US Open 2018 cheat sheet

US Open 2018 cheat sheet

by Alan August 20, 2018

The US Open is rapidly approaching. For the first time since 2015, all 14 active US Open Champions will be contending for the title. If you’ve been too busy to keep track of the US Open Series leading up to the American Grand Slam, we wanted to give you a quick primer on what’s been happening on both the WTA and ATP Tours since Wimbledon so you’re in the loop when the event kicks off on August 27th.

What are the main story lines?

On the ATP Tour, Stefanos Tsitsipas (30-19) had a historic run in Toronto where he beat four top ten players in a row before losing to Rafa (40-3) in highly contested final on his 20th birthday. The Greek star has moved up in the rankings to 15th on the back of his performance in Canada. This time last year he was outside the top 150.

Rafa’s victory in Toronto was his 80th on the ATP Tour and his first on hard court since 2014. He skipped Cincinnati in favour of early preparation in the Big Apple. The number one in the world is looking supremely confident on the court and with a record of 40-3 this season is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with in New York.

Nole (28-10) has followed up his Wimbledon title with Round of 16 loss to Tsitsipas but has rebounded to make take the title in Cincinnati by beating Federer in straight sets. Significantly, this win marked the first time a male player has won all of the Masters Series titles in their career. Quite the milestone! Incidentally, if you haven’t already read his fulsome note about the mental hurdles he contended with during his break and initially erratic comeback, it’s worth a look.

Andy Murray (4-2) has had a dramatic summer to say the least! After playing until 3am in Washington, he withdrew from his next match in order to protect his body. He followed Washington up with a first round loss to Lucas Pouille (20-15) in Cinci so his endeavors to get match tough haven’t panned out as expected thus far. Still, you can see a steady trajectory of improvement for Andy since he returned back to the Tour at Queens Club in June.

Fed (29-5) was back on the court in Cincinnati seeking his 8th title at the event. Prior to getting broken by Novak in the finals, Roger hadn’t lost his serve at the event since the 2014 finals vs. David Ferrer. Electing not to compete in Washington or Canada this year, his plans to get enough preparation for the US Open by going deep in Cinci have come to fruition. Roger will be looking to bounce back from his quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon and capture his 21st Slam in NYC. Will he do it? His fans definitely #BEL21VE he can.

Moving on from contenders to players that will be seeded in NYC but have dipped in form of late, Grigor Dimitrov (21-14) and Dominic Thiem (38-14) will both be looking to salvage a summer of sub-par results. By only making the Round of 16 in Cinci (he won in 2017) Dimitrov’s ranking will take a hit and he could be scrambling to make it back to London and defend his ATP Tour Finals title. Dominic Thiem had a breakthrough in Roland Garros facing off against Rafa in the final but has had a rocky patch since then which might be partially attributed to injuries.

On the WTA Tour, Serena Williams (11-4) hasn’t managed to follow up her Wimbledon Final with similar success back in her home country. Only managing to win one game versus Johanna Konta (21-17) in San Jose resulted in the most lopsided defeat of her career and she pulled out of Montreal in the aftermath. She took out the 8th seed (Petra Kvitova (39-9)) before losing next round in Cincinnati. Consequently Serena will enter the US Open with a lack of match play (in general but especially on hard court) but having won the title six times in her career, she’s one to watch out for.

After claiming her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros earlier this year, Simona Halep (42-7) has captured another big title in Montreal by taking down US Open defending champion Sloane Stephens (26-12) in a three-set final. These two are arguably the ones to beat heading to Flushing Meadows. World #2 Caroline Wozniacki (32-11) has been plagued by injury and even though she’s had strong results in NYC in the past, she’s clearly not able to compete at 100% at the moment.  

Who are the dangerous floaters?

On the ATP Tour, Stan Wawrinka (8-12) will enter NYC with a ranking of 151 and needed a Wild Card for the event. Similarly, Andy Murray is currently ranked 375. Novak is ranked 10 which is perhaps lower than his current level of play. Denis Shapovalov (23-19) failed to to match his fairy tale 2017 summer season so will be on the threshold of being seeded with a ranking of 32. Always dangerous, he is the type of player seeds want to avoid as long as possible.

On the WTA Tour, Serena is currently ranked 27th which may or may not be an accurate portrayal of her level. With a current rank of 17 but an astounding seven Top 10 wins since Wimbledon, Kiki Bertens (27-16) certainly has momentum. She claimed the title at Cinci over Halep in a very competitive final.

Are you headed to NYC?

If you’re making your way to New York at the end of the month to watch America’s Slam be sure to take a quick read of our guide covering all aspects of the event. If getting to Queens requires air travel and you’re thinking of hitting the court yourself during the trip, be sure to have a look at the definitive guide to traveling with tennis rackets which we put together after extensive research.

Alan Kelly
Alan Kelly


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