World number one Simona Halep’s hopes of winning a first US Open crown have been dealt a blow after she was forced to pull out of the Connecticut Open, the last warm-up tournament before Flushing Meadows gets underway.
The 26-year old Romanian, who is 7/1 according to our US Open tips, to lift the trophy, is struggling with an Achilles injury, and faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open which starts on Monday.
Halep has played a lot of tennis recently, having won the Rogers Cup in Montreal, and having reached the final in Cincinnati, where she was surprisingly beaten by Dutch woman and world number 17 Kiki Bertens on Sunday. That schedule would now seem to have caught up with her.
That would seem to throw the women’s draw for Flushing Meadows even more open than it was previously. Halep has been seeded number one but, if she has fitness doubts, the chances of her winning a tournament where she has never got beyond the semi-final stage would appear to be considerably diminished.
Serena Williams, who was named 17th seed by US Open officials on Tuesday, nine places above her world ranking, is still the bookmakers’ favourite to win her Grand Slam title, but there are serious issues about her credentials this time round.
Since losing the Wimbledon final to Angelique Kerber, she suffered the worst loss in her career when thrashed by Britain’s Johanna Konta, and then pulled out of her next tournament with what can best be described as baby blues. She then was beaten by Petra Kvitova in three sets in the second round in Cincinnati.
Off court she also suffered the shock of learning that the killer of her half-sister, Yetunde Price, who had been gunned down in 2003, had been reprieved for good behaviour, the news of which she received just before she went on court against Konta.
Neither Halep nor Williams look to be in a good place going into Flushing Meadows, which opens it up to other competitors, particularly Kerber, who may well be fancying her chances of making it back-to-back Grand Slams.
Who do you think will win the US Open singles title in the women’s section of the draw?