August 23, 2019 / 10:04 PM / 6 months ago

Eight women to watch at U.S. Open

(Reuters) - Here are eight women to watch during the U.S. Open which starts on Monday (prefix number denotes seeding).

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Women's Singles Final - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 26, 2019. Japan's Naomi Osaka kisses her trophy after winning her match against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

1-Naomi Osaka (Japan)

Being consistent is something Osaka has yet to master. During a topsy-turvy 2019 season, she has won the Australian Open but then slumped out early at the next two majors. A third round exit at the French Open was followed by first round demise at Wimbledon.

A second straight U.S. Open might be fitting after last year’s win was overshadowed by runner-up Serena Williams’ row with the umpire.

2-Ash Barty (Australia)

The Australian has enjoyed a breakthrough season in which she won a maiden slam at the French Open and also briefly climbed to the top of the world rankings.

She has had mixed results since triumphing at Roland Garros but remains a top threat.

3-Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)

With the U.S. Open being her most successful slam, Pliskova will be hoping she can go one better than her runner-up finish in 2016.

Having already enjoyed a stint as world number one, she is still searching for that first Grand Slam trophy.

4-Simona Halep (Romania)

After destroying Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final, the Romanian proved that she has what it takes to succeed on grass as well as clay, on which she won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2018.

The former world number one will be hoping to carry that confidence into the U.S. Open, where her last two appearances have ended in first-round defeats.

5-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)

It has surprisingly been a barren year for Svitolina who capped off 2018 by winning the WTA Finals, which was her fourth title of the year.

Since capturing her first WTA title in 2012, Svitolina has won at least one trophy every season. But so far in 2019, she has failed to reach a final.

However, a semi-final run at Wimbledon would have given her a much needed boost and she will be looking to build on that in New York.

8-Serena Williams (U.S)

The American has been stuck on 23 majors for over 2-1/2 years and desperately wants to win another to tie Australian great Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24.

It is proving to be a difficult task for the 37-year-old who has lost her last three Grand Slam finals, including the controversial defeat to Osaka at Flushing Meadows in September 2018.

She will be fired up from the start this year though as first up for her will be a familiar foe - Maria Sharapova.

10-Madison Keys (U.S)

The American and her powerful forehand seem to be best suited for the U.S. Open, where she reached the final in 2017 and the semi-final a year ago.

Having won the Western & Southern Open in the run-up to the year’s final slam, she will enter the tournament in top form.

Cori Gauff (U.S)

Slideshow (7 Images)

The 15-year-old took the tennis world by storm when, as a qualifier ranked 313 in the world, she beat five-times champion Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon.

Her heroics did not stop there as she also saved two match points against Polona Hercog to reach the last 16.

That sensational run earned her a main draw wildcard at Flushing Meadows, where she will be eager to show off her credentials as a future great.

Reporting by Jahmal Corner, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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