If the likes of defending champion Iga Swiatek, world number two Aryna Sabalenka and in-form American Coco Gauff falter in this year’s tournament, there are a handful of contenders ready to swoop in – chief among whom may be Elena Rybakina
With eight different women having lifted the U.S. Open trophy in the last nine years, the crowds at Flushing Meadows are well-accustomed to seeing pre-tournament favourites fail to deliver.
If the likes of defending champion Iga Swiatek, world number two Aryna Sabalenka and in-form American Coco Gauff falter in this year’s tournament, there are a handful of contenders ready to swoop in – chief among whom may be Elena Rybakina.
While her greatest success has come on grass, 2022 Wimbledon champion Rybakina’s style can be devastating on hard courts, as she showed in some key clashes with major rivals on the surface this year.
The 24-year-old beat Sabalenka in the Indian Wells final and got the better of Swiatek in straight sets at both the Australian Open and Indian Wells.
However, Elena Rybakina has had her momentum disrupted by an injury, which forced her to pull out of the Cincinnati Masters, meaning doubts over her fitness will hang over the fourth-ranked Kazakh when she begins her U.S. Open campaign next week.
Maria Sakkari marked her 100th consecutive week in the top 10 of the women’s rankings earlier this month, but for all the Greek’s success in recent years, a Grand Slam title has eluded her.
Sakkari, who fell to Gauff in the Washington final this month, will continue her quest for a first major trophy at the U.S. Open, where she reached the semi-final in 2021.
“Starting the U.S. swing with a final and playing good tennis, it’s actually one of the few times I have done it, Sakkari told reporters after her defeat to Gauff. “So I believe it’s going to help me, but no one knows for sure.”
Caroline Garcia will be hoping to improve on her run to the semi-final at last year’s U.S. Open, though the Frenchwoman’s preparations have been far from ideal.
Garcia suffered first-round losses in Washington and Montreal, which were followed by a defeat to Sloane Stephens in her opening game in Cincinnati – where she was the defending champion.
The Czech Republic will have a strong contingent at the tournament with Marketa Vondrousova, Karolina Muchova, Petra Kvitova and Barbora Krejcikova ranked ninth through 12th in the WTA rankings.
Muchova will be feeling particularly confident, having reached the final of the Cincinnati Masters with wins over two top-10 ranked players — Sabalenka and Sakkari.
“Me and Marketa were last year outside of 200. It’s really nice,” Muchova told reporters. “Then there is another bunch of Czechs behind us. It’s nice to see that they’re doing great.”
Muchova’s compatriot Vondrousova will be hoping to build on her title-winning Wimbledon run, while two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova is one of the most experienced players in the draw and will prove a tough test for any opponent.
The presence of former world number ones Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, who have been given wild cards by organisers, adds another layer of unpredictability to the draw.
Wozniacki, who announced in June that she was coming out of retirement, has played three competitive matches since her return – winning one and losing two.
Seven-times Grand Slam winner Williams had looked in good nick, earning a win over 16th-ranked Veronika Kudermetova in Cincinnati, but withdrew from the Tennis in the Land tournament with a knee injury, leaving her U.S. Open participation in question.
Dominic Thiem admits rib injury, aiming for Davis Cup preparation
Dominic Thiem recognized that he supported a rib injury at the Australian Open. He would attempt to recuperate in time for the Davis Cup qualifiers that start the next month.
Previous U.S. Open champ Thiem has dove to number 98 on the planet because of his ongoing physical issue issues.
The 29-year-old Austrian was given a special case to the Australian Open, where he lost to fifth seed Andrey Rublev in straight sets subsequent to pulling a rib muscle while serving.
“Tragically, the year didn’t get off to the beginning I had expected. I needed to do the best that I can with, particularly in Melbourne, yet I tore a little muscle fiber in my rib “Posted on Instagram by Thiem.
“Because of the discoveries, contending in the Davis Cup ought to be practical. I’ll do all that I can this approaching week to rehearse hard and become in shape.”
Australian Open 2023:Rafael Nadal practices in front of a large crowd.
Rafael Nadal has a lot of fans. The top-seeded player, who will start his Australian Open campaign on Monday against left-handed opponent Jack Draper, walked out for his first practice session in front of a crowd that was packed outside the arena.
Nadal has played seven matches since the end of the last season. He has a record of 0-7, and he is 0-2 so far this year. Nadal is the current champion of the men’s singles event in Australia.
Even though Nadal is the defending champion at Melbourne Park thanks to his comeback from two sets down in last year’s final, which he called “one of the most emotional victories of my tennis career,” he is currently going through one of the worst stretches of his career. So far in 2023, he is 0-2 and has only won one of the seven games he has played since the end of the previous season.
When asked about how weak he felt at a news conference before the tournament on Saturday, Nadal didn’t try to hide anything.
“Yeah. Without knowing, “The 36-year-old man from Spain had a lot of health problems in 2022, including pain in his left foot that wouldn’t go away, broken rib cartilage, and a torn abdominal muscle. Many bad things were said to happen to him in the year 2022. “I’ve had more setbacks than usual lately…. It’s something I have to deal with if I want to keep going and win battles.
Wimbledon 2022: Andy Murray knocked out by John Isner despite late fightback
Having lost to a motivated John Isner in the second round on Wednesday, two-time champion Andy Murray experienced his earliest exit from Wimbledon.
Murray had won all eight of their prior encounters, but in their first meeting on grass, the 20th-seeded American out-served Murray magnificently to secure an outstanding triumph.
Isner, 37, won 43 of 61 points at the net, hit 82 winners, including 36 aces, and took both of his two break points.
Isner stated, “Look, it’s no secret that I am not a better tennis player than Andy Murray. “I believe that I performed slightly better than he did today.
“At the age I am today, I need to savour these occasions. One of my career’s biggest victories is this one. It is a major accomplishment for me to have played as well as I did against one of our greatest players in history. He is a huge source of motivation for each and every person in the locker room.”
Murray, 35, dropped his serve in the third game after missing two weeks of competitive play before to Wimbledon due to an abdominal issue.
In the ensuing game, he created two break opportunities, but Isner, 37, saved both and held onto the lead to win the opening set.
Murray rallied to win the third set in a tiebreak, 7-3, after Isner had won the second set tiebreak 7-4.
Isner broke for a 3-2 victory despite Murray having the momentum. When play resumed after the roof was closed due to darkness at 4-2, Murray held and subsequently had a 0-30 advantage on Isner’s serve, but he was unable to take advantage.
Murray held for a score of 5-4, but Isner easily served out to set up a third-round matchup with 10th seed Jannik Sinner.
Murray expressed disappointment that the abdominal injury he sustained in Stuttgart earlier this month had limited his ability to prepare for the competition.
I was in a good place with my game, so it’s annoying, he added. “That was ineffective. The good news is that I was in good physical condition throughout the contests. On the Wednesday and Thursday before the event, it was rather uncertain how I would perform. On the court, however, I felt strong physically. I just wasn’t able to pull through today.”
Murray stated that he intends to attend Wimbledon again.
It depends on my physical condition, he answered. “I’m in good physical shape, so we’ll attempt to keep playing. Making long-term forecasts about how I’ll be in a year, much alone a few weeks from now, is quite difficult, though, given the issues I’ve had with my body in recent years.
“Yes, I will continue to play if I’m in good physical shape. But maintaining my body in top shape to perform at the highest level is difficult.”
Now Murray is working to raise his ranking from 52, where it now stands, to a position where he will be a Grand Slam seed.
I thought I could have a deep run going into Wimbledon,” he remarked. “It obviously becomes a little bit more difficult if you are playing against great players right at the start of the competition. I guess you could say that’s what I want to do before the US Open.”