Five Things To Know About The 2022 US Open Women’s Draw - UBITENNIS
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Five Things To Know About The 2022 US Open Women’s Draw

Did you know that 16% of this year’s field include players who have previously played in the final of a Grand Slam?

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Image via US Open Twitter

Perhaps the best advice to give concerning the 2022 US Open women’s draw is to expect the unexpected.

 

128 players will battle it out for one of the most prestigious trophies in the world of tennis, as well as a paycheck of $2.6M. There will be plenty of storylines to follow over the next two weeks as Emma Raducanu seeks to defend her title after her historic run in 2021 where she became the first qualifier to lift the trophy. 

As with every Grand Slam, trying to take in everything going on is a tough task. To help with this, UbiTennis highlights five key points about this year’s women’s draw. 

The newcomers

This year there will be 20 players taking part in the main draw for the first time in their careers. Among them is China’s Zheng Qinwen who is currently ranked 39th in the world after starting the season outside the top 100. Wimbledon quarter-finalist Jule Niemeier will also make her debut after losing in the second round of qualifying at Flushing Meadows 12 months ago. Another player to keep an eye on will be Czech teenage sensation Linda Fruhvirtova who is just 17 years old. Fruhvirtova is also one of eight players who will be playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time. 

Full list of US Open debutants: Erika Andreeva (RUS), Elina Avanesyan (RUS), Sara Bejlek (CZE), Anna Bondar (HUN), Jaimee Fourlis (AUS), Lucia Bronzetti (ITA), Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA), Fernanda Contreras Gómez (MEX), Jaqueline Cristian (ROU), Linda Fruhvirtova (CZE), Catherine Harrison (USA), Leolia Jeanjean (FRA), Elizabeth Mandlik (USA), Jule Niemeier (GER), Linda Noskova (CZE), Daria Snigur (UKR), Peyton Stearns (USA), Eleana Yu (USA), Yuan Yue (CHN) and Zheng Qinwen (CHN).

Serena’s last dance 

This year’s US Open will mark the end of an era for the formidable Serena Williams who is set to play in the last tournament of her career. In an article for Vogue magazine, she explained that she is starting to ‘evolve’ away from tennis and wants to embark upon other challenges. 

Williams is the most successful female player at Flushing Meadows in the Open Era when it comes to matches won. The six-time champion has played 120 matches, winning a record 106. The only other player to have surpassed the 100 victories mark during this period was Chris Evert who reached 101. 

2022 will be Williams’ 21st main draw appearance in the US Open. She has never lost in the first round and will be hoping to keep this record going when she takes on Danka Kovinic, who is currently ranked 80th in the world. It will be a tough task for the 40-year-old who has only played five Tour matches over the past 14 months. 

What about Venus?

Whilst all eyes are on her sister, some are starting to wonder when Venus Williams will enter into the world of retirement. She has played just two singles tournaments this year and is yet to win a match. 

The 42-year-old will be seeking her 80th US Open main draw win when she plays Alison Van Uytvanck in the first round. Venus will be making her 23rd appearance in the main draw which is an Open Era record for a female player. Overall, her win-loss record is 79-19.

Could this year also be the last time tennis fans get to see Venus play in New York?

The players in form 

Simona Halep is quietly returning to her best form at the age of 30 which she has previously attributed to working with her coach Patrick Mouratoglou. She has won 19 out of her past 22 matches played. To put that into context, should she win her first round encounter at the US Open Halep would reach her 40th win this season. Something she hasn’t achieved since 2018. 

France’s Caroline Garcia has posted similar impressive wins in recent weeks. Winning 26 out of her past 30 matches played. Furthermore, she is the only WTA player this year to have won titles on three different surfaces with her most recent triumph being in Cincinnati. The Frenchwoman is bidding to reach the second week of Flushing Meadows for the first time in her career. 

Daria Kasatkina has only reached the US Open fourth round once before but her recent form suggests that she is more than capable of going one step further. Within the past month, she has won titles in San Jose and Granby. Kasatkina is the only player to have won multiple WTA tournaments during the summer hard court swing. 

The Grand Slam finalists

The depth of women’s tennis is best illustrated by the fact that a staggering 21 players in the draw have previously played in a Grand Slam final. Out of that number, 15 have won at least one title. The past US Open champions in the field are both of the Williams sisters, Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens, Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducanu. The last player to have defended their title at the New York major was Serena Williams in 2014. 

Grand Slam champions in the draw: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Iga Swiatek, Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens, Bianca Andreescu, Sofia Kenin, Barbora Krejcikova, Emma Raducanu and Elena Rybakina.

Grand Slam finalists in the draw: Madison Keys, Karolina Pliskova, Leylah Fernandez, Danielle Collins, Coco Gauff and Ons Jabeur. 

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Bianca Andreescu Reunites With Former Coach Ahead Of New Season 

How will the Grand Slam champion fair on the Tour with her latest mentor?

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BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has brought a familiar face back into her team as she bids to return to her best form in 2023. 

 

Andreescu, who is currently ranked 45th in the WTA rankings, has appointed Christophe Lambert as her latest coach. Lambert had been working as the performance director at Tennis New Zealand and resigned from that position to work with the former US Open champion. He had also previously worked for Tennis Canada and during that time he was a private coach for Andreescu in 2016. 

“Bianca asked me to coach her and I accepted the job. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Lambert told sport.co.nz. 

Lambert, who has also spent time working with the Chinese Davis Cup team and for the British LTA, has stayed in contact with Andreescu ever since coaching her six years ago. 

“It wasn’t like every week or every month. It’s always good to have people calling you when you are up, but when she was down I was checking on her and giving her my opinion.” He said. 

Andreescu had been working with Dutch coach Sven Groeneveld for over a year before they decided to end their collaboration in October. Groeneveld has a wealth of experience in the sport after working with a series of top names, including Maria Sharapova. 

This season the former world No.4 has won 20 out of 33 matches played with her best performance being a run to the final of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. However, her record against top 10 opposition was 2-5.

“I’m just taking it day by day, and it’s a great way to end off the year as well, just bringing back all the emotions that fire a lot in me,” Andreescu recently told reporters in Glasgow at the Billie Jean King Cup. “I think I’m going to have a great preseason. Next year I really think I can crack the top 10 again.”

Andreescu, who has been hampered by injury issues in recent years, hasn’t won a singles title of any sort since 2019. 

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Four-Time Grand Slam Winner Naomi Osaka Named In FTX Lawsuit 

The former world No.1 took an equity stake in the failed business earlier this year. 

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NAOMI OSAKA OF JAPAN - PHOTO: ALVARO DIAZ / MMO

Naomi Osaka is among a series of high-profile individuals who have been accused of using their celebrity status to promote FTX’s failed business model in a lawsuit filed against the cryptocurrency exchange. 

 

The BBC has reported that over one million people and businesses could be owed money following the collapse of FTX, according to bankruptcy filings. A week ago FTX collapsed into bankruptcy with its former boss Sam Bankman-Fried stepping down as CEO. A massive development in the financial for what was one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world that had the naming rights to a Formula One racing team as well as a sports arena in Miami.

According to the Associated Press, the company is being investigated by state and federal prosecutors over allegations it ‘invested depositors’ funds in ventures without their approval.’ In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, it argues that celebrity backers of FTX such as Osaka should be held just as accountable as Bankman-Fried as they brought ‘instant credibility’ to the company. 

“Part of the scheme employed by the FTX Entities involved utilizing some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment — like these Defendants — to raise funds and drive American consumers to invest … pouring billions of dollars into the deceptive FTX platform to keep the whole scheme afloat,” the lawsuit said.

Osaka took an equity stake in FTX in March where she would be receiving compensation in Crypto. Signing what was described as a ‘long-term partnership’ to become a global ambassador, the tennis star aimed to draw attention to women joining the platform and she played a role in directing its content.

“We have seen the statistics about how few women are part of crypto by comparison, which kind of mirrors the inequality we see in other financial markets,” Osaka said earlier this year.

Osaka, who has won 14 out of 23 matches played this season, has not made any public statement regarding the lawsuit. NFL quarterback Tom Brady, comedian Larry David and basketball team the Golden State Warriors are also defendants in the lawsuit.

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WTA Targets New Multi-Year Deal For Its Premier Event If Agreement With China Fails

Will the WTA Finals return to Shenzhen in 2023?

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WTA CEO Steve Simon

The WTA say they are not willing to compromise their principles concerning the possibility of hosting tournaments in China next year amid uncertainty over the future of their season-ending event. 

 

Steve Simon, who is the CEO of the women’s Tour, says he is hopeful that a resolution can be found with the country but has vowed now to back down on its stance. Last year the WTA suspended tournaments in China over concerns about the safety of former player Peng Shuai who accused a former government official of sexually assaulting her. 

Shuai disappeared shortly after posting her statement on social media before returning a few weeks later with photos and videos of her being posted online by journalists linked to the government-controlled media. There are concerns that the former doubles Grand Slam champion, who has not left her country since making those allegations, is being censored by the government. The WTA wants an investigation to be conducted into the matter. 

“We’ve made a strong stand, and we stand behind that stance, and we’re not going to compromise our principles,” Simon said during an interview with The New York Times. “Clearly when we did it, we understood eyes wide open what it could mean.”
“We’re still in the same place. If they come forward with something else we should look at, of course we are open to it. But we haven’t seen it so far. I’m hopeful we do find a resolution. That’s the goal, to find the right resolution. What’s the truth? Then we can move forward.” He added. 

Simon said he is confident that Shuai is safe in Beijing but he has not been able to make any direct contact with her, despite trying to on multiple occasions. A letter reportedly written by Shuai to the WTA was posted online in 2021 saying that she wishes to be left alone. However, many have doubted the authenticity of that letter with some fearing that she wrote it under duress. 

One of the biggest impacts of the fallout has involved the prestigious WTA Finals, which is a round-robin tournament featuring the eight best-performing players over the past 12 months. In 2018 a lucrative deal was agreed that paved the way for the event to be held in Shenzhen for 10 years. However, the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before the next two additions were moved elsewhere.

Whilst the WTA is optimistic about a return to Shenzhen in 2023, there are also backup plans in the works. Simon confirmed that it is no longer feasible for the WTA Finals to be held in a location for just one year. So it is likely that the tournament would be held in a city for two or more years in a row if it doesn’t return to China next season. 

“We’re not going to continue to do these one-year decisions,” he said. “It’s not sustainable. If it looks like we can’t go back to China or aren’t ready to go back, then I do think we will carve out a multiyear situation, because we need to for the business.”

The case involving Shuai isn’t the only barrier for the WTA. China’s zero-covid policy has made hosting international events in the region unfeasible and the ATP cancelled all of their events in the tournament this year due to the situation. 

This year’s WTA Finals has a prize money offering of $5M which is more than half of what was on offer at the 2019 tournament in Shenzhen ($14M). 

Simon didn’t provide any deadline for when an agreement must be reached with China must be reached before the WTA considers moving their event elsewhere once again. 

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