2020 US Open Women’s Preview and Predictions
Unlike the men’s field, which counts with the majority of the top men, the Women’s field is completely decimated. Unfortunately, six of the top ten players have decided to stay home for the coronavirus rendition of the US Open. The list includes No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, No. 2 Simona Halep, No. 5. Elina Svitolina, No. 6 Bianca Andreescu of Canada, No. 7 Kiki Bertens, and No. 8 Belinda Bencic.
Luckily, we still have some big-time names in the field. Also, the biggest story on the women’s side will be Serena Williams, as she goes for her 24th Grand Slam title. Luckily for her, she will be one of the top four seeds. All in all, regardless of the absences, the field will be stacked with former Grand Slam champions, such as Williams, Kenin, Osaka, Muguruza and Kvitova. Here’s how I see the top five seeds performing.
#5 Sabalenka: Don’t expect much from Sabalenka at the US Open this year. Although Sabalenka is a fine player, and consistently goes deep at smaller tournaments, she has a tendency to fall short at the slams. In the last three years she’s been a perpetual first round loser, going home in the first round of her past five of her last nine grand slam appearances. Expect the same this year.
#4 Osaka: Osaka is somebody that can come in hot and win any of the four grand slams. She’s already proven she can win at the US Open, capturing the title in 2018. Although her form floundered after splitting with coach Sascha Bajin after winning the 2019 Australian Open, she regained her form in the second half of 2019, capturing the China Open towards the end of the year. She didn’t start too hot in 2020, losing to Coco Gauff in the third round of the Australian Open. Make no mistake though, she is a favorite to go all the way, especially if she gets into the second week.
#3 Williams: At 38 years old, Serena Williams will not get too many more chances to claim one more Grand Slam in her amazing career. Will the 2020 US Open be the one? There are some serious doubts. If her performance at the Top Seed Open last week is any indication, don’t count on it. She went down in three sets to a player ranked outside of the top 300. That’s not the confidence booster she was looking for as she prepares for the US Open. That being said, once the Open starts, Serena will get better and better as the tournament goes on. She may not have the luxury of finding her form during the tournament though, as there are solid players such as Ostapenko or Gauff who will not be high seeds. If she draws a solid player early on, Serena will be going home in the early rounds.
#2 Kenin: It will be interesting to see how Kenin will handle coming in as a favorite at a Grand Slam. She surprised everyone by capturing the 2020 Australian Open. Can she win at the US Open as well? She has the fight and game to do it. She has already showed us. The draw is also pretty depleted, so she will have an easy time getting to the later rounds. She’ll be hungry to add to her collection, and she’s been playing a bunch of exhibitions in the last few months, which means she won’t be rusty. I expect to see her at least in a semifinal.
#1 Pliskova: Pliskova is a great player, with a wonderful serve and fluid and natural strokes which generate effortless power. She’s been in a US Open final before. Unfortunately for her, she lost in three hard fought sets to Angelique Kerber in 2016. Since then Pliskova has made a couple of quarterfinal appearances at the US Open. Pliskova has shown she can go deep in Grand Slams, and was in fine form before the pandemic hit. I don’t see her winning the tournament, however a semifinal appearance is very much in store for her.
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