With the US Open starting next week, American fans should feel quite optimistic about having an American singles champion. Serena Williams was the last American to win the singles title at the US Open, which she did in 2014 over Caroline Wozniacki. Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula, who also happen to be one of the best doubles teams in the world, enter the US Open as the two most in-form players of the US Open series.
Pegula took home the WTA 1000 event in Montreal. In the final against Liudmila Samsonova, she was undoubtedly helped by some dubious scheduling decisions that harmed Samsonova.
Regardless, Pegula was poised throughout the entire tournament and showed a glittering balance of offensive and defensive baselining. Pegula has never advanced past the quarterfinals at a singles major, but given a good draw, she seems poised for a deep run at the US Open.
Is Coco Gauff the outright favorite for the Open?
Coco Gauff won more matches than any other female player in the US Open series, bolstered by her two biggest singles tournament wins in Washington DC and Cincinnati. Gauff has become more aggressive on her first serve and forehand, which has been supported by her ever-steady backhand and footspeed.
Gauff has only lost one singles match since Wimbledon, a three-set quarterfinal loss to Pegula in Montreal. In Cincinnati, Gauff picked up her first win in 8 tries against world number 1 Iga Swiatek, and she defeated 2023 Roland Garros finalist Karolina Muchova in the final. Gauff will seek her first major win in the US Open and likely has her greatest chance to win a major thus far in her early career.
Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka fight for number 1 ranking
Two of the other favorites for the US Open title are world number 1 Iga Swiatek and world number 2 Aryna Sabalenka. Swiatek, the defending champion, will need to finish at least one round better than Sabalenka to retain the number 1 ranking.
Since Wimbledon, Swiatek has put up solid results. She won a tournament at home in Poland and reached the semifinals in Montreal and Cincinnati. While not as dominant as she was last year, Swiatek’s record this year has been stellar, winning 53 matches so far.
After her Wimbledon semifinal run, Sabalenka made a semifinal in Cincinnati, where her serve started to deteriorate again. Expect Sabalenka to get her serve back together, but her serving woes leave her as likely the fourth pick to win the US Open.
For potential US Open dark horses, keep an eye out for Samsonova, Muchova, and third-ranked Elena Rybakina. Samsonova and Rybakina have the power to hit any player off the court, and Muchova is one of the craftiest players on tour.