Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round of Wimbledon 2021, London, UK
Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round of Wimbledon 2021, London, UK | (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Tennis | US Open 2021 | Women’s Draw Preview

  • Defending champion Naomi Osaka given challenging opener as in-form Ashleigh Barty enters US Open as favourite.
  • Top Seeds: Ashleigh Barty, Aryna Sabalenka, Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova
  • British Interest: Johanna Konta, Heather Watson
NEW YORK, USA – Defending champion Naomi Osaka faces a challenging opening match as in-form Ashleigh Barty enters the last grand slam of the year as favourite.


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[1] Ashleigh Barty

Best Result: Fourth Round (2018, 2019)

The world number one heads into the US Open is sensational form having won Cincinnati with relative ease and is favourite to win the title in New York.

Barty’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Vera Zvonareva | First Meeting
  • R2: Clara Burel | First Meeting
  • R3: Veronika Kudermetova [29] | H2H: Barty leads 1-0
  • R4: Jennifer Brady [13] | H2H: Barty leads 2-1
  • QF: Iga Swiatek [7] | H2H: Barty leads 1-0
  • SF: Karolina Pliskova [4] | H2H: Barty leads 6-2
  • F: Aryna Sabalenka [2] | H2H: Tied at 4-4

A relatively comfortable opening week is set for Barty with Jennifer Brady being the perfect last 16 opponent with the American being plagued by injuries in the second half of the 2021 season. An intriguing quarter-final with Iga Swiatek could be the Australian’s main obstacle en route to reaching the final even if Karolina Pliskova is playing some of the best tennis of her career. Overall the world number one has avoided the main threats as she is the favourite to win a third grand slam title.


[2] Aryna Sabalenka

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Best Results: Fourth Round (2018)

The Belarusian enters the US Open in turbulent form as she looks to back up her Wimbledon semi-final in New York.

Sabalenka’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Nina Stojanovic | H2H: Sabalenka leads 5-0
  • R2: Tamara Zidansek | H2H: Tied at 1-1
  • R3: Danielle Collins [26] | H2H: Sabalenka leads 2-0
  • R4: Elise Mertens [15] | H2H: Sabalenka leads 5-2
  • QF: Barbora Krejcikova [8] | H2H: Sabalenka leads 1-0
  • SF: Naomi Osaka [3] | H2H: Osaka leads 1-0
  • F: Ash Barty [1] | H2H: Tied at 4-4

Sabalenka could face tough second and third round matches against Roland Garros quarter-finalist Tamara Zidansek and San Jose champion Danielle Collins. These are looking like her most likely ways to exit the tournament before the semi-finals. If Sabalenka gets past those matches then she is a dangerous match-up for anybody but it’s going to be tough for the Belarusian.


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[3] Naomi Osaka

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Best Result: Winner (2018, 2020)

Osaka is looking to defend her title in New York but enters the tournament with mental and tactical vulnerabilities which were evident in her early exit in Cincinnati.

Osaka’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Marie Bouzkova | H2H: Osaka leads 1-0
  • R2: Alycia Parks | First Meeting
  • R3: Yulia Putintseva [31] | H2H: Putintseva leads 3-1
  • R4: Angelique Kerber [16] | H2H: Kerber leads 4-1
  • QF: Elina Svitolina [5] | H2H: Tied at 3-3
  • SF: Aryna Sabalenka [2] | H2H: Osaka leads 1-0
  • F: Ash Barty [1] | H2H: Tied at 2-2

Osaka couldn’t have wished for a tougher draw with Marie Bouzkova and Yulia Putintseva more than capable of taking advantage of early vulnerabilities of the defending champion. The third seed’s second week doesn’t get any easier with the Japanese player only having a winning record against two players in her projected run. Osaka will need to produce a champions performance to claim her third US Open title.


[4] Karolina Pliskova

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Best Result: Runner-Up (2016)

Karolina Pliskova has backed up her Wimbledon final with a final in Toronto as she looks to be the player to challenge Ash Barty in New York.

Pliskova’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Catherine McNally | First Meeting
  • R2: Amanda Anisimova | H2H: Pliskova leads 3-0
  • R3: Petra Martic [30] | H2H: Martic leads 4-3
  • R4: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova [14] | H2H: Pliskova leads 6-2
  • QF: Bianca Andreescu [6] | H2H: Tied at 1-1
  • SF: Ash Barty [1] | H2H: Barty leads 6-2
  • F: Aryna Sabalenka [2] | H2H: Tied at 2-2

A third round clash with Petra Martic will test Pliskova’s current confidence but other than that the Wimbledon finalist will be happy with her draw and know that if she can bring her top level consistently she can trouble any player in the world even the world number one.

The US Open takes place from the 30th of August-12th of September


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