The US Open starts today (Monday) and while picking title favourites may be a fairly routine task, spotting the draw sleepers is slightly more challenging. Here are a few names who can cause some upsets this fortnight in New York.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
ATP ranking: 10
Best US Open result: Quarter-finalist (2011)
The Frenchman is back in the top-10 and had a sensational week in Toronto where he beat Djokovic, Murray and Federer en route to the title. He’ll have to do the same if he wants to break through in the US Open as he faces a daunting draw. The Open is the slam he has contested the fewest times, having only made five appearances so far.
Marin Cilic (CRO)
ATP ranking: 16
Best US Open result: Quarter-finalist (2009, 2012)
Cilic has won two titles this season and has racked up 40 match wins in 2014. He has been closing in on the top guys and has had some tight matches against the big guns recently, including a close five-set defeat to Djokovic at Wimbledon. Has a manageable draw in the first week with a real shot at coming through his quarter which includes Berdych and Ferrer.
Gael Monfils (FRA)
ATP ranking: 24
Best US Open result: Quarter-finalist (2010)
The Frenchman came close to beating both Federer and Djokovic in recent weeks but can just as easily turn off the magic and lose to an unknown player. Could face Grigor Dimitrov in the last 16 and Federer in the quarters. He’s a true entertainer and the
atmosphere in New York usually brings out the best in him.
Sloane Stephens (USA)
WTA ranking: 22
Best US Open result: Fourth round (2013)
Stephens’ season has not been the greatest but since she split with Paul Annacone and teamed up with Thomas Hogstedt, she’s been showing signs of revival. Despite her two losses to Jelena Jankovic in Canada and Cincy, she still showed lots of fight and she has a chance to avenge those losses should they both make the third round.
Venus Williams (USA)
WTA ranking: 20
Best US Open result: Winner (2000, 2001)
It’s hard imagining Venus lifting the trophy but she can still have a good run. She was stellar in Montreal, where she beat her sister Serena en route to the final, and landed in the same section of the draw as Halep and Sara Errani, two players she has a good record against. She could end up being the person standing across Sharapova in the quarter-finals.
Madison Keys (USA)
WTA ranking: 28
Best US Open result: Second round (2011)
Of all the young Americans, Madison Keys is the most exciting prospect. She’s capable of pulling off upsets (beat Li Na and Kerber before) and has recently stretched Sharapova to three sets in Cincinnati. She’s in the same section as Kvitova and Azarenka, two vulnerable seeds (Kvitova has a relatively poor record at the Open, Azarenka’s out of form).