US Open Women’s singles preview and prediction

3 Grand Slams down, 1 to go as the top players in the world travel to New York for the 2014 US Open. This year’s event starts on Monday and gives all the players the last chance of Grand Slam glory this year.

After publishing my men’s singles preview earlier, I’ve decided to preview the women’s singles draw, with Serena Williams the defending champion.

Top 16 Seeds:

1 – Serena Williams   9 – Jelena Jankovic

2 – Simona Halep   10 – Caroline Wozniacki

3 – Petra Kvitova   11 – Flavia Pennetta

4 – Aga Radwanska   12 – Dominika Cibulkova

5 – Maria Sharapova   13 – Sara Errani

6 – Angelique Kerber   14 – Lucie Safarova

7 – Eugenie Bouchard   15 – Carla Suarez-Navarro

8 – Ana Ivanovic   16 – Victoria Azarenka

First Quarter

Serena enters the tournament as the top seed, and faces an intriguing first round encounter against young American Taylor Townsend, who was given a wildcard into the draw. The next highest seed, and Serena’s projected quarter-final opponent, is Ana Ivanovic, who was recently defeated by Serena in the Cincinnati final. The Serb faces Alison Riske in the first round, with Casey Dellacqua a potential third round opponent. This quarter features another Grand Slam champion, with the 2011 Flushing Meadows champion Sam Stosur a potential 4th round foe for Serena. The Australian may have to overcome the 15th seed Carla Suarez-Navarro in the third round first before any rematch of the 2011 final. Flavia Pennetta also features in this first quarter.

Projected 4th round matches:

Serena Williams (1) V Carla Suarez-Navarro (15)

Flavia Pennetta (11) V Ana Ivanovic (8)

 

Second Quarter

The second quarter looks to be the toughest on paper with players such as Petra Kvitova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Victoria Azarenka and Eugenie Bouchard all located in this section. Wimbledon champion Kvitova faces Kristina Mladenovic in round 1 and could face rising American star Madison Keys, if each player wins their first two rounds. Kuznetsova and Azarenka look set to clash in the 3rd round which could be an early contender for match of the tournament, given each player’s pedigree.

Can Kvitova serve her way through the tournament?
Can Kvitova serve her way through the tournament?

Breakthrough star Bouchard faces Olga Govortsova in a tricky first match with either Sorana Cirstea or Britain’s Heather Watson waiting in round 2. Dangerous players such as Ekaterina Makarova, Dominika Cilbukova and Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova pose threats to the top players in the section, with Strycova a possible third round match-up for Bouchard.

Projected 4th round matches:

Petra Kvitova (3) V Victoria Azarenka (16)

Dominika Cibulkova (12) V Eugenie Bouchard (7)

 

Third Quarter

Recent Montreal champion Agnieszka Radwanska is the highest seed in the third quarter and starts her quest for her first Grand slam title against Sharon Fichman. The next highest threat to the Pole is 6th seeded Angelique Kerber, who has to luck of facing a qualifier in both the first and second rounds, if she comes through. Talented youngster Belinda Bencic could face Kerber in the third round, with Jelena Jankovic or Sloane Stephens being her next likely opponent. There could also be an interesting match-up in the third round with Lucie Safarova possibly facing Alize Cornet, the French woman who defeated Serena Williams at this year’s Wimbledon.

Projected 4th round matches:

Angelique Kerber (6) V Jelena Jankovic (9)

Lucie Safarova (14) V Aga Radwanska (4)

 

Fourth Quarter

The final quarter features perhaps the standout tie of the first round, with Maria Sharapova drawn to face her fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko.

The winner of the Russian battle will likely face the dangerous Sabine Lisicki in the third round, the German who is always capable of producing a shock. Sharapova’s 2014 rival Simona Halep arrives in New York as the second seed and the Romanian has a nice looking draw before a possible third round match against Garbine Muguruza, the Spaniard that has impressed on tour this year. Two-time champion Venus Williams faces 43 year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm in the first round and would like the look of her draw here. Caroline Wozniacki is drawn into this section and she opens up against Magdalena Rybarikova, the woman who defeated Halep in New Haven this week. Andrea Petkovic is also in this mini-section and a third round match against Wozniacki would excite many. British hope is furthered in the draw with Johanna Konta drawn to face Shahar Peer in round 1.

 

Projected 4th round matches:

Maria Sharapova (5) V Caroline Wozniacki (10)

Sara Errani (13) V Simona Halep (2)

 

Prediction

I’m not usually very interested in the initial women’s singles draws, but this draw really excites me with some great 1st round matches set and some exciting projected later rounds. The favourite here has to be Serena, and I can’t see her being stopped before the quarter-finals. Stosur could provide a tough fourth round tie but I would still expect the American to come through. I think this quarter will go to the seedings, and set up a quarter-final match between Serena and Ivanovic. The winner of this match will face the winner of the second quarter, which is in my opinion the toughest section. Bouchard has been in poor form of late and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her exit in the early rounds, despite her strong performances at slams this year. Last year’s runner-up Azarenka comes into the tournament with injury worries, and a possible 3rd round encounter with Kuznetsova could prove too much. Kvitova is favourite to come through this section but Madison Keys would provide a stern test in a potential third round. Kvitova has never reached the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows so that’s another factor to take in. I’m going to stick my head on the block and say it will be a Serena-Bouchard semi-final, unless the Canadian cannot get over her poor form, which will enable Kuznetsova to surprise many.

The second half of the draw is equally as exciting as the first half, with many top players in each section. 6th seed Kerber has a good draw early on, and she makes the fourth round for me. Sloane Stephens has had a very inconsistent year so far but I think she’ll make the quarter-finals, defeating Jankovic despite the Serb winning their recent meeting. Radwanska has never reached the quarter-finals at the US Open but I think she plays Stephens in the Quarters. Safarova or Cornet would provide a test along the way, so don’t be surprised if one of them advances beyond Aga. The final quarter-final will be between Wozniacki and Halep, with Venus offering the biggest threat to Halep before this stage. Wozniacki has been in strong form at times during the season and I expect her to advance well into the latter stages here. Sharapova has a tough first round match but if she comes through that then I think she loses to Wozniacki in the fourth round. I’m predicting a Radwanska-Wozniacki semi-final.

My prediction to win the title has to be Serena Williams as she is simply unbeatable if she’s playing her very best tennis and has a point to prove, with her poor performances at the slams this year. She seems back to form and I expect her to lift another US Open. I think she plays Wozniacki in the final, who defeats Radwanska in the semi-final. Very tough to predict so don’t expect any of this to be right!

 

Prediction summary:

Winner: Serena Williams

Dark horses: Eugenie Bouchard, Caroline Wozniacki

Potential surprise runs: Sloane Stephens, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Madison Keys

 

5 first round matches to watch:

Serena Williams V Taylor Townsend

Petra Kvitova V Kristina Mladenovic

Alize Cornet V Amandine Hesse

Maria Sharapova V Maria Kirilenko

Kimiko Date-Krumm V Venus Williams

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my preview of the women’s singles draw at the US Open, I hoped you enjoyed it. Why not join the debate and comment your predictions for the women’s singles draw at the US Open? For any questions or queries on this blog, or other blogs, either contact me on my twitter handle – @Tennis17MAD or via email at – jamesfroud0608@hotmail.co.uk

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