The next tennis season is drawing to a close, but in a few days a real heavyweight – the US Open will enter the ring, which will complete the series of Grand Slam tournaments in 2018.
Competitions in the main draw at home The Williams sisters kick off on Monday 27 August. The US Open brings with it many intrigues, questions and, of course, surprises, without which no Grand Slam tournament can do. There are a lot of contenders for victory in the women’s part of the tournament and it is extremely difficult to predict the name of the US Open champion.
Nevertheless, the bookmakers have made their choice in favor of the American Serena Williams, who has already celebrated her return to court after the birth of her daughter – the Wimbledon final. The smallest coefficient is provided for her victory in the tournament – 4.5. This decision of the bookmakers is rather controversial. Yes, Serena trains a lot, works on herself, but at the same time she does not have enough competitive practice, without which it is very difficult to compete in tournaments of this level, even for such an eminent athlete like her. For the first time since 2011, an American runs the risk of not winning a Slam in a season. Now the youngest of the Williams sisters is in full swing preparing for the US Open, where she will try not to hit her face in the mud in front of her fans and win the tournament.
The current first racket of the world, Simona Halep, has been among the favorites to win such a high level tournaments for several years in a row. And only this season, the first “Major” submitted to her: it happened in June on the courts of Paris. Winning the second Grand Slam of the season is tempting, especially with the US Open’s record $ 3.8 million reward at stake. This tournament is an opportunity for the leader of the WTA tour to multiply his advantage over his rivals. Now Halep’s closest pursuer is Caroline Wozniacki, who is more than 2,000 points ahead of her. The game that the Romanian woman is demonstrating today allows her to keep her opponents at a comfortable distance from her. Therefore, Simona’s more or less successful performance at the US Open will allow her to approach the Final Tournament in Singapore with a decent margin. To date, the first racket of the world is in his best shape, but did Halep have any strength left for a successful performance in New York after the victory in Montreal and the final in Cincinnati? On the other hand, Simone has nothing to lose, because last year here she dropped out of the competition after the first round. Therefore, just going to the court for his first match, Halep will defend his points.
Czech Petra Kvitova has also shown good tennis recently, and she is deservedly considered one of the main contenders for victory in the American “Major”. Kvitova is in excellent shape for the final tournament of the American series. Do not forget about the Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, for whom last season was not the most successful, but now she has gained the necessary form. Today, Kerber is the fourth in the WTA ranking and, like Kvitova, will enter the US Open courts in full combat readiness. Bookmakers give a solid eight for her victory in the tournament.
Many questions arise about the game and the physical condition of Karolina Plishkova, Elena Ostapenko, Garbinier Mugurus and Caroline Wozniacki. Their performance hasn’t been impressive lately, to put it mildly. And if the first three can be expected to return to their previous game at the US Open, then the latter runs the risk of withdrawing from the tournament at an early stage due to injuries in the back and knee. But perhaps this is a prime example of the so-called “calm before the storm.” Over the past 20 years, women have only managed to repeat the final one year ago at the US Open: in 2001/02, the Williams sisters were able to do it, and in 2012/13 – Victoria Azarenko and Serena Williams. How likely is it that Stevens and Keys will repeat this this year? Given the location of the girls on the grid and the current condition of the tennis players, the chances that we will see a repeat of last year’s final are extremely small. But it’s not a secret for anyone that American women fully “reveal themselves” when playing on their home courts. Sloane Stevens is under tremendous pressure from being a reigning champion, so it is important for her not to burn out and properly tune in for the tournament.
Not much weaker than Serena Williams, ambition to win the tournament after returning to round with Maria Sharapova, who still cannot find her previous game after being disqualified. A victory in New York can bring the Russian woman close to the top ten of the world rankings and provide an opportunity to compete for a place in the WTA Final tournament. Maria’s fans, of which there are many all over the world, have already been waiting for her to repeat the success of twelve years ago on American courts. This US Open will mark the fifty-first Grand Slam of her career. But already in the fourth round, Maria will have to go through a serious test by Caroline Garcia.
The young and promising Belgian Alice Mertens and the already rather experienced Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens can shine at the US Open. The girls are doing well this season, as evidenced by their position in the championship race, where they are direct competitors, taking 8th and 7th places, respectively. Successful performance at the tournament will help them to strengthen their leading positions.
It is also worth noting the recently actively progressing Belarusian rising star Arina Sobolenko. At the age of 20, she beat tennis players from the top 10 four times, twice under the power of the Belarusian got Karolina Plishkova, and once she beat Wozniacki and Garcia. Sobolenko herself says that such victories inspire and make her stronger. And the fact that Arina will be seeded at the US Open should give confidence to the Belarusian athlete. Given her current condition, Sobolenko will meet a truly worthy rival in the third round and it will be Petra Kvitova (of course, if the Czech goes through the first two laps correctly).
Fans of our main hope Elina Svitolina are still waiting for her title at the Grand Slam tournament. In a few days, the Ukrainian woman will have such a chance. Last season for Elina was the best in her career. Having won three tournaments of the Premier 5 series and showing a good game throughout 2017, the Ukrainian woman managed to climb to the third line of the world ranking. This season, the game of the seventh racket of the world is rather unstable, but nevertheless it allows her to stay in the top ten of the WTA rankings. At the moment, Svitolina’s record achievement at Grand Slam tournaments is the quarterfinal stage. It will be a little more difficult to improve this achievement at this US Open, and even more so to win the tournament, because for the first time in a long time a Ukrainian will meet a tennis player from the top 4 already in the quarterfinals, and this year it will be the reigning champion of the tournament Sloane Stevens, again if Stevens herself will come to this stage. It is important for Svitolina to perform successfully during two weeks of the competition in order to strengthen her position in the championship race. Updating a personal record at Grand Slam tournaments and reaching the semifinals can be considered a successful performance at the US Open for the first racket of Ukraine. Provided that Elina shows her best tennis, she will be able to compete for the title of champion.
We look forward to the start of the last “Major” of the season and hope that not only Svitolina, but also other Ukrainian athletes will go on the grid as far as possible.