US OPEN PREVIEW: To defend her third round points from her US Open debut, teenage Japanese player Naomi Osaka will have to defeat the reigning US Open champion, Angelique Kerber.
Kerber has not won a title since she won the US Open last year. Injury has played a role; however, Kerber seems to have lost some of the fight that propelled her to a season with two major titles. Where has the fight gone? In a season where the biggest threat to titles has taken a break from playing, the favored players that should use this opportunity to cement their dominance in the sport are unable to do so.
The French Open was won by a young Latvian, Jelena Ostapenko. The Wimbledon title was won by Garbine Muguruza. Will a veteran player step up to claim the last major title of the season? Or will we have another newcomer leading the charge?
Muguruza can seize the reigns if she can claim the title and for the first time in a long time, she seems ready to accept the mantle of a top ranked player. Kerber can regain her status if she can manage to defend the title; yet, it seems less likely given the paucity of success she has had in the past year.
This is a perfect opportunity for Simona Halep and or Karolina Pliskova to step up and declare they are ready to be in the spotlight. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely as the pressure of expectation continues to shake their confidence and ruin their games. It reminds us of how great dominant players like Steffi Graf and Serena Williams have been. They have managed to withstand the pressure of expectation, while vanquishing their opponents on a regular basis to claim the top prizes.
We are desperate for an American to step up and claim the title in Serena’s absence. Will Venus continue her impressive run at majors and get to her third final this season? Can Coco Vandeweghe break through on home soil? Will Madison Keys’ wrist allow her to play up to her potential and will it be enough for her to claim her first major title? Sloane Stephens is back and has been impressive in her last two tournaments. She has been to the semifinals of a major before. Can she make a run at this major?
We will start to get answers beginning on Monday; regardless of the outcome, it will be an exciting US Open.
SOURCE OF IMAGE: serveandrally