On the women’s side of the US Open draw, there have been many withdrawals due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, there are many players that are seeded at a Grand Slam for the first time in their careers and have a better chance than normal in going deep into the tournament. Let’s look at the draws for the top 16 seeds in the tournament.
US Open Seed Report
1. Karolina Pliskova
Pliskova is the only top 10 player who doesn’t live in America to participate in this year’s US Open. She is going into the Grand Slam after losing in the second round of Cincinnati to Veronika Kudermetova in straight sets, 7-5 6-4. Despite this surprising loss, she will be heading into the tournament as one of the favorites but faces a potentially difficult third-round clash against Lexington champion Jennifer Brady.
2. Sofia Kenin
Similar to Pliskova, Kenin lost in the second round of Cincinnati to Alize Cornet in straight sets, 6-1 7-6(7). Kenin played in the World TeamTennis exhibition and went 11-4 in singles, playing some good matches and getting more practice in for the resumption of the tour. However, ever since her huge win at the Australian Open she hasn’t performed her best in the big tournaments and probably isn’t expected to go too far at this year’s US Open.
3. Serena Williams
Williams is going into the US Open with a lot of time on the court after going to three sets in all five of her warm-up matches in Lexington and Cincinnati. She has been far from her best in both tournaments, but as we are all aware her level is likely to increase in the Grand Slam environment. Williams has drawn fellow American, Kristie Ahn in the first round, who shouldn’t oppose too much of a threat for the 23-time Grand Slam champion. But, her real challenge is likely to come in the fourth round against either American teen Amanda Anisimova, or Maria Sakkari of Greece.
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4. Naomi Osaka
She is many people’s favourite for the title but can Naomi Osaka prevail at the Open? The delay in the tour seems to have come at the right time for Osaka as she reached the final of Cincinnati and put in brilliant performances against the in-form Anett Kontaveit and Elise Mertens. Osaka is expected to have a very good run at this year’s US Open and could potentially have an interesting rematch with Coco Gauff in the third round.
5. Aryna Sabalenka
The stop in the tour couldn’t have come at a worse time for Sabalenka after she had just won her sixth WTA title in Doha. Since the restart, she has struggled to find any consistency in her game and has lost early in both Lexington and Cincinnati. There have been glimpses of her best tennis as all of her matches have gone to three sets but the mental side of her game has been her weak point. She has a difficult draw as she could play her Belorussian teammate Victoria Azarenka, who won the title in “Cincinnati” last week, in the second round.
6. Petra Kvitova
Kvitova wouldn’t have been too pleased with the break in the tour either as she had already reached the Australian Open quarterfinals and the final in Doha. During the COVID-19 break, she has played quite a few exhibition matches and had relatively promising results, winning six of her nine matches. Kvitova played in Cincinnati but lost in the second round to Marie Bouzkova, but did put in a solid performance despite the defeat. Her draw for the US Open seems to be relatively straightforward until the third round where she could play either Jessica Pegula or Bouzkova.
7. Madison Keys
She started her year on a high after reaching the final in Brisbane and played some of her best tennis. Keys couldn’t convert this form into the first Grand Slam of the year as she lost to Maria Sakkari in the third round. Keys hasn’t had too much practice going into the US Open after losing in the second round to Ons Jabeur in “Cincinnati.” There was too much erratic hitting from Keys and she will be hoping to resolve this problem going into the US Open. The fast courts could help the American, but she will immediately have a difficult potential second-round encounter against the in-form Jil Teichmann.
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8. Petra Martic
Looking at the US Open draw, Martic has a great opportunity to reach the quarterfinals. She restarted her season on the clay courts in Palermo and Prague, reaching the semifinals in Palermo. However, in both tournaments, she struggled with fatigue probably due to the fact she didn’t play any exhibition matches during the break. Martic didn’t enter Cincinnati, which means she hasn’t played any hard court matches since the return of the tour. This could be a disadvantage going into the open but I expect her to have a solid tournament.
9. Johanna Konta
Konta surprised many after she reached the semifinals in Cincinnati, losing to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka. She arguably played her best tennis of the year and will be hoping to carry that form into the US Open. Johanna reached the quarterfinals last year and she once again has a good chance of making it that far. Her section, however, is quite stacked with quality players such as Sabalenka, Azarenka, Iga Swiatek and Venus Williams.
10. Garbine Muguruza
Muguruza surprised many at the start of the year after reaching the final at the Australian Open, losing to Sofia Kenin despite winning the first set. She continued this good form with average results in Dubai and Doha. So, the break in the tour didn’t come at the best time for the Spaniard. Being one of the only players not to have participated in any warm up events, due to injury, this could be a disadvantage for Muguruza. Nevertheless, she will still be a danger to many in the draw and her first real challenge is expected to be against Donna Vekic in the third round.
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11. Elena Rybakina
There has been so much hype around teenage sensation Coco Gauff recently that young stars such as Rybakina have gone under the radar. She had one of the best starts to the 2020 season of any player, winning in Hobart and reaching three other WTA finals in just two months. The break in the tour didn’t come at a good time for her as she also managed to build up the most wins of any player on tour. Since the restart, Rybakina lost in the first round of Cincinnati but remains a huge contender for the US Open. There could be a very entertaining match against hard-hitting Dayana Yastremska in round three.
12. Marketa Vondrousova
Ever since reaching her maiden Grand Slam final, Vondrousova has had a difficult time on tour with lingering injuries that halted her 2019 season at Wimbledon. She hasn’t been able to win back to back matches since Adelaide 2020 but her rather friendly draw could help Vondrousova regain some of her Roland Garros form. She is expected to win her first-round encounter against Minnen but could face a challenge in round three against Yulia Putintseva.
13. Alison Riske
The American participated in a couple of exhibition events during the coronavirus break but struggled in her first match back on the tour, losing to Amanda Anisimova in straight sets. She put in a great performance earlier in the year at the Australian Open, reaching the fourth round. Riske has a pretty decent draw and could put up an excellent fight against an out of sorts Angelique Kerber in the third round.
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14. Anett Kontaveit
The Estonian has been one of the most consistent players on the tour for the entire year and the lockdown hasn’t stopped this great form. She returned to the tour and earned her sixth WTA final in Palermo before losing to the extremely in-form Fiona Ferro. Adding to this success, Kontaveit entered the “bubble” in New York to play Cincinnati and posted another solid quarterfinal, playing brilliant tennis. The US Open draw is one that she would’ve hoped for, and she is clear favorite to make the fourth round from her section.
15. Maria Sakkari
After reaching the quarterfinals in Cincinnati, beating Serena Williams in the process, Sakkari will be going into the US Open high in confidence. In the first Grand Slam of the year, she managed to reach the fourth round before losing to Petra Kvitova in a close three-set battle. She has been playing pretty solid tennis all season and has beaten some high-quality players. The draw, however, is a difficult one as she could face Amanda Anisimova in round three and possibly a rematch against Serena Williams in the fourth round.
16. Elise Mertens
Sixteenth seed Elise Mertens has continued her consistent form in the 2020 season, reaching the final in Prague and the semifinals in Cincinnati. Despite not beating too many high profile players this year, she has posted consistent results all year round and will be looking to get another here at the US Open. Her draw is very interesting as she could face off against her idol Kim Clijsters in the third round and maybe a fourth-round clash against defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin.
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