Get your tennis tips for the women’s section of the 2023 US Open Tournament, where Iga Swiatek will aim to defend her title against a host of in-form big guns.
THE TOP CEONTENDERS
Women’s tennis’ dominant force, Swiatek has held the world No.1 ranking for 16 months and has notched two more French Open titles (taking her tally to three) and last year’s US Open trophy, her first, during that time – and she only turned 22 in June. The Polish phenom was rolled in the Wimbledon quarters, however, and suffered semi-final losses in Montreal and Cincinnati in recent weeks, chipping away at the strong veneer of invincibility she built up in 2022. Still the player to beat, but by no means unbeatable.
Sabalenka was a US Open semi-finalist in 2021-22 (losing to Swiatek from a set up last year), while she well and truly doused her reputation as a grand slam underachiever by surging to Australian Open glory in January. The Belarusian has been outstandingly consistent in 2023 after putting some serving issues behind her, reaching the final at Indian Wells, winning the Madrid Masters for the second time, and making the French Open, Wimbledon and recent Cincinnati Masters semis. Should coast until at least the quarter-finals, where 2022 runner-up Ons Jabeur is a possible opponent.
Talk about peaking at the right time. Gauff has dealt with high expectation ever since bursting onto the grand slam scene at a 15-year-old at Wimbledon in 2019. After reaching the French Open final in 2022, she has endured something of a big-stage trough. But the gifted American clinched her maiden WTA 1000 title at the Cincinnati Masters last week – after beating Swiatek for the first time in eight attempts. The New York crowd will be like a tidal wave behind the player long seen as Serena Williams’ heir apparent…but will that be an advantage or a burden? Gauff was a quarter-finalist last year.
The Wimbledon champion last year and the Australian Open runner-up in January, Rybakina’s rise as a contender to Swiatek’s and Sabalenka’s claims to WTA supremacy has continued this season with triumph’s at Indian Wells and the Rome Masters either side of a Miami Masters final run. The torrent of trophies has dried up somewhat in the past couple of months, but she did make the Canadian Masters semis to suggest she will easily better her best previous US Open result of a third-round exit.
The world No.3 is as well-placed as ever for a breakout grand slam performance, have lost all six of her major quarter-finals to date. Pegula clinched her second WTA 1000 title at the Canadian Masters – beating Swiatek in the semis and losing just one game in a demolition of Liudmila Samsonova in the final – in an impressive pre-US Open statement. Though not as explosive and dynamic as her fellow contenders, the 29-year-old is unwaveringly consistent and capable of frustrating and wearing her rivals down.
BEST AUSSIE HOPE
Tomljanovic made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2021-22 and the US Open last year, nudging the top 30 for the first time, before a knee injury curtailed her career-best purple patch. The 30-year-old hasn’t played since November but is pencilled in for her comeback match in the opening round, though Rybakina is her likley opponent in the second round if she can account for Panna Udvardy. Daria Saville and Storm Hunter are other Aussies in the women’s draw capable of a couple of early wins.
The Ukrainian veteran has made a highly impressive return to the tour after a year out on maternity leave, gradually regaining fitness before winning the Internatiounaux de Strasbourg and embarking on a super run to the French Open quarters. The former world No.3 then made the semis at Wimbledon – beating Swiatek along the way – before her fairytale was spoiled by eventual winner Marketa Vondrousova. Seeded 26th, Svitolina may have to meet Pegula in the third round but there’s no player in the draw she won’t go in confident of beating.