani and 2011 US Open Champion Sam Stosur likely her 4-th round one .
This year’s event will mark the 10-th year anniversary of the tournament introducing night session tennis and the color blue to their courts. With all eyes on Serena Williams and so much at stake, Monday couldn’t come soon enough
Unfortunately, everything tennis wise is cancelled to at least 13th of July. Let's hope this corona virus goes away as soon as possible and this is the last date the tour is pushed back to. Stay safe people!
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