5 players to watch in women's, men's draw at U.S. Open

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic may not be in Flushing Meadows, but there are plenty of big names that will. Here’s a breakdown of the players that can win this year’s U.S. Open:

WOMEN

1. Maria Sharapova

Russian intrigue spread to President Trump’s home borough with Sharapova’s acceptance of a wild-card invitation. Her opener will come against second-seeded Simona Halep. Sharapava is currently ranked 147th after returning from a 15-month doping suspension in April.



2. Karolina Pliskova

A runner-up in Flushing last year, Pliskova returns as the top seed. She fell to an opponent ranked outside the top 100 at Wimbledon, and will need to build up support that she lost in light of that disappointing showing.


3. Venus Williams

Sister Serena is out, but the elder Williams is marking two decades since making her U.S. Open debut. Able to reach the Round of 16 a year ago, she will have to summon a strong serve to combat her younger competition.



4. Angelique Kerber

The defending champion looked at home down by the U.S. Open Experience set up by the South Street Seaport Friday morning, but the festivities will end when she goes up against Naomi Osaka of Japan in Round 1.



5. Carolina Wozniacki

Six times this year she has reached a final, and six times she has fallen with a title on the line. The former NYC Marathon finisher is looking to close out a full tournament.



MEN

1. Rafael Nadal

All hail the Spaniard. Now 31, he is back on top of the world rankings. A master of spin on clay, Nadal knows he will have to negotiate the Flushing hard courts for a third Open title. Roger Federer looms if both men reach the semis. Nadal trails Federer by four Grand Slams in his career.



2. Juan Martin Del Potro

Once an emergent talent who leveled Federer in a the Open final, the Argentine has been plagued by injuries for years. Fans will pull for a favorite to re-kindle his old success.




3. Marin Cilic

Already a winner once by Willets Points, the Croatian will seek to recreate his run to the Wimbledon final in July. He is recently engaged to be married and notes that he got the ring size right. He wants nothing more than to add another celebration prior to the wedding planning.



4. Gael Monfils

The bon vivant appeared to break through last summer with a semifinal appearance at the Open, but failed to back it up in the year since. His stay may be short, but there are sure to be fireworks along the way.





5. Alexander Zverev

Not yet 21, the burgeoning German star rides into town with headband on and hopes high as the No. 4 seed. In the tour of the Big Four, Zverev is a 6-foot-5 fresh face seeking to prove his staying power with an end-of-summer surge.


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