WTA rank: 1; U.S. Open seed: 1
Has been as consistently good as any player this season, earning her No. 1 world ranking with three tournament victories. One of those was over Sloane Stephens in the final of the French Open for her first Grand Slam title. She also beat Stephens in the Montreal final on hard court. Only 26 and entering the prime of her career. Halep has made it to the Open semifinals once, in 2015. She seems destined for a title.
WTA rank: 4; U.S. Open seed: 4
A victory over Serena Williams for the Wimbledon title this July would seem to suggest that Kerber is among the favorites here, in the season’s final Grand Slam. But Kerber, the 2016 Open winner, doesn’t have much of a record this summer other than that stunning, decisive victory. She’s a bit hit and miss, but if she’s hitting, she’s a contender.
WTA rank: 5; U.S. Open seed: 5
The two-time Wimbledon champion is finally regaining her form nearly two years after a knife attack at her home. And it’s proving to be quite good form, with five tournament victories this season, the biggest coming over Kiki Bertens in the Madrid final. She has a lot of weapons, but over the two-week run of a Grand Slam, does she have the stamina?
WTA rank: 26; U.S. Open seed: 17
You just can’t leave Williams out of the conversation at the U.S. Open. Coming back from maternity leave this year, she had mostly mediocre results, but a run to the final at Wimbledon was pretty impressive. The six-time Open champion has won only one match this summer and doesn’t have momentum coming in. That said, her No. 17-seeding is likely to allow her an extra round to build momentum, and if she does, watch out.
WTA rank: 2; U.S. Open seed: 2
A crowd favorite here, the two-time Open finalist limps into the tournament with shoulder and knee problems and she was forced to retire after one set at Cincinnati two weeks ago. If she’s healed, she always seems to have a chance here (she made the final twice), and she finally won the first Grand Slam of her career at the Australian Open in January.
WTA rank: 13; U.S. Open seed: 13
Talk about a player who’s jumped up and announced herself. Bertens is the recent winner at Cincinnati in the final over Simona Halep. The 23-year-old Dutch player, usually considered a clay court specialist, fought off a match point to beat Halep on the hard courts. She won on clay at Charleston this year, and lost to Petra Kvitova in the clay court final in Madrid. Maybe she’s ready to sneak up on the competition now.