The 2014 U.S. Open lost some of its star power when Rafael Nadal and Li Na withdrew because of injury, but there are still plenty of marquee names remaining.
The women’s side of things features the likes of Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep, among others. It is sure to be a thrilling Grand Slam event, and fans will certainly tune in to watch the superstars.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the top stars in the women’s draw.
Serena Williams is a force on the tennis court, but she hasn’t been quite up to form in the Grand Slams this season. In fact, she failed to even reach the quarterfinals in the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.
Williams lost in the fourth round in Australia to Ana Ivanovic, the second round of the French Open to Garbine Muguruza and the third round in Wimbledon to Alize Cornet.
Still, we are talking about the No. 1 player in the world who has five titles under her belt this year. She is the favorite in any match she plays based on her resume and serving power alone and won’t disappoint in Flushing Meadows.
Williams also comes to the U.S. Open with plenty of momentum after winning titles in Stanford and Cincinnati and reaching the semifinals in Montreal. She has been dominant against the top 10 (18-0) as well, so her biggest tests may come early in the tournament.
With that type of momentum and her control of her top competitors, Williams will march to victory at the U.S. Open.
Prediction: Williams wins the championship.
Unlike Williams, Sharapova has a major title this year at the French Open. However, she has never won two majors in one season throughout her career and will be looking to shake that proverbial monkey off her back in Flushing Meadows.
Sharapova missed last year’s U.S. Open with shoulder concerns, but she won in 2006 and made the semifinals in 2012. She also has some momentum on her side after reaching the semifinals in Cincinnati, where she eventually bowed out to Ivanovic.
Elena Scuro noted that Sharapova has been working on her game with the hope of replicating her success at past U.S. Opens:
Unfortunately for Sharapova, there is a major roadblock in her way—Williams. Sharapova only has one victory over Williams in a Grand Slam (2004 Wimbledon) and has lost their past 15 head-to-head matchups.
Sharapova drew the No. 5 seed, which means she could face Williams in the finals. It’s hard to argue against Williams’ dominance in this matchup, and it will continue at the U.S. Open.
Prediction: Sharapova loses to Williams in the finals.
Halep may not be the household name that Williams and Sharapova are, but that would change with a U.S. Open title. Halep reached the French Open final and Wimbledon semifinals and enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed.
However, she has struggled against top competition and is a combined 0-11 against Sharapova and the Williams sisters.
Halep doesn’t exactly have a ton of momentum on her side either after losing Tuesday in her opening match at the Connecticut Open to the 68th-ranked player in the world, Magdalena Rybarikova.
Still, Halep had a fairly positive attitude about the whole thing, According to The Associated Press, via USA Today: "I played three sets and almost two hours, so I think it was a good match. I have enough positive things to take from this match."
Halep has never advanced past the fourth round of the U.S. Open, but she is playing some incredible tennis at this year’s majors. That won’t change, and she will once again impress in the semifinals against No. 3 seed Petra Kvitova.
Halep holds a 2-0 record against Kvitova and has only dropped one of five sets in those two matches. She will add to that head-to-head dominance at the U.S. Open, but it won’t help if she goes up against Williams.
Williams has never lost to Halep and is on her way to her first Grand Slam of the season.
Prediction: Halep loses before reaching the finals.
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