24/05/2024
Barty, Osaka and Krejčíková are all in the form to take out their second major of 2021 at the US Open but Sabalenka and Pliskova shouldn't be ignored.

Unlike the Men’s Singles event the Women’s Singles event is wide open in the Women’s draw Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka and Barbora Krejčíková all look to claim their second major title for 2021 but there are others not far off their pace in an exciting draw at the US Open this year.

Play is scheduled to commence tonight at 1 am AEST, and carry through the fortnight until the 12th of September.

Ash Barty [1]

Despite only winning one Grand Slam for the year, 2021 has been the year of Ash Barty with the Australian dominating the Women’s circuit on all courts and only wavering on a handful of occasions.

There were a few worrying signs that there was a title hangover from her Wimbledon victory following the shock first-round exit at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but after a bronze medal in the mixed doubles Barty returned to the ripping form fans had seen from her all year winning the Cincinnati Masters title without dropping a set.

This was the third hard court title from Barty for the year and came at the perfect time for the Australian taking down the ascendant Barbora Krejčíková in the quarter final.

As the top seed Barty has been rewarded handsomely with both Osaka and Aryna Sabalenka starting on the bottom half of the draw.

In the first round, she’ll face Russia’s Vera Zvonareva, but the first big test likely won’t come until the fourth round against American Jennifer Brady, head to head Barty has had the upper hand winning two of their three matchups but Brady has been in fine form this year and will be bolstered by the home crowd.

Ash Barty Aussie Women US Open 2021
Ash Barty is in the form of her life heading into the US Open. Photo: Tennis Australia

Aryna Sabalenka [2]

Often underestimated over the course of this year Sabalenka has put the hard yards in this year to claim the number two spot in the world ahead of the US Open to start the tournament as the second seed.

It hasn’t been the perfect year for the 23-year-old only claiming two titles for the year and year to reach a Grand Slam final but she’ll favour the bottom half of the draw alongside Naomi Osaka. Namely, she’ll avoid playing Karolina Pliskova, who she has come unstuck against twice in recent months until the final should both progress.

The Belarussian will feel confident heading into the first week at Flushing Meadows with a first round match against Serbia’s Nina Stojanović and it won’t be until the fourth round where she is expected to play either Elise Mertens (BEL) or Ons Jabeur (TUN) that she’ll come under pressure for the first time.

From there it is by no means a smooth run into the final, whoever emerges from the seventh bracket will emerge having beaten a number of in-form players both seeded and unseeded and should Sabalenka reach the semi-final it’s expected that Naomi Osaka will be waiting for her.

Aryna Sabalenka hasn’t seen the rewards in 2021 when it comes to title wins but she’s continued to threaten on all surfaces this year Photo: WTA Tennis

Naomi Osaka [3]

While Barty and Sabalenka have had strong years with consistent form, Osaka’s been a different story. After winning the Australian Open in February she is yet to reach another final so far this year. This isn’t purely due to a loss of form, Osaka took time off from the tour between her withdrawal from the French Open and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

There’s something special about Osaka and the US Open, one of the most dominant forces in hard court tennis, she breezed through the US Open last year to claim the title and would likely be very happy to do it in the same fashion this year with the likes of Barty returning after forgoing the tournament in 2020.

The battle starts early for the 23-year-old facing Marie Bouzková, the pair have never faced one another but Bouzková has come away with four wins against top 10 opponents including beating Bianca Andreescu earlier this year.

From there she’ll have a number of tough opponents including a potential match against the American youngster Coco Gauff who has proven the sky’s the limit this year and would likely love to capitalise on her stunning momentum in the past two years at Flushing Meadows, and took Osaka to three sets in Cinncinati earlier this month.

More US Open News

US Open 2021: Aussie Women – Barty searching for maiden US Open title

US Open 2021: Men’s Contenders: Can anyone stop Djokovic’s pursuit of a Grand Slam?

US Open 2021: Olympians and returning stars in strong crop of Aussie men

Karolína Plíšková [4]

After a mixed 2020, Karolína Plíšková has looked like she’s in the form we saw a few years ago. She’s performed under pressure advancing to the Final at Wimbledon against Ash Barty in July.

Despite a slight hiccup at the Olympics much like other top players, she’s gone on to reach the final at the Canadian Open and fell in the semi final at the Cincinnati Masters. But she’s beaten number two in the world Aryna Sabalenka twice in the past two months.

In the first round, she’ll play wildcard Caty McNally in the first round, and come the third round there’s a good chance she’ll face Australia’s Ajla Tomljanović and if she progresses into the fourth round it’s likely she’ll play Paula Badosa or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Despite being the fourth seed Pliskova is a good chance to progress in the US Open Photo: US Open

Barbora Krejčíková [8]

Just by reaching the US Open Barbora Krejčíková has already gone further than ever before in her career but the French Open Champion won’t settle for an early exit at her maiden US Open.

Once thought to be a doubles specialist the 25-year-old has really made a name for herself this year in the singles achieving career bests at all three previous majors including taking out the Roland Garros title along with two more singles titles.

In fact, she’s dazzled in all disciplines winning a Grand Slam in all three disciplines this year and could be looking to take more than one at Flushing Meadows.

Unfortunately, she’s drawn one of the more challenging brackets at her debut US Open and Australia’s Astra Sharma in the first round but it’s the potential fourth round match against Garbiñe Muguruza or Victoria Azarenka that will be the biggest hurdle.

Barbora Krejčíková might be at her maiden US Open but no one should count her out Photo: WTA Tennis

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