The 2018 edition of the US Open is probably the last chance for Serena Williams to win this trophy. If it happens, it would be for the seventh time when Serena manages to win the American Grand Slam.
Serena Williams debuted at the US Open 20 years ago in 1998 at the age of 16. A year later, she managed to win the trophy at just 17 years old. It was the first Grand Slam trophy in her impressive career: 23 Grand Slam single titles and 14 in doubles. Now, after twenty years, Serena is at a crossroads. Will the American win the 24th Grand Slam title? Serena is seeded # 17, but she is considered the favourite by the bookies (6.00 to win). Well, let’s look at the opponents first:
Simona Halep – seed # 1, favourite 2 (7.00 to win)
Halep was undoubtedly the authoritative leader of the WTA circuit in 2018. The Romanian played the final in Melbourne, won Roland Garros but then she lost at Wimbledon (third round), an accident that should not have happened. However, Halep returned to Rogers Cup, where she won the title. She then played in Cincinnati, but lost to Kiki Bertens. Serena and Halep are on the same top half of the US Open draw, so Halep may be the first “problem” of Serena, somewhere in round three. For Halep, the first match will not be easy either, playing against Kaia Kanepi, quarterfinalist last year.
Caroline Wozniacki – seed # 2, favourite 9 (18.00 to win)
For Wozniacki, the year has begun in a sensational manner: winning Melbourne against Halep and the first Grand Slam title. What followed was not so good, Caroline winning just one more Premier tournament, Eastbourne. It is very hard to say in what form will Wozniacki start the last Grand Slam of the year. Last year, Caroline came out in the second round, so the Danish does not have many points to defend.
Sloane Stephens – seed # 3, favourite 4 (8.00 to win)
Sloane returns to New York to defend the title won a year ago. The American is in good shape and managed to climb to the third place in the WTA rankings. Sloane won this year at Miami, also on hardcourts, then played the finals at Roland Garros and Rogers Cup, both lost to Simona Halep. There will be a lot of pressure on Stephens and a re-editing of last year’s final seems quite improbable.
Angelique Kerber – seed # 4, favourite 3 (7.50 to win)
The German player has shown a good form so far, managing to win a Premier tournament, but also the third Grand Slam title in her career, at Wimbledon. In the final in London, Kerber defeated Serena Williams without any problems. At the “US Open Series”, Kerber had a modest evolution, not having any remarkable performance. However, the German has managed to win the title at the US Open in 2016, which somehow explains her position among the top four title favourites. It is very difficult to predict how Kerber will play in the 2018 edition. If Kerber is in shape, she becomes a serious title contender.
From the players listed above, only two may pose serious problems to Serena: Halep and Stephens. Let’s not forget, however, that Serena recently lost to Johanna Konta, a totally out-of-form player. Serena is no longer the sure and accurate player we saw two-three years ago. Another very good player on top half of the draw is Elina Svitolina. But, so far, people are more concerned about the “cat-suit” that Serena plans to wear at the US Open. In conclusion, it will be hard for Serena Williams. Most likely, the American will not be able to triumph again at the US Open.