The women’s US Open draw points to nothing other than a Serena Williams – Victoria Azarenka showdown at Flushing Meadows.
The Belarussian defeated the world number one in Cincinnati last week to claim the title and it was these two who met in last year’s US showpiece
In fact the pair have been involved in seven of the previous nine Grand Slam finals, in a rivalry that is fast becoming the predominant force in women’s tennis.
Azarenka is a 3/1 shot for glory in New York and her half of the draw should see her make it to the final should she hit top form here.
She will open against German Dinah Pfizenmaier, who has never been past qualifying at the US and should be brushed aside with ease.
Deeper into the competition the world number two could potentially be presented with a tie against seventh-seed Petra Kvitova or the dangerous Australian Samantha Stosur in the last-eight.
A semi-final appearance is likely to see the reigning Australian Open champion face Sara Errani or Caroline Wozniacki.
Azarenka has lost to the former just once in seven meetings and that came over five years ago, while the Dane has a much better record against the 24-year-old, with five victories from nine. However, Wozniacki’s only success in their preceding three came via a retirement and she was dispatched in two sets in Cincinnati.
Defending champion Williams opens against Francesca Schiavone, who she has never conceded a set to on a hard court.
The first test for the American could come in the fourth round where the US number two Sloane Stephens could lie in wait.
The youngster caused a shock when defeating the world’s best player at this year’s Aussie Open but the 31-year-old was struggling with a back injury and will have too much for Stephens should they meet here.
Serena, who is 4/5 for glory, is set to face Angelique Kerber in the quarters. The German has struggled on a hard court this year and should pose no problems.
Her semi-final opponent should come in the shape of Agnieszka Radwanska, who despite her undoubted talent and finesse is constantly overpowered by Williams, and has claimed just a single set in their six previous clashes.
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