Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and two other stars set to light up Flushing Meadows

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Garbine Muguruza is the favourite to win a third Grand Slam title but she will face stiff competition from World No1 Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep at Flushing Meadows.

Meanwhile, there are a number of players, who on their day, have the ability to make headlines of their own.

Ahead of the tournament, here’s a look at five stars who are set to flourish at the US Open.

Who do you think will win?

Let us know on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

GARBINE MUGURUZA

Age: 23
World ranking: 3
2017 Win/loss: 39-15
Titles won: 2
US Open best: 2nd round (2015, 2016)

Why she’ll win it: Has form – two defeats in her last 18 and titles at Cincinnati and Wimbledon – plus for the first time seems to be relishing and comfortable in the limelight as a leading lady.

Why she won’t: Has never been past the second round and could face Kvitova and Wozniacki before the semi-finals.

Garbine Muguruza.

Garbine Muguruza.

KAROLINA PLISKOVA

Age: 25
World ranking: 1
2017 Win/loss: 42-12
Titles won: 3
US Open best: Runner-up (2016)

Why she’ll win it: Came desperately close last year is now a better player. Her understated personality means she always flies under the radar so shouldn’t experience much pressure or attention until later rounds. Also in the easier half of the draw.

Why she won’t: Has struggled with her energy levels post-French Open and record against top-10 opposition isn’t great for a No1: won – 8, lost – 4.

Karolina Pliskova.

Karolina Pliskova.

SIMONA HALEP

Age: 25
World ranking: 2
2017 Win/loss: 39-12
Titles won: 1
US Open best: Semi-final (2015)

Why she’ll win it: Has reached at least the quarterfinals in four of her last five Slams. Semi-finals in Toronto and final in Cincinnati shows her form on this surface.

Why she won’t: Sharapova up first is a real banana skin. She’s gone deep in lots of tournaments but has won just one of four finals. Her heartbreaking loss in the French Open decider still haunts her to a degree.

Simona Halep.

Simona Halep.

JOHANNA KONTA

Age: 26
World ranking: 7
2017 Win/loss: 36-12
Titles won: 2
US Open best: 4th round (2015, 2016)

Why she’ll win it: Away from the focus and pressure cooker of being a British player at Wimbledon, she can go about her business becoming part of the elite. Has made the last 16 two

years running and both her titles in 2017 have come on hardcourts.

Why she won’t: Still lacks that genuine big match knowhow in a semi-final or final. Is a patchy 2-2 since her run to the last four at Wimbledon.

Johanna Konta.

Johanna Konta.

VENUS WILLIAMS

Age: 37
World ranking: 9
2017 Win/loss: 29-10
Titles won: 0
US Open best: Winner (2000, 2001)

Why she’ll win it: Made the finals in Australia and Wimbledon and the Williams sisters just deal in spectacular narratives – a win here will take her to world No1. If she makes it to the second week expect a partizan crowd to get right behind her.

Why she won’t: Hasn’t made it past the quarterfinals in NYC since 2010. Also has Wozniacki and Muguruza in her quarter of the draw.

Venus Williams.

Venus Williams.

Most popular

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and three other stars set to shine at the US Open

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will try to add another Grand Slam success in their age-defying seasons when the US Open begins Monday.

World number one Nadal, back on top after more than three years, captured his 10th French Open in June for his 15th Grand Slam title while third-ranked Federer took the Australian Open and Wimbledon crowns, raising his record slam total to 19.

Nadal, 31, and Federer, 36, have never faced each other on the New York hardcourts but could meet in the semi-finals.

Federer opens against US teen Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday, the same day Nadal meets Serbian Dusan Lajovic in his first-round match.

And ahead of the tournament, here’s a look at five stars who are set to flourish at Flushing Meadows.

ROGER FEDERER

Age: 36
World ranking: 3
2017 Win/loss: 35-3
Titles won: 5
US Open best: Winner (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)

Why he’ll win it: Has been in sublime form, is well rested and his win percentage (87.64) at Flushing Meadows is second only to Wimbledon.

New York loves Roger and the feeling is mutual.

Why he won’t: Could face Kyrgios and Thiem before Nadal in the semis. You’d back him in two of those three but they could sap his energy.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer.

RAFA NADAL

Age: 31
World ranking: 1
2017 Win/loss: 49-9
Titles won: 4;
US Open best: Winner (2010, 2013)

Why he’ll win it: The best player on Tour at present and has the bit between his teeth in wanting to prove everyone wrong. Has a pretty manageable draw.

Why he won’t: Federer in the last four is an obvious roadblock plus seven of his nine losses this year have been on hardcourts.

Rafa Nadal

Rafa Nadal.

ALEXANDER ZVEREV

Age: 20
World ranking: 6
2017 Win/loss: 46-14
Titles won: 5
US Open best: 2nd round (2016)

Why he’ll win it: Has everyone very excited – no one has more titles than him this year and he’s lost just two of his last 20 matches. He has is also the highest seed in the bottom half of the draw after Murray’s withdrawal.

Why he won’t: Has never been past the last eight of Grand Slam and his consistency over two weeks is yet to be examined.

Alexander Zverev.

Alexander Zverev.

GRIGOR DIMITROV

Age: 26
World ranking: 9
2017 Win/loss: 34-14
Titles won: 3
US Open best: 4th round (2014, 2016)

Why he’ll win it: Victory in Cincinnati – without dropping a set – is a huge confidence boost and the often erratic but deeply talented Bulgarian is looking a more mature and credible prospect to make a deep run in a Grand Slam.

Why he won’t: Has never looked particularly strong in New York and has Nadal and Federer on his side of the draw.

Grigor Dimitrov.

Grigor Dimitrov. 

NICK KYRGIOS

Age: 22
World ranking: 18
2017 Win/loss: 26-12
Titles won: 0
US Open best: 3rd round (2014, 2016)

Why he’ll win it: Has the talent, isn’t fazed by taking on the big guns and, unlike Wimbledon, looks healthy. The success of Zverez appears to have woken him up to his own potential.

Why he won’t: Has Federer and Nadal waiting on his side of the side and is he capable of playing that many good matches over two weeks?

Nick Kyrgios.

Nick Kyrgios.

Most popular

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer scheduled US Open semi-final meeting is not foregone conclusion despite vintage seasons

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Federer has won each of their three meetings in 2017.

It’s the anomaly of all anomalies.

Quite how the Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer rivalry, arguably the most significant in the history of tennis, has never come to blows in the Big Apple is extraordinary. Particularly, as they have seven titles between them at the event.

And while we should be grateful both veterans are scheduled to meet in the semi-finals of this year’s US Open, Friday’s draw was tinged with disappointment that the pair were pitted together in the top half of proceedings.

There was a chance that the world No.1 Spaniard and Swiss No.3 seed could be set for a final on Arthur Ashe, but unfortunately there will be no fairytale there.

Indeed, what a finale it could have been, to have two icons of the game – the winners of each of the three Grand Slam titles so far in 2017 – battle it out for the fourth under lights in Manhattan.

A chance for Nadal to avenge his Australian Open loss and truly cement top spot in the rankings, an opportunity for Federer to win No.20, return to the summit himself and win three slams in a season for the first time since his vintage ’04, ’06, ’07 years.

Wherever and whenever Nadal and Federer face-off now, the match-ups are weighted with history and context. A potential 38th overall meeting and 13th in majors is very much a reality in New York.

For so long it had been an unbalanced, uncomfortably favourable head-to-head for Nadal, but Federer has won their last four meetings – including the Australian Open final in January – to make the Spaniard’s 23-14 winning record look less domineering on paper at least.

Given how both stars have rolled back the years in 2017 in what has mimicked a Back to the Future plotline, we should all then be getting the popcorn in preparation for their semi-final duel.

But then again, given they’ve never met in the city that never sleeps, maybe we shouldn’t assume.

There’s been a number of near misses, where they were nailed on to meet previously.

Take 2008, for instance. Federer stormed to a record-equalling fifth straight title – defeating Andy Murray in the Brit’s first Grand Slam final. The Scot dumped Nadal out in the semi-finals, denying a Fed-Nadal showdown. The pair were one and two seeds at the time.

In 2009, too, it was a similar story. The two modern-day greats were due to meet in the final but Nadal was blown off the court as Juan Martin Del Potro played lights out tennis to win their semi-final 6-2 6-2 6-2. Whereas Federer, who was ranked on top spot at the time, defeated Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals only to lose to the Argentine in a final epic.

In 2010 and 2011, Djokovic downed Federer in five sets in the semi-finals in both tournaments – with the Serbian also saving two match points on both occasions. If Federer had won those matches, he would have gone on to face Nadal in the final each time. Two years later, in 2013, they were due to meet in the last eight but Federer lost to Tommy Robredo as Nadal went onto sweep the title for a second time.

While we can look back at what might have been and look ahead to what could be, the bottom line is the tennis fraternity, and indeed the sporting world, should be forever grateful for how these two icons are still writing history at the very top of the sport.

This time last year, Federer was absent from the event due to injury while Nadal looked a shadow of the force of old. How the tables have turned.

This year, Nadal’s draw is full of difficult permutations and the Majorcan has failed to go beyond the fourth round at Flushing Meadows since his win four years ago.

You’d expect him to cruise through his opening few matches with tougher tests possibly coming against Richard Gasquet in the third round, Tomas Berdych in the fourth and in-form Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals. That won’t come as much of a concern for Nadal, however, who boasts more than a comprehensive head-to-head record against all of those opponents.

While Nadal’s quarter-final exit to Nick Kyrgios in Cincinnati was perhaps a blessing in disguise, given he could afford himself more recovery time ahead of New York – he could meet the Australian in the semi-finals should Federer not stop the 22-year-old along the way in the fourth round.

Federer has long been the master of his own schedule and skipping the hard court event in Ohio was the best option to cure a lingering back issue and get the proper rest his 36-year-old body needs.

While we all know about the Swiss’ 2017 achievements, it would be extra icing on top of an already weighty-looking cake if he could seal a 20th slam – his first since 2008 in New York.

While the 19-time slam winner could face Kyrgios as mentioned in the last 16, a quarter-final match-up against old foe Del Potro or Dominic Thiem is equally tough.

Ahead of the event, though, the Fed looks as relaxed as ever having made history at Wimbledon in July – headlining what has been a remarkable campaign given his six-month injury lay-off in 2016.

For both Nadal and Federer – on paper – it looks certain they’ll meet. But this tournament has had other ideas in the past.

Most popular