US Open 2017: The Contenders And Who To Watch4 min read

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Blogger of many different sports. My main interests are in football and formula 1, but I tend to write about anything topical in the world of sport. I also write about fantasy football on a regular basis.

With the US Open just starting, here is a lowdown on the likely candidates to be lifting the men’s and women’s trophy in the Arthur Ashe stadium.

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Stan Wawrinka won’t be defending his title…and Anglelique Kerber may struggle to do so successfully

US Open 2017 Men’s draw

With 5 different winners in the past 5 years, the US Open is the one grand slam that has appeared to undermine the dominance of the men’s “big 4” (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray) in the past. Defending champion Stan Wawrinka is out through injury, as is 2015 winner Novak Djokovic.

Andy Murray is still a doubt, but if he manages to play he will be short of match fitness, and would do extremely well to reach the quarter or semi-finals- however, to completely write Andy Murray off under any circumstances would be extremely unwise.

Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic may be the main beneficiaries of these injury struggles; both always play well at the US Open-Cilic beat Nishikori in the final for his only grand slam title at the Arthur Ashe back in 2014, and he has been in good form of late, also reaching the final of Wimbledon.

However, the strongest two candidates, as so often has been the case, are none other than Federer and Nadal. Rafa will be desperate to continue his resurgence and to stave off the threat to his re-acquired status as world number 1, whilst Federer has been at his sublime best on all surfaces this season, except the clay season, which he intentionally missed.

In the case of a grand final between the two, Federer may well have the upper hand on form. The world rankings never quite tell the full story; had Federer opted to play at Roland Garros and reached the last 16, he would be the world number 1. Having won at Miami, Indian Wells, the Australian Open and Wimbledon, Federer has been dominant in all major events he has taken part in this year.

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Will Federer and Muguruza continue their form from Wimbledon?

US Open 2017 Women’s draw

With 6-time winner Serena Williams missing the tournament due to pregnancy, the women’s US Open appears more open than ever. Garbine Muguruza appears the favourite, having hit form during Wimbledon including a dominant display against Venus Williams in the final.

Karolina Pliskova is comfortably the world number 1 at present, yet she suffered a shock defeat in round 2 at Wimbledon. Recent form at the Cincinnati masters, losing to Muguruza in the semi-finals after some strong performances, suggest that Pliskova sometime lacks the consistency in her performances that’s needed over a grand slam tournament.

Angelique Kerber is the defending champion, but the German’s performances over this year have been poor, dropping her down from 1st to 3rd in the world rankings. Simona Halep and Johanna Konta have both been very consistent over the last season and are both desperate for their first slam title.

Venus Williams is as unpredictable as ever- not playing as many tournaments as most of her counterparts, she could easily spring an unexpected surprise and take the tournament by storm.

Finally, and perhaps the most intriguing storyline that could emerge from the women’s draw, is the return of Maria Sharapova. Her first time back at a grand slam following her drugs ban will provide an interesting reception from the crowd, but the bigger question is whether she will be able to return to form? Recent minor injuries may hamper Sharapova, however- if she overcomes these in the next week, who knows where she may end up.

Both draws appear incredibly open- Federer and Muguruza perhaps appear the slight favourites to continue on from their success at Wimbledon, but Nadal, Venus Williams and many others will push them all the way.


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Charlie Widdicombe

Blogger of many different sports. My main interests are in football and formula 1, but I tend to write about anything topical in the world of sport. I also write about fantasy football on a regular basis.