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US Open - Tennis: Women's draw preview

The final Grand Slam of the season in New York City is likely to show a changing of the guard.

Serena Williams, the best player the women's game has even seen, is scheduled to leave the locker room for the last time at Flushing Meadows, Britain's Emma Raducanu defends her maiden major title, and after a stunning first half of the season world number one, French Open champion and US Open top seed Iga Swiatek is bidding to arrest a form slump.

Swiatek is the 4/1 market leader and Simona Halep is the 15/2 second favourite - both are chasing a third Slam singles crown - but it’s fascinating to see Caroline Garcia co-third favourite along with Cori Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka at 18/1.

Garcia has always had the talent to rumble the best, but the self-belief has not always matched her ability. Following a superb performance in Cincinnati recently, the Frenchwoman is gunning for a first Slam singles triumph.

Raducanu is 22/1 to back up her Big Apple triumph last year in the best possible style, while Williams is 40/1 to draw level with Margaret Court's record of 24 major singles titles in what is expected to be her final Slam outing.

What:US Open
Where:

USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, New York

When:

Monday 29th August-Sunday 11th September 2022

How to watch:

Amazon Prime and bet365's Sports Live Streaming

Odds:

Iga Swiatek 3/1, Simona Halep 7/1, Elena Rybakina 11/1, Naomi Osaka 12/1, Aryna Sabalenka 14/1

Anisimova could pose problems for Swiatek

Iga Swiatek is clearly the one to beat in the field and the first quarter of the draw, but with wins proving tougher to come by now than they were earlier in the season the Pole can be taken on at 4/1.

After an opener against Jasmine Paolini, Swiatek may have to step things up immediately because 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens may lie in wait in round two.

Should she defeat Stephens, a possible date with Ekaterina Alexandrova looks winnable but Amanda Anisimova, should the American win her first three outings, could prove a seriously tough opponent in the last 16.

Anisimova  has been threatening to win a Slam for some time now and there are few better hardcourt operators than the American when she’s performing at her peak.

With Garbine Muguruza having struggled for form in recent months, Jessica Pegula and Cincinnati runner-up Petra Kvitova could fight out the second eighth. But while Pegula has been going close in Slams for some time now, she may still need to find extra to deny Swiatek or Anisimova.

Qinwen Zheng is another to consider in the first quarter, but the talented Chinese teenager opens with a tough-looking clash against Jelena Ostapenko.

Related US Open Preview

US Open - Tennis: Raducanu finding form at the right time

US Open - Tennis: Five to follow in the men's draw

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Tennis: Three women to look for on hard courts

Competitive second quarter may fall to Bencic

The second quarter of the draw, featuring defending champion Emma Raducanu and two-time US Open heroine Naomi Osaka, is an absolute minefield.

Raducanu, who has reportedly been struggling with her game in practice at Flushing, has it tough from the outset with a clash against in-form Alize Cornet. Don't rule out an upset in that one.

Osaka could figure but the Japanese ace has been a long way below her best in recent months and she may not yet be mentally ready to add to her tally of four Grand Slam singles victories.

Aryna Sabalenka is 18/1 to win a first major, but her game has been littered with errors in recent weeks and ironing out such issues is unlikely to be easy.

Karolina Pliskova could go well - the experienced Czech enjoys this Slam - but time is running out for the 22nd seed to ditch her maiden tag in major singles competition.

With doubts over Osaka’s commitment to the cause, 25/1 Belinda Bencic could surprise 33/1 shot Paula Badosa and come through the second quarter.

Bencic opens with winnable outings against Andrea Petkovic, Sorana Cirstea or Laura Siegemund and then possibly Pliskova before a possible last-16 clash with Badosa, but on her day the Swiss ace is good enough to beat all section rivals bar perhaps Osaka.

Garcia can come through talent-packed section

Simona Halep looms large at the top of the third quarter, but the Romanian could have her work cut out denying opponents like Cori Gauff and in-form Caroline Garcia.

Gauff, 18, has still to make her breakthrough at Grand Slam singles level, but that's surely only a matter of time. The teenager may find fellow American Madison Keys a tough proposition in round three. And the winner of that clash could then have to stop Halep, who is usually a big player in any major these days.

Maria Sakkari is seeded third in New York City, but the Greek 28/1 shot could have a tough time trying to see off Beatriz Haddad Maia and 16/1 Garcia.

Haddad Maia could prove a serious runner in her own right in the final Slam of the tennis year but the Brazilian opens with a tricky clash against Ana Konjuh, who is returning from her latest injury lay-off, before a possible round-two date with 2019 US Open queen Bianca Andreescu.

Garcia looks an even bigger danger providing she carries over the winning mentality after her stunning Cincy title triumph.

And that's not the first time Garcia has shown she can beat the best - she won back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing on hardcourt in 2017 - so now the Frenchwoman may possess the necessary confidence to take her close to a first Slam singles victory.

Serena handed great draw for scheduled finale

Second seed Anett Kontaveit 50/1 and fifth seed Ons Jabeur 22/1 headline the fourth quarter of the draw, but the big story in that section is what is set to be the final performance of 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams.

The American, who turns 41 in October, seems to have accepted the fact that she is unlikely to match Margaret Court's major singles tally of 24 and has indicated she'll call it a day after NYC.

But Williams has been handed a great draw for this probable finale. Kontaveit, who she may meet in round two, hasn’t been at the races in recent months.

Last year's runner-up Leylah Fernandez or Barbora Krejcikova, who Williams could run into in the last 16, look beatable.

Of her possible quarter-final opponents, Daria Kasatkina has been busy winning run-of-the-mill titles, Shelby Rogers is playing well but may lack the self-belief to go all the way in a Slam while Jabeur is no world-beater, so there is a big chance for Williams to post a notable swansong.

Karolina Muchova could be a threat to Williams in round three, but the Czech has herself been struggling with injury and she is an outsider for her opener against Ajla Tomljanovic.

Williams has played okay without much success in recent outings, but the veteran is expected to rise to the occasion in a big way on what may be her final competitive trip to her home major.

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