I didn’t think I would be writing about live tennis again in 2020 but here we are! The US Open is set to begin on Monday in New York. While six of the top ten have pulled out, the draw still manages to showcase the depth on the WTA tour. I really enjoyed last week’s tennis in Cincy-New York and felt ready to write again, if anything, just for a distraction from the day job. Read on for a preview of the four quarters with a few predictions along the way.
Seeds 1️⃣: (1) Karolina Pliskova, (8) Petra Martic, (12) Marketa Vondrousova, (13) Alison Riske, (17) Angelique Kerber, (23) Yulia Putintseva, (28) Jennifer Brady and (30) Kristina Mladenovic
Unseeded loomers ⚡: Caroline Garcia, CiCi Bellis and Aliaksandra Sasnovich
Fun fact 🤓: There are four players in this quarter who will be competing in a Slam main draw for the first time – Tamara Korpatsch, Hailey Baptiste, Varvara Gracheva and 15-year-old, Robin Montgomery, who is the reigning Orange Bowl champion. Seven players, that’s nearly a quarter of the players in this section (!), will be playing the US Open main draw for the first time.
Blockbuster R1 match 🎆: In truth there’s nothing that really stands out in this section from the slate of first round matches. The match i’m most keen to watch is Angelique Kerber against Ajla Tomljanovic, mostly to see Angie play for the first time post-lockdown.
Match-ups hoping for 🤞: The pick of the potential match-ups is Pliskova-Brady (R3) after Brady announced herself by winning her first WTA title in Lexington. In the pair’s only previous meeting at the US Open in 2017, Brady won just one game. If the pair were to meet, i’d expect Brady to win a lot more games. Into the second week, a Pliskova-Kerber (R4) clash on a fast hard court would be one to relish.
General thoughts 🤔: Going into a Slam having not won a pre-Slam tune-up event is a rarity these days for Karolina Pliskova. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing because it hasn’t exactly favoured her in recent years. Pliskova’s draw has its pitfalls with Caroline Garcia a possible second round opponent (3-3 H2H record) and Jennifer Brady lurking in the third round. Just my personal opinion but I don’t see Pliskova winning. Despite not having played post-lockdown, i’m high on Angelique Kerber‘s chances. She loves a fast court, has history at the US, and often starts the year well down under after the off-season break. Add to that, Kerber has teamed up again with Torben Beltz which is a legendary combination.
As much as I like Petra Martic, it does feel rather jarring to see her as a top eight seed. Martic’s eighth of the draw is definitely the lightest on paper. A resourceful Martic will be the favourite to prevail although I also like the enigmatic, Aliaksandra Sasnovich, to reach the second week.
QF Prediction 🏵️: Angelique Kerber vs. Petra Martic
Seeds 1️⃣: (4) Naomi Osaka, (6) Petra Kvitova, (11) Elena Rybakina, (14) Anett Kontaveit (19) Dayana Yastremska, (24) Magda Linette, (31) Anastasija Sevastova and (32) Rebecca Peterson
Unseeded loomers ⚡: Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula, Marie Bouzkova, Camila Giorgi and Danielle Collins
Fun fact 🤓: Elena Rybakina had to qualify for last year’s US Open. One year on and she’s the number 11 seed!
Blockbuster R1 matches 🎆: Two players who have shone since the restart, Jessica Pegula and Marie Bouzkova, will clash in the first round. I was disappointed when I saw the draw as I fancied both players to have a shot at reaching the second week. It’s a 50-50 clash – instinct is with Bouzkova.
Also of note is Anastasija Sevastova vs. Coco Gauff. I thought Gauff looked superb in Lexington where she reached the semi-finals. Her resilence and ability to problem solve is already exceptional at 16 years old. Sevastova hasn’t won a set on the restart and is the kind of player who can blow hot and cold. She has history at the US Open. I’m trending towards Gauff, despite a one-sided loss to Maria Sakkari in the first round of Cincy-New York.
Match-ups hoping for 🤞: Osaka-Gauff (R3) will draw the headlines although their two previous matches, while highly memorable occasions, were one-sided affairs. As a potential first time match-up, i’d like to see Rybakina-Yastremska (R3). If it happens, pray for those tennis balls.
General thoughts 🤔: Naomi Osaka looked in fantastic form in Cincy-New York before having to withdraw from the final due to a leg injury. I love how Osaka is playing and so, so clutch on the big points. A slight concern that the overwhelming attention will catch up to her and now with this injury and such a quick turnaround to a Monday start. Hopefully it’s all precautionary. The dark horse in this section is the steadily improving, Anett Kontaveit. I don’t like Collins as a first round opponent for Kontaveit but if Osaka were to go out early, Kontaveit would be my pick to take advantage of the opening.
Petra Kvitova lost her opener in Cincy-New York to a brilliant, Bouzkova in three sets. I actually thought it was a positive showing from Kvitova and she played a stunning first set. The forecast implies the weather won’t be too oppressive for the next two weeks and Kvitova should be fresh. Dare I say she is going somewhat under the radar which is when Petra is always at her most dangerous. The Czech star could face Marie Bouzkova again in the third round.
QF Prediction 🏵️: Naomi Osaka vs. Petra Kvitova
Seeds 1️⃣: (3) Serena Williams, (7) Madison Keys, (10) Garbiñe Muguruza, (15) Maria Sakkari (18) Donna Vekic, (22) Amanda Anisimova, (25) Zhang Shuai, (26) Sloane Stephens
Unseeded loomers ⚡: Jill Teichmann, Alize Cornet and Margarita Gasparyan
Fun fact 🤓: The US Open is set to welcome the return of Tsvetana Pironkova! The 32-year-old has not played a competitive match since Wimbledon 2017 following the birth of her first child in 2018. Pironkova will play Liudmila Samsonova in the first round.
Blockbuster R1 match 🎆: Like the first quarter, nothing blows me away in terms of first round matches. I am fascinated though by Sloane Stephens up against Mihaela Buzarnescu. Two years ago, the pair were in their prime and this would have been an all-top 20 clash. Stephens has won just one of her last nine matches, while Buzarnescu hasn’t played a competitive match in nearly a year. The Romanian player has never been the same since she went over on her ankle in Montreal. I’d give Stephens a slight edge with some match play under her belt.
Match-ups hoping for 🤞: Keys-Teichmann (R2) is the most exciting potential second rounder. Sakkari-Anisimova (R3) would be a nice clash of game styles.
General thoughts 🤔: Serena Williams has had plenty of court time with all five of her post-lockdown matches going three sets. While she has shown flashes of clutchness, she was unable to close out her two eventual losses against Shelby Rogers and Maria Sakkari in Lexington and Cincy-New York respectively. Madison Keys lost her opener in Cincy-New York to Ons Jabeur, while Garbiñe Muguruza is untested having pulled out last week due to a left ankle injury.
While I know not to underestimate Serena, i’m just not convinced that she can win seven matches against the field. My dark horse tip is Amanda Anisimova. Anisimova has been overshadowed by Gauff in the last year but I still think she is a tremendous prospect and has such a clean game. I was impressed with her level in a first round win over Alison Riske in Cincy-New York. The Keys-Muguruza eighth is highly uncertain but their quality and ability to peak for the Slams may well prevail. Jill Teichmann and Alizé Cornet are ones to watch following promising runs in Lexington and Cincy-New York respectively.
QF prediction 🏵️: Madison Keys vs. Amanda Anisimova
Seeds 1️⃣: (2) Sofia Kenin, (5) Aryna Sabalenka, (9) Johanna Konta, (16) Elise Mertens (20) Karolina Muchova, (21) Ekaterina Alexandrova, (27) Ons Jabeur and (29) Veronika Kudermetova
Unseeded loomers ⚡: Victoria Azarenka, Venus Williams, Iga Swiatek, Taylor Townsend, Vera Zvonareva, Leylah Fernandez and Kim Clijsters (!)
Fun fact 🤓: Three of the four semi-finalists from Cincy-New York have landed in this fourth quarter. Victoria Azarenka and Johanna Konta could reprise their semi-final clash in the fourth round, while Elise Mertens is in the final eighth of the draw.
Blockbuster R1 matches 🎆: Karolina Muchova against Venus Williams is best of the first round match-ups. Both players have impressed on the resumption without making great progress in the tournaments they played. Venus debuted a brand new serve in Lexington and looked sharp in her opener against Victoria Azarenka. Muchova pushed Osaka to three sets in Cincy-New York in one of, if not, the highest quality match from the past week. A 50-50 clash but my admiration for Muchova is swinging the tables in favour of the Czech player!
Also of note in this section is Veronika Kudermetova vs. Iga Swiatek, a match where it’s not obvious who the seed is (it’s Kudermetova for the record). An all-British clash between Johanna Konta and Heather Watson is a brutal opener for the pair who joined Sue Barker for the Wimbledon daily shows back in July. Finally, a hipster match-up alert for the energetic 17-year-old, Leylah Fernandez going up against the two-time Slam finalist and 35-year-old, Vera Zvonareva.
Match-ups hoping for 🤞: Sabalenka-Azarenka (R2) is the pick of the second rounders if it materialises. The pair’s only previous meeting was at last year’s US Open where Sabalenka won in three sets. In the same section, i’m pulling for Swiatek-Townsend (R2) which would be a perfect showcase of the variety that the WTA has to offer.
General thoughts 🤔: This is a fun, fun section mixing experience and youth. Victoria Azarenka was playing with a new sense of freedom in Cincy-New York, all just a week after many had written her off following a swift exit in Lexington. Aryna Sabalenka has looked wildly erratic even for her standards so i’d say Azarenka is the favourite to come through that section. Johanna Konta has suddenly burst into form and the courts seem to suit her game perfectly. If Konta’s knee holds up then she will be dangerous. I’m also keeping an eye on Karolina Muchova and Iga Swiatek.
Sofia Kenin improved during her Cincy-New York opener against Alizé Cornet after an understandably rusty start but lost in straight sets. She should have won the second set, missing an almost open court on one of her three set points. She’s got some tricky players in her section, including Ons Jabeur, who are all capable of causing of Slam upsets. Elise Mertens is in great form after reaching the final of Prague and the semi-finals of Cincy-New York. She’s consistently performed well at the Slams and will likely sweep up if Kenin falters with her supremely solid game and temperament.
QF Prediction 🏵️: Victoria Azarenka vs. Sofia Kenin
The WTA is unpredictable at the best of times so this should be a whirlwind of a two weeks. I think it’s probably the most challenging Slam to predict in recent memory. I’m just so thankful that we have some live tennis to enjoy. Here’s to a safe and exciting tournament 😊.
Final Prediction: Kvitova d. Anisimova
9 thoughts on “US Open 2020 Draw Preview”
I am hopeful for kim, her winning GS would be blessing in this difficult time. I hope she stays injury free
Fingers crossed that Clijsters will be fit to play the tournament!
It must have been quite a challenge to make solid predictions with little in the way of recent results and I like your pick for Kvitova and Anisimova in the final! The fun fact snippets were also really nice addition. Honestly, I’ll just be impressed if they can pull off this event without anyone else getting sick (Benoît Paire has already withdrawn after a positive test and we haven’t even started yet). Fingers crossed…
Here are some thoughts, once again rather excessive in length. Let the tennis begin!
Blockbuster R1 match:
None? *Maybe Putintseva v Montgomery*? Because if anyone could get flustered by a precocious 15-year-old opponent, it’s Yulia.
*Kalinina over Ka. Pliskova*?? The top seed really did not look comfortable in her opening match this past week, failing to win a set. I honestly have no idea with this quarter because so many of the players facing seeds in R1 are unfamiliar or outright unknown to me.
Match-ups hoping for:
*Ka. Pliskova v Garcia*, the clash of the (C/K)arolin(e/a)’s that really ought to be a quarterfinal, not that either have been playing enough quality tennis of late to justify it. Vondrousova v Putintseva (R3) could be a wacky affair.
Garcia and Mladenovic, formerly one of the best doubles teams of recent years, are much better than their current rankings, and they both have fairly comfy draws for three rounds, which is not something one often says when the top seed and former finalist is lurking in round 2. Bellis didn’t look quite sharp enough at “Cincinnati”, so I’ll instead give the nod to James’s pick of *Aliaksandra Sasnovich* (with a very soft draw) and also to Arantxa Rus, who DID look sharp this week. A pity the latter is sandwiched between Riske and Kerber. And speaking of…
Riske and Kerber are the only two players in this quarter in whom I have any solid confidence, and I think whichever of the those two emerges from their pocket of the draw will be the semi-finalist. I’m going with *Alison Riske over Petra Martic*, but an all-lefty QF of Kerber over Vondrousova wouldn’t surprise me either.
Blockbuster R1 match:
Now this is more like it! You’ve already mentioned two of the big ones, so I’ll throw a few others in the mix, starting with *Kostyuk v Kasatkina*, a battle of cooled-off wunderkinds with very different game styles (and as a bonus, the winner of that faces Gauff or Sevastova in R2). Other fun matches are Giorgi v Van Uytvanck and Collins v Kontaveit.
*Gauff over Sevastova* is the obvious upset for this quarter, especially since the teen never seems to get flustered by opponents who force her to problem-solve, which is exactly what Sevastova does to players. Maddison Inglis has been on the periphery of my radar since I transcribed a match of hers from Hobart that she played back in 2016 when she was still a junior, and I could see her taking out #24 seed Linette if the stars align. Rybakina, despite her amazing ascension, looked like she would have lost to anyone this past week, so she’s on upset watch even though I admittedly know nothing about her opponent, Zavatska. Misaki Doi can also be very dangerous and could be an immediate test for Osaka right out of the gate given the uncertainty around Naomi’s fitness.
Match-ups hoping for:
Say it with me now, “*Osaka v Gauff*”. Having said that, they both have interesting potential preceding matches, with Naomi v Giorgi (RIP tennis balls) and Coco v Kostyuk/Kasatkina (see above). Nothing else really stands out besides a possible quarterfinal rematch of the 2019 Australian final between Osaka and Kvitova.
The winner of Bouzkova v Pegula looks like a reasonable pick through to week 2, provided they can navigate past Petra. Speaking of which, Kvitova isn’t really a dark horse (two-time Wimbledon champ with the firepower to hit through — not past; through — any opponent when she’s in the zone? She’s no more a dark horse than prime Stan Wawrinka) but she is certainly flying under the hype of !!OSAKA!! and !!GAUFF!! these days. Giorgi is dangerous but too erratic while Kasatkina is still searching the lost & found for her misplaced mojo; neither appear capable right now of running the Osaka-Gauff gauntlet they’ve landed in. When all’s said and done, *Anett Kontaveit* looked very good this past week and may be motivated by another potential crack at Osaka in R4.
If Osaka is healthy: *Naomi Osaka over Petra Kvitova*. If not: *Anett Kontaveit over Petra Kvitova*. (Sorry, Petra.)
Blockbuster R1 match:
There are a few fun match-ups here on paper, but I feel they’re all hampered by one or both of the players being nowhere near their peaks: Keys v Babos (duck and cover), Stephens v Buzarnescu, and Gasparyan v Puig. I’ll go a bit more low-key and pick *Lauren Davis v Alizé Cornet*, two players accustomed to working hard for their wins. Well… it’s as low-key as one can get with these two, anyway.
Yeesh. It’s more to do with the uncertainty regarding the seeds than the potential of their opponents, but all of these players feel to me like they’re on thin ice: *Keys, Zhang, Vekic, Anisimova, Stephens*. It would surprise me if all of them made it to R2 unscathed. Even Muguruza, whom I have through to the quarterfinals, is a big question mark, and Nao Hibino in R1 is no pushover.
Match-ups hoping for:
My fingers are crossed for *Gasparyan v S. Williams* in R2. Every time I’ve seen Gasparyan face a top-tier opponent since her return, she’s put on show and forced said opponents to dig deep to force her off-balance and keep her from painting the lines with her aggressive shots. She also came heartbreakingly close to beating Svitolina at Wimbledon last year before her body let her down again, which has been the theme of her career thus far, sadly. Serena is not going to be getting as many balls back as Svitolina, and with the shorter rallies and lack of spectators getting in her ear, I really believe Margarita could last long enough to out-hit Williams IF — and this is a huge “if” — she is physically healthy. We could also see Keys v Muguruza in R4 for a real high-calibre shooting match; here’s hoping the on-court crew get hazard pay!
As much as I like Gasparyan’s chances against Serena, endurance has always been a big problem with her chronic injuries, and getting a defensive player like Stephens or Buzarnescu in R3 would be a death knell. Alizé Cornet looked quite sharp at the UTS event in France earlier this summer (she was thoroughly out-muscled by Pavlyuchenkova in the final, yet Cornet fought back and forced a sudden death finish, which she narrowly lost — not bad for “The Volcano”), which makes her my unseeded dark horse purely by default. I do think *Maria Sakkari* is the one to keep an eye on, though, maybe all the way to the semi.
With three Slam champions in this section (Williams, Stephens, and Muguruza), a runner-up (Keys), and the reigning Olympic gold medalist (Puig!), it wouldn’t be out of character for any of them to find their top form without warning and win the title outright. (Okay, maybe not Puig, but hey, none of us saw her gold medal win coming either.) I think it’s either going to be Garbine Muguruza — who not only played well in Melbourne this year, but also looked relaxed and even happy on the court for the first time in ages — or Maria Sakkari. The “Cincinnati” results are the tie-breaker for me, so *Sakkari over Muguruza* it is.
At the 2009 US Open, Kim Clijsters was returning from maternity leave, was given a wild card, and went on to win the whole tournament. Her SF opponent was Serena Williams, who lost the match due to the (in)famous “did you seriously just call a foot fault?” incident, and her final opponent was unseeded first-time finalist Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Yanina Wickmayer, also unseeded, in the semis. Fast-forward 11 years: Clijsters is making another comeback, has since had two more kids, and has been given a wild card; Serena is now also competing as a mother and is seeded 3rd; Caroline Wozniacki retired at the start of this year (but did finally win a Major); and Wickmayer is still around, lurking unseeded as the first opponent of #2 seed Sofia Kenin. The more some things change, the more others stay the same!
Blockbuster R1 match:
Ah, here’s where the good ones are! I fully agree with James that *Muchova v V. Williams* is the one to watch and will be a lot of fun! It’s a pity that Konta will likely end the winner’s run in R3, though. Mertens v Siegemund is also intriguing (let’s be honest, anyone v Siegemund is intriguing), as is the clash of generations between (still-reigning) Roland Garros juniors champ Fernandez and the Slam-final veteran Zvonareva. Clijsters v Alexandrova gets a nod, too, simply for the fact that Kim freakin’ Clijsters is back in the draw of a Slam! Again!
As an aside, it turns out the men’s singles draw is similarly stacked in the last quarter, with Murray v Nishioka, Khachanov v Sinner, Bautista Agut v Sandgren, Moutet v Vesely, and potential things like Pospisil v Raonic, de Minaur v Gasquet, Auger-Aliassime v Murray, Moutet v Evans, Murray v Evans, all inside the first week! And since you mentioned the welcome return of Tsvetana Pironkova (yay!), we should also welcome back Andrey Kuznetsov, who hasn’t played professionally since January 2018 (and hasn’t won a tour-level match in over 3 years).
*Swiatek over Kudermetova*. It does feel odd that it’s the Russian who’s seeded (or that either of them are seeded at this stage, to be honest), but there we go. Muchova, Konta, and Mertens all have dangerous R1 opponents in Venus Williams, Heather Watson, and Laura Siegemund, respectively; I’m not predicting any upsets of the bunch, but it wouldn’t surprise me if one or more did take place. Also, because I’m just too excited and hopeful (and half-Belgian): Clijsters over Alexandrova!
Match-ups hoping for:
The potential R2(!) meeting between the two top Belarusian players, Sabalenka and “Cincinnati” champ Azarenka, will be a big highlight of the first week if it comes to pass. By all rights, Azarenka should now be seeded #21 in Alexandrova’s place, putting her against… Kim Clijsters, followed by McNally(?) and Elise Mertens (or Sakkari, since we’re adjusting the seeds)– that’s hardly better, is it? Anyway, *Sabalenka v Azarenka* is a popcorn match (bring earplugs), then get a refill for my favourite of the batch, *Townsend v Swiatek*, with the winners from those two meeting in R3, which will be fun no matter the combination. Also fun: Mertens v Clijsters for the past and present of Belgian tennis, and Jabeur v Kenin.
Who ISN’T a dark horse in this quarter? Azarenka, Townsend, Swiatek, Muchova, Konta, Mertens, Clijsters (I can dream, can’t I?), Jabeur… Throw in Venus Williams and Aryna Sabalenka, too, since neither have had significant results lately compared to expectations. Even Kenin, despite the big “2” by her name and the Melbourne trophy in her possession, feels like a dark horse next to the established contenders. Overall, my under-the-radar pick is *Ons Jabeur*, who has managed to greatly improve her consistency — day-to-day and mid-match — without losing any of the unpredictability that makes her so exciting, and she has had a lot of good wins this year to show for it.
My initial prediction here was Johanna Konta over Ons Jabeur, based on Konta’s results this past week and seeing the first half of her semifinal against Azarenka, in which Konta was the better player. Then the next day I saw the rest of that match and it has changed my prediction completely to: I don’t think anyone can stop Azarenka right now. Her schedule has wound up being very nicely paced thanks to the impromptu day of protest on Thursday and the walkover final combined with her Tuesday start for the US Open, so she should have plenty of gas in the tank to get through any number of matches here. It looks like Vika is the zone right now, and the last time she played like this she won the Sunshine Double (Indian Wells + Miami back-to-back) in 2016. *Victoria Azarenka over Ons Jabeur*.
I have to make two predictions for the final based on whether or not Osaka is healthy enough to compete at her best level, although it ultimately doesn’t change my pick for the champion. I think that we will once again see a mother and former Slam champion win the tournament, just not the one everyone’s thinking of (Serena) nor the one who already did so (Kim).
Healthy Osaka: Victoria Azarenka d. Naomi Osaka
Unhealthy Osaka: Victoria Azarenka d. Alison Riske
Hi Alexander, hope you are doing well and thanks for sharing your thoughts which I always enjoy reading. This is probably the most challenging tournament to make any predictions for and I have zero confidence in mine. Filling out a Slam draw is a ritual for me so I thought i’d be brave
stupidand share them. A few comments:
– I like your Riske prediction and it certainly makes sense with the courts which should really suit her game as fast and not particularly bouncy(?). I ended up going for Kerber over Riske (a big risk in itself because we know nothing about Angie’s form) because I watched her match with Anisimova where AA won rather comfortably but you’ve made me reconsider my initial feeling!
– I’m very fond of Gasparyan too and that match against Svitolina at Wimbledon was just superb. She was so close to the win until her body let her down. A good point that she does often seem to excel when on a show court.
– I’m not too sure what to expect of Clijsters but I went with my instinct and had her reaching R3 in my draw. A Mertens-Clijsters R3 would be a special match but a long way to go before that becomes an eventuality!
– My new rule is to steer clear of anyone who wins a pre-Slam event because they almost never seem to replicate that form for the Slam. This one feels very different though because Cincy-New York was held on the same court and same conditions, and just a few days ago! While I didn’t go for Vika as my champ, she’s going to be very dangerous in this draw.
Here’s to a fun two weeks of tennis!
Petra winning sounds like wishful thinking to me – no offence. It tends to get quite humid in New York this time of year,l and she just doesn’t play well in that kind of weather.
I would love to see Serena winning but something just isn’t clicking for her… she looks super fit but she just isn’t nearly as aggressive as she was or needs to be.
Would also love to see some of the younger ones really making a big break. Rybakina was SO impressive early in the year. If she could find that form, she’ll be one to watch.
I’m thinking Osaka v Azarenka for the final. Kerber v Konta would be my back-up finalists.
I’d be happy with Osaka-Azarenka, a shame we didn’t get to see it on Saturday. Just wondering how that hamstring is going to hold up for Osaka. Agreed about Rybakina.
Yeah we have no idea how serious the injury is. She may be able to play through it, we’ll see.
The biggest question mark for me is how players cope without crowds. People seem to be assuming that it favours lower ranked players. I’m not so sure about that. Most upsets happen where the crowd really get behind the underdog. So it might actually benefit people like Serena and Novak – they’ll be able to focus on their game rather than the crowd.
With the possible exception of 2016 (which was Angie’s year), the winners of the last five US Opens – Flavia Pennetta, Sloane Stephens, Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu – have all been surprises. So, if the trend continues the winner of this one will be as well.
Very hard to predict who it will be, so out of sentiment I’d like it to be someone who has gotten close to winning the Open before but not made it and is still slamless. Madison Keys vs. Karo Pliskova final please?
If I’m wrong, then it’ll most likely be Serena vs. somebody in the final. I’ve checked the 10-day forecast for New York on Yahoo! Weather and it’s not going to be particularly hot for the next couple of weeks, so maybe Petra’s in with a chance.
Just one more thing. It’s a shame Simona’s not playing this year because it would have given her the chance to break the jinx she’s had at Flushing Meadow these last few years and at least get out of the first round.
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The thing is… I’m not sure that anybody is really backing Serena to win, at the moment. It wouldn’t be a surprise, of course. But the pressure seems to be considerably less than it has been at other Slams of late. Maybe that will help her loosen up?