Electrifying support will be behind talented teenager as she bids to clinch the US Open in her best-ever form TENNIS ACE Coco Gauff, the teenager who has recently hit a red-hot streak, will be seeking to maintain her momentum for a shot at winning her home grand slam. The American 19-year-old, who soared into last year’s US Open quarter-finals, has her eye on the top prize at New York’s Flushing Meadows (August 28-September 10) to finally win a grand slam crown. Although Gauff could be on a collision course for a last eight showdown against reigning champion Iga Swiatek, she will be unfazed having finally beaten the Polish world no.1 en route to capturing her biggest ever tournament title this month.
Gauff may have whimpered out of Wimbledon to Moscow-born US compatriot Sofia Kenin, but has since bounced back under the watchful coaching team of Spaniard Pere Riba and US former ATP Tour star Brad Gilbert. Since Gilbert joined on a consultancy basis, she has bagged a pair of tournaments in a three-week span for an impressive 11-1 win-loss record on fast surfaces in the US. Yet the no.6 seed could shine like the superstar she is destined to be at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, especially as the American spectators are so excitable about being patriotic towards their players. Gauff will begin against a qualifier and could face up-and-coming Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva in the 2nd round. The 16-year-old pushed Gauff to three sets at the French Open.
Four-time grand slam winner Swiatek, who holds a 7-1 head-to-head record against Gauff, is a projected mouthwatering quarter-final clash. Although the most intriguing 1st round match pits 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens, who will be favoured by the home supporters, against the no.19 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia. Haddad Maia, whose best run at Flushing Meadows was last year’s 2nd round appearance, became the first Brazilian to ever reach WTA Tour’s top ten after racing into June’s French Open semi-finals.AmericLeylah Fernandez, the surprise 2021 US Open finalist, has been handed a tough draw. The Canadian ace opens against Russian no.22 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, with the winner progressing to a showdown against either compatriot Bianca Andreescu (2019 US Open winner) or Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.
Hard-hitting Alycia Parks has also been dished a difficult 1st round match, with the big-serving American drawn against Russia’s no.13 seed Daria Kasatkina. She broke into the world’s top 50 earlier this year after beating France’s Caroline Garcia in the Lyon final. Parks equalled the WTA record for the fastest serve with Venus Williams at the 2021 US Open with a thundering 129 mph. American doubles expert Taylor Townsend, who soared into the 4th round at the 2019 US Open, faces French-Russian Varvara Gracheva in their opener and should be well supported from the stands. The biggest cheers are likely to be reserved for Venus Williams, the two-time US Open singles champion, who is set to make a remarkable 24th appearance in the main draw at Flushing Meadows courtesy of a wildcard.
The 43-year-old, who missed virtually six months on the pro circuit because of a knee injury, could well retire after the US Open. The American icon faces Spaniard former world no.2 Paula Badosa, who has also struggled with injury this season. Ex-world no.1 Williams, who lifted the US Open crown in 2000 and 2001, made her return to the WTA Tour during the grass court season with little impact. Yet she recently claimed her biggest victory, her first success over a top 20 player for four years, by dismissing Russian Veronika Kudermetova in straight sets on a hard court. an Madison Keys, who finished runner-up to Stephens at the 2017 US Open, has recently hit a purple streak. The no.17 seed faces Dutch veteran Arantxa Rus in the opening round.