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US Open 2017: Players under the most pressure on the women's draw

26 Août 2017

Except for at the upcoming U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, when No.2 Simona Halep of Romania and former U.S. Open champion Maria Sharapova of Russian Federation will face off in the first round.

Sharapova has missed three of the past four US Opens, her last visit ending in the 2014 fourth round. The final Grand Slam of the calendar year will provide a platform for a WTA star other than six-time champion Serena Williams to significantly improve their resume.

"It's an exciting match", defending champion Angelique Kerber said. "I don't think Maria's going to be intimidated, because I don't think anyone intimidates her".

A telling statistic involving these two players is that Sharapova has also gone 8-1 in the sets played against one another on cement.

The 30-year-old Sharapova was eligible to make her Grand Slam return at the French Open, but that country's tennis federation declined to offer her a wild card. Zverev defeated Federer in the final of the Open tune-up in Montreal. Sharapova has just one match on hard court this season and doesn't have her timing and consistency with her serve quite yet, as that's the area where she's struggled most during her losses.

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Britain's Konta, the seventh seed, could meet Halep in the quarter-finals.

In addition, Wimbledon champion and No. 3 Garbine Muguruza of Spain could be in for a match against No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark or two-time U.S. Open Champion and No. 9 Venus Williams.

Sharapova was bolstered by fans with "Welcome back Maria" signs in Germany and cheering support last month in Stanford, her first USA match in more than two years. The other eight are top seed Karolina Pliskova, last year's Open runner-up; No. 3 Carbine Muguruza, the reigning Wimbledon champion; No. 4 Elina Svitolina; No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki; No. 7 Johanna Konta, this year's Wimbledon semifinalist; No. 8 Svetlanta Kuznetsova, who won the Open 13 years ago; and No. 9 Venus Williams, twice the Open champ and a 10-time major-tournament victor. A total of eight women have a chance to hold the No. 1 ranking when the U.S. Open ends.

Cilic was hampered by a foot blister while losing this year's Wimbledon final to Federer and hasn't played a match since.

"I was so ready, I love playing in the United States and Canada".