The US Open gets under way next week with an all-time great looking to make history and some new faces hoping to shine.
Here, the PA news agency picks out 10 players to watch at the US Open.
The world number one is a red-hot favourite to take the title, the calendar grand slam and move ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ race with 21 major wins. It seems that only a nagging shoulder problem, the pressure of what is at stake, or hitting a ball at a line judge can stop him.
Canadian Shapovalov turned heads in July as he reached his first grand slam semi-final at Wimbledon, defeating Andy Murray, Roberto Bautista Agut and Karen Khachanov along the way before falling to eventual champion Djokovic. It was a run that proved to the 22-year-old, who is a threat on every surface, that he is here to mix it with the best.
The son of former world number two Petr Korda and brother of golf stars Jessica and Nelly Korda, the 21-year-old qualified for his first Masters 1000 event last year ranked 225 and quickly ascended into the top 50. Korda disposed of Dan Evans on his way to the fourth round at Wimbledon and looks primed for a deep run at his home major.
The nearly man of grand slam tennis will be hoping to use his Olympic gold medal as a springboard to finally get over the line at a major tournament. German Zverev, the beaten finalist last year, has the scalp of Djokovic in the last four in Tokyo under his belt and won the warm-up event in Cincinnati at a canter to prove his credentials.
The Queen’s Club champion and Wimbledon runner-up has had time off due to a thigh injury and while his serve is as dangerous as ever, his baseline strokes were a little rusty on his comeback. But if the Italian can get a couple of matches under his belt, expect that destructive forehand to cause some serious damage at Flushing Meadows.
The women’s world number one spot has changed hands 15 times in five years but, for the first time since Serena Williams reigned supreme, we have a player who looks intent on staying there. Barty has made six finals in 2021, winning five of them including Wimbledon and in dominant style in Cincinnati last week. The Australian looks the one to beat.
The two-time winner returns to defend her title on the back of a tumultuous few months. Osaka withdrew from the French Open after just one match and skipped Wimbledon to focus on her mental health. Carrying the Olympic torch was followed by an early exit from her home Games. Muscle memory might kick in but Osaka’s mindset will be key to her chances.
The former world number one rediscovered some of her best form during the grass-court season, winning at Bad Homburg and reaching the Wimbledon semi-final, losing to Barty. She carried that momentum into Cincinnati, beating Maria Sakkari, Elina Svitolina, Jelena Ostapenko and Petra Kvitova before again falling to Barty. The 2016 champion has fired warning shot for New York.
Belarusian Sabalenka geared up for Flushing Meadows by climbing to second place in the WTA rankings, nudging Osaka down to third. Another Wimbledon semi-finalist this year, the big-hitting 23-year-old looks certain to go further than her fourth-round best at the very least.
With Williams having withdrawn due to injury, America will again have to look to Brady for its best chance of a home victory. The 26-year-old, a semi-finalist last year and Australian Open runner-up to Osaka in February, cannot be far away from breaking through the glass ceiling and claiming a maiden grand slam title.
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