US Open: Ten title contenders at Flushing Meadow

Serena Williams argues with umpire Carlos Ramos in the US Open final
Serena Williams argues with umpire Carlos Ramos in the US Open final

The US Open begins next week, minus Andy Murray but with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Simona Halep and company all vying to win the final grand slam of the year.

Here, the PA news agency picks out 10 players to watch at Flushing Meadows.

Serena Williams

The American remains tantilisingly one title short of equalling Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slams, a milestone which seems to be weighing heavily on her having fallen at the final hurdle twice at Wimbledon and, infamously, at last year's US Open. Injuries have also hindered the 37-year-old this year, yet still she remains a short-priced favourite in an open field.

Simona Halep

The newly crowned Wimbledon champion, following her ruthless display against Williams in the final, Halep has silenced the doubters who claimed she lacked the mental strength to win grand slams and will be desperate to improve on a largely undistinguished record in New York.

Naomi Osaka

Last year's champion, overcoming a bad-tempered Williams in the final, Osaka has endured a tough few months since claiming the Australian Open in January and lost in the first round at Wimbledon. But Osaka seems refocused, revitalised and ready to go some way towards replicating her stunning run of 12 months ago.

Cori Gauff

The 15-year-old from Florida, who burst onto the scene by becoming the youngest player to come through the qualifying rounds at Wimbledon and then beating five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round, has received a wild card entry for the main draw. Now ranked 140 in the world, all eyes will be on the precociously talented teenager at her home grand slam.

Coco Gauff celebrates at Wimbledon
Coco Gauff celebrates at Wimbledon

Bianca Andreescu

Another teenager with a big future, 19-year-old Andreescu won the Rogers Cup in her Canada homeland earlier this month and has risen to number 14 in the world, a remarkable leap of 195 places in the space of a year. Powerful but with an increasingly devastating drop shot, Andreescu will be a dangerous prospect for her more experienced opponents.


Novak Djokovic

The defending champion and hot favourite in the men's draw, Djokovic is back at the top of his game after his epic Wimbledon final win over Roger Federer. He now has 16 grand slam titles, two behind Rafael Nadal and four short of Federer. The Serb's functional game will never win him the admirers of Federer, but his numbers are stacking up and he is the man to beat over the next fortnight.

Roger Federer

The usual suspects will provide Djokovic's biggest challenges but Federer's preparations were hit by his quickest defeat in 16 years last week in Cincinnati, a shock 6-3 6-4 third-round loss to Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev in just 62 minutes. The last rites have been read on Federer's career before, of course, but we might now be entering 'enjoy him while he's still here' territory.

Rafael Nadal

The champion as recently as 2017, but question marks will always remain over the condition of Nadal's knees and whether he can last two weeks on the hard courts. If the Spaniard can stay injury free he will undoubtedly carry his traditional threat - and having pulled out of Cincinnati he should at least be fully rested.

Dominic Thiem

The world number four and supposedly the next cab off the rank, at 25 Thiem needs to break the big three's stranglehold sooner rather than later. A quarter-finalist last year, the Austrian with the most exquisite backhand in the game should have every chance to at least fill the fourth semi-final berth.

Nick Kyrgios

Whether it's nice Nick, who goes to the pub the night before matches, plays tweeners for fun and jokes with spectators, or nasty Nick, who only last week cost himself the best part of £100,000 for five separate acts of unsportsmanlike conduct in Cincinnati, volatile Australian Kyrgios remains a box office act.

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