US Open: Women’s Preview & Predictions


US Open: Can Serena handle the pressure? 

The US Open gets underway tomorrow in New York City. In the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, all eyes will be on Serena Williams as she bids to become only the fourth woman to win all four majors in a calendar year!

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, can anyone stop the three time reigning champion from winning her 22nd Grand Slam title?

Here’s a preview of the draw and who I think will reach the quarter finals.


First Quarter: (1) Serena Williams vs (12) Belinda Bencic

(1) Serena Williams has all the pressure on her shoulders as she looks to join Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court and Steffi Graf in the history books. Williams is the form favourite and though she lost only her second match of the year in Toronto against Belinda Bencic, Williams predictably bounced back in defending her Cincinnati crown.  Though Williams hasn’t lost at a Slam since Wimbledon 2014 and at the US Open since 2011, she’s always at her most vulnerable in the early stages. (29) Sloane Stephens recently won her first WTA title in Washington DC and has a history of pushing Williams to her limits, as she did at this year’s French Open. If the two meet in the third round, there could be fireworks as Williams has struggled at this stage of the majors all year. Further down the line, Williams could well face either (15) Agnieszka Radwanska or (19) Madison Keys, but for me, Stephens is the biggest threat to Williams in the early stages.

(8) Karolina Pliskova won the US Open series, meaning she could well earn an additional $1 million if she wins the Open. However, she’s struggled since breaking the top 10 behind a run to the Stanford final. With this in mind, as well as the fact that she’s never gone beyond the third round of a Slam before, I’m doubtful that she’ll fulfil her seeded expectation. (12) Belinda Bencic, fresh off of her phenomenal run to the title in Toronto, is a far more likely prospect, as is (23) Venus Williams, who can never be counted out. If these two meet in the third round as I expect they will, I feel that either one is more likely to go on and reach the quarters.

Second Quarter: (3) Maria Sharapova vs (21) Jelena Jankovic

(3) Maria Sharapova is vulnerable considering she hasn’t played since Wimbledon due to a leg injury. Her opening match against Daria Gavrilova couldn’t be much tougher, considering the Australian beat Sharapova in Miami earlier this year. Aside from Sharapova, this section of the draw is pretty open, with (13) Ekaterina Makarova and (17) Elina Svitolina the highest seeds. The latter has performed well recently in reaching the semis at both Stanford and Cincinnati but I feel she’ll need Sharapova to lose early if she’s to reach the quarters here.

More from Majors

(7) Ana Ivanovic has recently regained form in making the quarters in Toronto and Cincinnati. However, her opening match against Dominika Cibulkova will be extremely tough. If she can win that, then the draw opens up as (25) Eugenie Bouchard can’t be expected to win matches at this point in time. Nor can (10) Carla Suarez Navarro, who’s suffered a catastrophic loss of form since the grass court season. (21) Jelena Jankovic could well reach her first US Open quarter final since 2008 considering her recent return to form in winning Nanchang and reaching the semis at Cincinnati.

Third Quarter: (18) Andrea Petkovic vs (4) Caroline Wozniacki

(5) Petra Kvitova is back to winning ways after just defending her New Haven title. Sadly, it’s mattered little in the past as she’s yet to go beyond the fourth round at the US Open and rising star, (31) Anna Karolina Schmiedlova could well account for her in the third round. (9) Garbine Muguruza hasn’t won a match since making the Wimbledon final and will be vulnerable in the early stages. If (18) Andrea Petkovic can negotiate a tough opener against Caroline Garcia, I think her experience should put her in good stead to reach the quarters.

(4) Caroline Wozniacki looks to be over the knee injury which has blighted her summer, reaching the semis in New Haven. Given her draw and past success here, she should go deep again though Christina McHale and (26) Flavia Pennetta have given her problems in the past. I don’t see either (16) Sara Errani or (22) Samantha Stosur as threats as Wozniacki typically thrashes the Italian and Stosur will probably lose early again.

More from Majors

Fourth Quarter: (20) Victoria Azarenka vs (2) Simona Halep

(6) Lucie Safarova is playing very well, coming in off a tough three set loss in the New Haven final. Her first round against Lesia Tsurenko will be a repeat of the semi finals there. Further down the line, Stanford champion, (11) Angelique Kerber is expected to feature though (20) Victoria Azarenka is a far more potent threat in my opinion, providing she isn’t injured.

(2) Simona Halep has played confidently this summer, reaching successive finals in Toronto and Cincinnati. However, she’s always struggled at the US Open and could well struggle early on against the likes of (27) Alize Cornet. If she can get through that though, she stands a good chance as (14) Timea Bacsinszky has completely lost her glorious form from early in the year and (24) Sabine Lisicki is as predictable as the wind!

Next: WTA New Haven: Final Prediction

More from Lob and Smash