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Serena headlines strong women's field at 2015 US Open

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Serena Williams of the United States celebrates with the trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark to win their women's singles final match on Day fourteen of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 7, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Williams defeated Wozniacki in two sets by a score of 6-3, 6-3. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
July 22, 2015 11:28 AM

By Ashley Marshall, USOpen.org

Chasing history at the US Open in less than six weeks’ time, world No. 1 Serena Williams headlines a strong player field that includes nine Grand Slam champions and five former US Open champions.

Williams will be looking to become the first player since 1988 to win all four majors in the same calendar year since Steffi Graf achieved the feat more than two decades ago. She enters the tournament as the overwhelming favorite after victories on the hard courts of Melbourne in January, the red clay of Paris in May and the grass of Wimbledon earlier this month.

Williams, who completed her second ‘Serena Slam’ in London – holding all four major titles at the same time – already has 21 Grand Slam titles to her name, and a seventh win in Flushing Meadows would move her into a tie with Graf for the most in the Open era and second place all-time behind Margaret Court's 24. Championship No. 7 would also break a tie Williams currently holds with Chris Evert for the most US Open singles titles, man or woman, in the Open era.

But even though Williams has won her past 21 matches at the US Open – and 27 of her past 28 since missing the tournament in 2010 – there’s no shortage of contenders looking to stop her writing her name in the record books once more.

Head-to-head records aside – Williams has won their past 17 meetings – Maria Sharapova will likely enter as the No. 2 seed after a run to the semifinals of Wimbledon, where she was seeded fourth. The 28-year-old baseliner has a career Grand Slam to her name, and though she has been past the third round just three times since winning the title in 2006, the Russian could be the 28th and final piece in Williams’ calendar Grand Slam Puzzle on Sept. 12 if they are indeed in opposite halves of the draw.

Only Serena’s sister Venus has more Grand Slam championships than Sharapova among active players (Venus has seven, including two at the US Open), and Victoria Azarenka, Svetlana Kuznetsova (the 2004 US Open champion) and Petra Kvitova are all multiple-time winners at majors. Not to be overlooked, Ana Ivanovic and Francesca Schiavone have each won a Grand Slam, and Samantha Stosur, the last player to beat Serena at Flushing Meadows, won here in 2011.

With the exception of Schiavone, a former world No. 7 who has fallen to No. 85 after a right shoulder injury, all the other players who have celebrated a Grand Slam title are likely to be seeded in Flushing Meadows.

Elsewhere, a pair of US Open finalists – Caroline Wozniacki, who spent 67 weeks as world No. 1, and Jelena Jankovic, who occupied the top spot in the rankings in 2008 – could also be dangerous contenders in the second week. In total, nine of the world’s current top 10 women have played in a Grand Slam final (all but No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro).

Every player ranked No. 101 of higher in the current WTA rankings received direct entry into the main draw, although No. 29 Peng Shuai has withdrawn due to a back injury. Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens, ranked No. 101, is the last player accepted directly into the women’s field of 128.

In total, 33 different countries are currently represented in the women’s field. There are currently 12 U.S. women in the main draw, the most of any country. Eleven received direct entry and Vania King is using a protected ranking of No. 73 to gain entry. 

In addition to Serena Williams and Venus Williams, the other American women who received direct entry into this year’s tournament are No. 18 Madison Keys, No. 32 CoCo Vandeweghe, No. 34 Sloane Stephens, No. 39 Madison Brengle, No. 45 Varvara Lepchenko, No. 54 Alison Riske, No. 59 Christina McHale, No.  76 Irina Falconi and No. 83 Lauren Davis.

In addition to King, the other players using a protected ranking to gain entry into the main draw are No. 56 Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic, No. 58 Laura Robson of Great Britain and No. 87 Alisa Kleybanova of Russia.

An additional 16 women will enter the draw via the qualifying tournament held the week before the US Open gets underway, and the final eight spots are filled through wild-card entries, including one to the US Open Wild Card Challenge winner. Seeds will be determined and announced closer to the start of the event.

The 2015 US Open will be played Monday, Aug. 31, through Sunday, Sept. 13, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Click here to purchase US Open tickets and for more ticket information.

The US Open women’s singles championship is presented by J.P. Morgan.

 

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