While the 2022 US Open could be the most ‘open’ edition in every sense when it comes to the women’s singles draw, the spotlight, first up, is set to be on 23-time Grand Slam winner and home favourite Serena Williams.
Serena last won a Grand Slam at the 2017 Australian Open and has been chasing an elusive 24th crown that will draw her level with Margaret Court who holds the record for most Majors.
After a year-long absence, she returned to competitive tennis in singles at Wimbledon where she lost to Frenchwoman Harmony Tan in the first round. Since then, she has played in Toronto and Cincinnati and had early exits at both of those events before bidding farewell to the spectators.
Six-time champion at Flushing Meadows, wildcard Serena opens her campaign against Danka Kovinic of Montenegro and could face second seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the next round.
Venus Williams, a two-time US Open champion and Serena’s elder sister, has also been awarded a wildcard and plays Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck in the first round.
Iga Swiatek will not enter the US Open as the undisputed title favourite. The Polish world number one had an incredible 37-match winning streak which involved clinching the Roland Garros title. However, recently she has suffered defeats at the hands of non-top 10 players Caroline Garcia and Beatriz Haddad Maia at the Poland Open and the Canadian Open, respectively. Swiatek, whose best performance in New York is a fourth-round finish, plays Italian Jasmine Paolini in the first round. Her potential fourth-round opponent could be Amanda Anisimova and a win over the American could see her play eighth seed Jessica Pegula in the quarterfinals.
The 2021 US Open was a big success due to the emergence of two new stars - Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez. It will be interesting to see whether the two can come close to repeating the same performance this year.
Defending champion Raducanu, seeded 11th, has a tricky first-round opponent in Frenchwoman Alize Cornet. Her possible third and fourth round opponents could be two-time US Open champion Naomi Osaka and 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, respectively. As far as Fernandez is concerned, she too faces a French player - Oceane Dodin - in the opening round with a potential third-round clash with 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.
Some other big first-round fixtures include Osaka vs Danielle Collins, Anisimova against Yulia Putintseva, Jelena Ostapenko vs Qinwen Zheng and Garbine Muguruza vs Clara Tauson.
With the depth women’s tennis has, players outside the top 10 such as Garcia and Haddad Maia too will fancy their chances.
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