As the US Open commences on Monday, here are five prominent contenders vying for the women’s title:
IA SWIATEK (Poland)
World Ranking: 1
Iga Swiatek enters the tournament as the favorite to secure her second consecutive title in New York. Despite her dominance in 2022, the 22-year-old Polish player’s grip on the top ranking has wavered this year. While she has clinched four titles, including the French Open, Swiatek faced semifinal defeats in US Open warm-up tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati. A title defense at Flushing Meadows is crucial to maintaining her top-ranking position, with Aryna Sabalenka closing in.
ARYNA SABALENKA (Belarus)
World Ranking: 2
Aryna Sabalenka, ranked second globally, eyes a third consecutive major title to potentially dethrone Swiatek as world number one. The Belarusian, an Australian Open victor this year, has narrowed the gap to Swiatek, showcasing her prowess with a 17-2 record at Grand Slam events in 2023. Having reached the semifinals at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon, Sabalenka’s powerful serve and improved consistency make her a formidable contender on her preferred hardcourt surface.
ELENA RYBAKINA (Kazakhstan)
World Ranking: 4
Elena Rybakina’s fitness remains a question mark, yet her proficiency on hard courts is undeniable. She holds victories over Swiatek and Sabalenka on this surface during the current season. Rybakina triumphed at Indian Wells, defeating both competitors, and reached the Australian Open final. Though setbacks occurred, such as withdrawing from the French Open due to illness, her performance in Montreal’s semifinals and prior victories make her a contender to watch.
COCO GAUFF (US)
World Ranking: 6
American talent Coco Gauff has thrived on home ground and seeks her breakthrough Grand Slam victory. The teenager’s triumph over Swiatek marked a significant accomplishment, followed by wins against Karolina Muchova and a title in Cincinnati. Gauff’s exceptional hardcourt record (11-1) since Wimbledon includes her victory over Swiatek and only one loss to Jessica Pegula in Montreal.
JESSICA PEGULA (US)
World Ranking: 3
Jessica Pegula, ranked third worldwide, is a force on hard courts, winning eight of her ten matches during the North American swing. She clinched the Montreal title, defeating both Swiatek and Gauff. Pegula reclaimed her career-high ranking with a WTA 1000 tournament win. Despite a minor setback in Cincinnati, she remains the highest-ranked American player at Flushing Meadows, where she reached the quarterfinals last year.