FLUSHING MEADOWS.– The Australian Ashleigh Barty and the biolorussian Aryna SabalenkaLeading the rankings as number one and two respectively and a series of major tournament champions, rising stars are set to begin their quest for a Grand Slam title in the Big Apple on Monday.
Meanwhile, to start the defense of the title, the Japanese Naomi Osaka She faces former US Open junior champion Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, whom she also beat in the first round of the 2020 Australian Open.
Barty, who leads the draw, faces former finalist Vera Zvonareva in the first round. When Zvonareva reached the final of the US Open in 2010, Ashleigh Barty was only 14 years old. More than a decade later, they will play in the first round in New York, with Barty now the world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion, most recently earlier this year at Wimbledon.
In the upper half, Barty’s path to the quarterfinals could include No. 29 seed Veronika Kudermetova, No. 22 seed and two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist Karolina Muchova and 2020 US Open semi-finalist and 2021 Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady.
The No. 7 seed and 2020 French Open winner Iga Swiatek is Barty’s projected opponent in the round of 16, in a loaded stretch of the draw that also features the Tokyo gold medalist and the No. 11 Belinda Bencic, No. 23 seed Jessica Pegula and Jil Teichmann of Switzerland, who reached the final of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati by beating Naomi Osaka.
Osaka: the defending champion
Last summer, Naomi Osaka rallied a set against to defeat Victoria Azarenka and win the women’s title. This year, that’s a projected semi-final, but there are plenty of other players who could finish there as well. Seeded No. 3 and No. 18, respectively, this year, Osaka and Azarenka fell in the bottom half of the frame with No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka, No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina, and No. serial No. 8 Barbora Krejcikova.
Last year, Naomi Osaka rallied a set against to defeat Victoria Azarenka and win the women’s title. This year, that’s a projected semi-final, but there are plenty of other players who could finish there as well. Seeded No. 3 and No. 18, respectively, this year, Osaka and Azarenka fell in the bottom half of the frame with No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka, No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina, and No. serial No. 8 Barbora Krejcikova.
To kick off the title defense, Osaka faces former US Open junior champion Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, whom she also defeated in the first round of the 2020 Australian Open.
Sabalenka arrives in New York shortly after ascending to World No. 2, a career-highest ranking. The 23-year-old, nearly a decade younger than her compatriot Azarenka, broke new ground at Wimbledon by reaching her first Grand Slam semi-final. She also reached the fourth round of the US Open in her main draw debut in 2018. This year, she opens against Serbian Nina Stojanovic, and could face No. 26 seed Danielle Collins in the third round.
Collins emerged during the summer with a 12-game winning streak that led to her winning titles at Palermo and San José, opens against Spain’s Carla Suárez Navarro.
A bronze medalist for her country in Tokyo, Svitolina reached the semifinals in New York in 2019, while Krejcikova, French Open champion in singles and doubles and gold medalist in doubles in Tokyo, has been one of the stars of the season. – Now ranked No. 9 in the world, she has never played a US Open main draw before.
Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens y Coco Gauff
Continuing with the draw, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens, who four years ago played for the US Open title. This year, they meet in the first round.
The winner will face No. 21 seed Coco Gauff or Magda Linette from Poland. Gauff, 17, is playing his third US Open, having reached the third round in 2019, while Linette, world No. 51, matched that result last year. Gauff and former champion Angelique Kerber, seeded No. 16 and in the midst of a career resurgence, could meet in the third round as a projected fourth-round opponent from Osaka.
No. 9 seed Garbiñe Muguruza and No. 12 seed Simona Halep have combined to win four titles at the French Open and Wimbledon. At the US Open, however, they have been susceptible to early departures. Muguruza has only reached the fourth round once, in 2017, and Halep has been beaten in the first or second round in six of her 10 starts in the Big Apple.
Muguruza got off to a fast start to 2021 and held match points against eventual champion Osaka in the fourth round of the Australian Open in February. He reached three finals in the first three months of the year, which included his first title in four years in Dubai in March. However, since retiring from a match at the Volvo Car Open in April with a left leg injury, Muguruza has only reached the quarter-finals once in six tournaments.
After breaking his calf in a game against Kerber in Rome in May, Halep missed the French Open and Wimbledon, and played just two games on the summer hard court swing. He lost his first game in five months to Collins in Canada and suffered a small tear in his right adductor, which caused him to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.