TENNIS

Serena Williams’ time is coming to an end and a new era is already here

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The main story in women’s tennis over the past year has been the wide open field. Any tournament at any time can be won by any player. We’ve had a lot of rookies in the quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals and on the top step of the podium over the past year and more. That’s why Iga Swiatek’s winning streak earlier this season swept everyone away. For the first time in a long time, there was one storyline and one player that everyone watched and trusted.

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It felt like a throwback to another era, when Serena Williams was the most dominant player in women’s tennis. With Williams gracefully ending her singularly dazzling career at the US Open, it’s likely we’ll never see someone like her again, or experience the phenomenon she created and inspired. There may never be another player that fans will trust so much, not just to win, but to give them a show that is always, always worth watching. It was like a throwback because it was.

Those days are over, and while there may never be another player capable of captivating the world like she did, there are so many exciting players who have begun to shine. Swiatek was unbeatable on clay. Coco Gauff began to become hers. Jessica Pegula is having the best year of her career so far. The same goes for Elena Rybakina, who won Wimbledon. Simona Halep is booming. Ons Jabeur is making history. It’s a new era in women’s tennis, and the post-Serena era has already begun.

Players to watch at US Open 2022

Serena Williams

The US Open will be Williams’ swansong as she bids a final farewell to her dominant and groundbreaking career, and bids farewell to the sport that she changed forever. Williams has openly admitted that she didn’t expect to win in New York, but she wants to compete on her own terms in a tournament that has meant so much to her over the years. Despite her expectations, there’s always a chance she could qualify for the next rounds, because she’s Serena and she’s already proven that there’s nothing she can’t do. Watch her to see if she can muster one last deep run. Watch her to see her perform one last time. Look at her because she’s the tallest to ever step foot on a tennis court. Whatever the reason, watch it, because we’ll never get the chance again.

Serena Williams will say goodbye to tennis at the US Open. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Iga Swiatek

Swiatek, the world number one. 1, remains a force to be reckoned with. Her absolutely stunning run leading to Wimbledon – which led to her winning the French Open crown – was something we hadn’t seen in decades. Her 37-game winning streak was snapped at Wimbledon with a third-round exit, which was disappointing but not surprising considering she struggles on the grass. She’s back on the hard courts at the US Open, a surface she’s won on three times this year. Expectations for her will remain high for some time due to this unreal streak, which is actually quite unfair to her, but it’s entirely possible that she could make a deep run and even make it to the finals.

Simona Halep

Earlier this year, Halep told her family that she thought she was “done with tennis”. Now, having hired former Serena Williams coach Patrick Mouratoglou in April, she is on the right track. In less than a year of working together, Halep looks like the confident, competitive player we all remember. In June, she reached the Wimbledon semi-finals, her first Grand Slam semi-final in two years and her best performance at the All England Club since winning in 2019. Beating Beatriz Haddad Maia to win the Canadian Open was her 39th victory of the season, just behind Iga Swiatek. She didn’t get any ranking points at Wimbledon (because nobody did), but her win at Cincy propelled her into the WTA top 10 for the first time since July 2021, which is quite a rebound. compared to February when it was ranked 27th. She pulled out of the Cincinnati Open with a thigh problem, and it’s unclear what her status is, but with Iga Swiatek looking vulnerable, this could be Halep’s chance to win the US Open trophy. .

Coco Gauff

Gauff is fierce. She reached her first-ever Grand Slam final at Roland Garros in June (lost to Swiatek, who is a wrecking ball on clay), which helped her rise to 11th place in the WTA rankings, the most high of her career (she currently sits at No . 12). She’s consistent — she’s reached at least the third round in every WTA 1000 tournament she’s entered this year — and she’s also an excellent doubles player, currently ranked No. 1 in the world. She had to pull out of the Cincinnati Open with an ankle problem, but Gauff quickly tweeted that it was only a minor sprain and that she should be ready to compete in the US Open.

Simona Halep of Romania celebrates winning the women's singles final between Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil and Simona Halep of Romania at the 2022 National Bank Open tennis tournament in Toronto, Canada, August 14, 2022. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Simona Halep is playing her best tennis in years. Could she win her first US Open trophy? (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Jessica Pegula

It was a big year for Pegula. She reached the quarter-finals of two Grand Slams and had success in the WTA 1000 tournaments with two semi-finals and a trip to the final. She is in the WTA top 10 for the first time in her career, something she, the daughter of billionaire Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, has been working towards for a long time. She has never made it past the third round of the US Open, but she could set a new career high with the way she plays.

Elena Rybakina

Rybakina was the surprise winner of Wimbledon after beating Ons Jabeur to secure the title. Her best result at any Grand Slam so far was the Roland-Garros quarter-finals in 2021. It seemed like she came out of nowhere, but she also had success on the WTA 1000 this season . She has two quarterfinals after never making it past the third round. It might be a legit season for her, but a deep run at Flushing Meadows would cement her as a contender.

Naomi Osaka

After a tumultuous 2021, Osaka simply hasn’t been able to get on track. She reached the Miami Open final earlier this year, but beyond that she hasn’t made it past the second round of any WTA 1000 tournament. Last month, she lost in the first round at the Canadian Open and the Cincinnati Open, which is not a good sign for his chances at the US Open. However, she is a two-time US Open champion. Maybe playing Flushing Meadows will help him find his form.

Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez

Raducanu and Fernandez faced off in the 2021 US Open teens final. Raducanu emerged victorious, instantly becoming a star in his native UK. Since then, both women have had their share of struggles and successes, but Raducanu’s struggles have been more public. The reputedly intrusive and obsessive British tabloids won’t leave her alone, turning everything into a referendum on whether or not she’s good enough to get so much attention. Fernandez, who folded unexpectedly against Raducanu after playing so well ahead of the final, mostly managed to stay out of the spotlight. Expectations for both will be high at Flushing Meadows.

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