2019 U.S. Open: Six Players to Watch


Bianca Andreescu

Two weeks ago, Andreescu, 19, became the first Canadian woman in the Open era to win the Rogers Cup in Toronto. It was her first tournament since withdrawing from the French Open with a shoulder injury. Andreescu won four consecutive three-set matches on her way to the title in Toronto, where she won when Serena Williams retired during the final because of back spasms. In March, Andreescu surprised the tennis world by winning at Indian Wells, Calif., defeating Angelique Kerber to claim her first tour title. Andreescu, No. 15 in the world, has credited her speedy rise in the rankings to the meditation and visualization techniques her mother taught her when she was 12. With her unflappable demeanor, Andreescu is rock solid from the baseline, with superb movement and disciplined shot selection. She uses the drop shot shrewdly, often wrong-footing opponents by going behind them.

Maria Sakkari

Sakkari, a 24-year-old from Greece, has grown into a more consistent performer this year by improving her second serve and tempering her powerful groundstrokes with more topspin and margin. In her first years on tour, Sakkari played with unbridled power, hitting the ball flat and hard and close to the lines. Under the tutelage of Mark Petchey, who coached Andy Murray when he first came on tour, Sakkari has learned to stop beating herself. Her unforced errors, once her chief liability, have decreased as she has learned to play high percentage tennis, using her strength to hit a heavy ball that wears down opponents. She scored two top-10 wins in Ohio last week, defeating Petra Kvitova and Aryna Sabalenka before losing to Ashleigh Barty in three sets. Like Barty, Sakkari has an excellent kick serve that pulls her opponent out of position. Sakkari is seeded 30th at the Open, and with her superb conditioning and physical style, she will be a tough out.

Jennifer Brady

Brady, a 24-year-old American, is having a solid hardcourt season, battling through qualifying in Toronto and Cincinnati and then winning main-draw matches in each event. Ranked 65th, Brady has improved her transition game and now uses her powerful serve and whip of a forehand to get a short ball and attack the net. Brady nearly toppled the Wimbledon champion, Simona Halep, in a spellbinding match in Toronto, losing by 7-5 in a third-set tiebreaker. A gritty, resourceful player, Brady is a testament to the increasing depth in the women’s game. With her improving net game and aggressive, opportunistic play, she poses a serious threat to knock off a seeded player or two.

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