US Open Tennis 2013: Stars Ready to Shine in Final Grand Slam

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US Open Tennis 2013: Stars Ready to Shine in Final Grand Slam
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 U.S. Open is the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, and starting August 26, stars from around the sport of tennis will be looking to shine at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

While there are top names in the sport struggling to find a rhythm, bona fide stars like Rafael Nadal, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams are all playing great heading into the tournament.

All of the following players will shine on the hard courts of the U.S. Open and contend for the final Grand Slam of the year.

 

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal

After beating John Isner in the Western & Southern Open tournament final, 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-3), Spanish legend Rafael Nadal looks poised to contend for the victory at the U.S. Open this year.

Nadal is coming off a tough first-round loss at Wimbledon earlier this season, but with the play on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows more similar to that of clay instead of grass, many tennis experts expect a performance that more closely resembles Nadal’s French Open victory in June, per Oliver Brown of The Telegraph.

Not only did Nadal win in Cincinnati Sunday, but the 2010 U.S. Open champion also won the Rogers Cup in Montreal earlier this August. With all the momentum on his side, there is no question that the Spanish star will be in contention for another Grand Slam title.

 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Victoria Azarenka

In one of the best matches of the year, it was Victoria Azarenka who beat American star Serena Williams, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), in the finals of the Western & Southern Open to gain serious momentum heading into next week’s tournament.

Williams and Azarenka have become fierce competitors over the last year, but it is the Belarusian’s confidence and lack of intimidation in the face of the 16-time Grand Slam champion that has made her such a force.

The duo of women’s stars is on another collision course with each other in the U.S. Open. While Williams’ experience would rattle even the toughest professionals, Azarenka proved in Cincinnati that she’s ready for next week’s tournament.

 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Serena Williams

Williams lost a heartbreaking matchup against Azarenka in the finals this weekend, but the American star is far from rattled by the outcome. With injuries taking their toll on the veteran’s performance, few expected Serena to make the splash she did.

Now that Williams can rest up for a few days, so as to be as close to full health as possible for the U.S. Open, the expectations for another Grand Slam title will once again be through the roof for the world’s No. 1 women’s tennis player.

With four previous titles in this major tournament and the momentum from a French Open title and a solid performance at Wimbledon (bounced in the fourth round) keeping Williams focused, Azarenka and the rest of the women’s field should expect a deep run from the defending tournament champion.

 

All stats via ESPN.com.

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