The final Grand Slam for the women begins on Monday when 128 leading lights in the tennis world head to New York for what promises to be a really competitive US Open after a year of wide open major tournaments.
Iga Swiatek dominated the scene last year and capped off a wonderful year with success in this tournament. She is back to defend the title but there appear to be a number of potential winners opposing here.
2022 – Iga Swiatek
2021 – Emma Raducanu
2020 – Naomi Osaka
2019 – Bianca Andreescu
2018 – Naomi Osaka
2017 – Sloane Stephens
2016 – Angelique Kerber
2015 – Flavia Pennetta
2014 – Serena Williams
2013 – Serena Williams
The normal Grand Slam rules apply to the women’s draw too in that 128 ladies qualify for the tournament and are placed in a knockout draw which was revealed on Friday. The entire tournament is the best of three sets with a match tiebreak in the final set at 6-6 should it be needed. The winner is crowned on the second Saturday evening inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium assuming the weather cooperates.
As well as being the defending champion, Iga Swiatek comes into the tournament as the number one in the world and so she is the top seed in the draw here. The Polish superstar is seeded to take on the Cincinnati champion Coco Gauff in what would be a tasty quarter final should it happen. The six seeds out to stop it from happening are Elisabetta Cocciaretto, Jelena Ostapenko, Veronika Kudermetova, Petra Kvitova, Magda Linette and Elise Mertens.
The one thing we find about the draws in these Grand Slams is a number of notable unseeded players pop up in each quarter and in this top quarter they include the former Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins. Caroline Wozniacki is a former finalist here and her comeback to Grand Slam tennis takes place in this section of the draw. Alize Cornet and Daria Saville are a couple of others who have had decent enough careers.
The former Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has been in two of the last five Grand Slam finals and she heads up the second quarter this fortnight as she looks to add the US Open title to her collection. The Greek star Maria Sakkari is the woman seeded to meet her in the quarter final. Anna Kalinina, Beatriz Haddad Maia, Cincinnati finalist Karolina Muchova, Belinda Bencic, Victoria Azarenka and Sorana Cirstea are the six seeds looking to stop that from happening.
Marta Kostyuk is one of the recognisable unseeded names in the second quarter with the doubles specialist Katerina Sinakova looking for a run in the singles draw here too. Two Americans who are sure to be popular with the crowds this fortnight are former champion Sloane Stephens and Taylor Townsend and both are in this quarter in their home Grand Slam. Katy Volynets is another who will hope to use the home crowd to her advantage.
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Jessica Pegula won in Montreal beating Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff along the way so she is a worthy leading light in the third quarter. Her potential quarter final opponent is Caroline Garcia who had such a decent time of it on the US hard courts last year. Elina Svitolina, Madison Keys, Liudmila Samsonova, the Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Anastasia Potapova are the other seeds looking to ensure that tie doesn’t materialise.
The British number one Katie Boulter will ensure UK interest in this quarter of the draw while the finalist here two years ago on Leylah Fernandez will be looking to go one better than then from this quarter too. Lesia Tsurenko, Yulia Putintseva, Yanina Wickmayer, Vera Zvonereva and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova are all veteran players who will be looking for a big run over the course of this fortnight. Camila Giorgi is another dangerous competitor in it.
The Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka is the top seed in the bottom quarter of the draw this fortnight. She goes in search of her first US Open title but might well need to see off the Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur, who has made three of the last five Grand Slam finals and seems to raise her game in the big events, in the quarter final. Marie Bouzkova, Qinwen Zheng, Barbora Krejcikova, Daria Kasatkina, Donna Vekic and Karolina Pliskova are the other seeds in the quarter.
Two veterans jump off the page in this quarter at us. This could well be the last time that Venus Williams graces the US Open and she’ll do so from this section of the draw while Kaia Kanepi is still going strong and looking for a big week. Former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin will be looking for a big run in her home Grand Slam here while Tatjana Maria, Petra Martic and the new young star on the scene Linda Noskova are all in this section too.
Karolina Muchova has moved into the top 10 of the world rankings courtesy of reaching the French Open final and then in Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago and she is in what I would call the easier quarter of the four with Elena Rybakina having doubts over her fitness and Maria Sakkari, while gutsy, probably a little bit below the true elite at this level. The Czech star has lost in the first round in the last two years here but the pandemic killed her game off for a while but she is back to her best right now. In 18 Grand Slams, Muchova has reached the quarter final or later in four of them which is a decent strike rate and suggests she relishes the major tournaments. She’s the form horse in the second quarter and feels a big price at 22/1.
Caroline Garcia was a massive favourite to make the final of this tournament at one stage last year as she continued a sudden burst of form which saw her win four titles in 2022. The catalyst for that was winning the doubles at Roland Garros and having reached the quarter final of the doubles at Wimbledon I wonder if she is ready to burst into life again. The French player has a nice draw to build up some confidence in the early rounds of this tournament and were something to happen to Jessica Pegula, say against Camila Giorgi, then the draw could open up for Garcia. At a big price I’ll pay to see how well she goes.
Back K.Muchova to win US Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 23.00 with Coral (1/2 1-2)
Back C.Garcia to win US Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Boylesports (1/2 1-2)
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