By Ros Satar
- Top Seeds: Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep, Garbiñe Muguruza, Elina Svitolina
- Defending Champion: Angelique Kerber
- Eight players could walk away with the World No. 1 spot at the end of the US Open
- British Interest: Johanna Konta , Heather Watson, …..
- CLICK our featured players for stats from TennisAbstract
NEW YORK, USA – Last year’s finalist Karolina Pliskova rules the road at the start of the US Open, but can she hold on to the top spot?
Many feel it really is only a matter of time before the laid-back check walks off with the one of the four biggest prizes in tennis. She made her first Grand Slam final here last year, but fell just short to the in-form Angelique Kerber. With the German having struggled seemingly under the mantle of the World No. 1 spot, much less as a defending Slam champion, the route is clear for Pliskova to stamp her authority on the tour.
The first seed she could encounter will be Zhang Shuai who has never beaten her, with France’s Kristina Mladenovic set to be her fourth round opponent. It is a closer head to head, however despite a great showing in her home slam, things have taken a downturn for the outspoken Frenchwoman.
The quarter-finals on paper could throw up (on seeding) Svetlana Kuznetsova, but with the prospect of USA’s Coco Vandeweghe in the mix in the section above, this section could open up nicely for Pliskova.
 Simona Halep
You have to feel for the diminutive Romanian. Three times now she has come within a match win of the World No. 1 spot, and the beat down she got at the hands of Garbiñe Muguruza in Cincinnati may have shaken her confidence a touch. The draw will not have helped much as she draws Maria Sharapova as the wildcard. Halep has never beaten the Russian, but what she has in her favour is that since Sharapova’s return in Stuttgart, she has struggled with injury, and her preparation has been stymied while Halep is court sharp just now.
Her third round opponent is likely to be USA hope Lauren Davis with Anastasija Sevastova lurking in the fourth round. As if we have not had enough drama with this pair, Britain’s Johanna Konta will be gunning for her first quarter-final at the US Open, where she is likely to resume her rivalry with Halep.
 Garbiñe Muguruza
Talking of the Spaniard – it is like a light has gone on for her. After winning her maiden Grand Slam in 2016 picking up the French Open, her form fluctuated more than the weather forecasts as she struggled to bring that form to the regular tour. In the run up to the French Open the pressure really started to tell and losing in the fourth round was almost a relief.
So imagine how she would react after she went on to win Wimbledon, two years after making the final – but pleasingly she seems to have suffered no similar let down, and that makes her a real favourite for New York.
Up first and sneaking into a seeded position with the withdrawals of Serena Williams and Timea Bacsinszky, Magdalena Rybarikova will be the first seed Muguruza encounters and after her spirited run at Wimbledon, she could be a first test for the Spaniard. Next up could be Petra Kvitova – the fairytale come-back has been, gone and it is definitely business as usual and it has not been an easy hard-court swing for the Czech.
 Elina Svitolina
For a long time, Svitolina has been touted as a future champion and her consistency this year has put her right in the mix. However she starts against the feisty but sometimes flakey Katerina Siniakova and could get Genie Bouchard in the second round. She ought to be able to handle Daria Gavrilova, who is likely to await her in the third round, and could face a tough ask against Madison Keys in round four.
Defending champion Kerber has been waiting all year to regain to kind of form that saw her ascend the ranks and the majors last year, but with this year’s French Open lurking in her section of the bracket, nothing can be taken for granted if we eye up a potential quarter-final clash
The US Open takes place between 28 August and 10 September.
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