4 Female Athletes to Watch at the 2019 US Open

For the past few seasons, the men’s tennis circuit has been dominated by three names: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. In fact, the last time someone other than that trio took home a Grand Slam men’s title was 2016, when Stan Wawrinka won the U.S. Open.

In the women’s circuit, meanwhile, some of the most surprising and impressive performances of recent years have come from a range of talented athletes.

True, a few critics have argued that the lack of a single dominating force creates marketing challenges for the sport. However, the unpredictability of the recent tournaments has also ignited fresh interest among new and old fans.

Below are four women to keep an eye on during the U.S. Open, to be held in New York from Aug. 26 to Sept. 8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Serena Williams
Shoe of choice: NikeCourt Flare

The 37-year-old tennis superstar has faced struggles since returning to competition after the birth of her daughter, but Williams has come achingly close to victory at the last two Wimbledon tournaments — and at the 2018 U.S. Open. Barring injuries, there’s a good chance she could find her way to the finals once again at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Serena Williams of the USA plays Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia during their women?s first round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 27 May 2019.French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros, Paris, France - 27 May 2019
Serena Williams makes a play during the women’s first-round match at the French Open.
CREDIT: Yoan Valat/Shutterstock

Naomi Osaka 
Shoe of choice: Nike Air Zoom Zero

The No. 2-ranked pro will look to defend her 2018 U.S. Open title, which she won in a surprising (and polarizing) victory against Serena Williams. The 21-year-old Osaka has some wind at her back, after dominating the Australian Open, but she crashed out of Wimbledon last month in the first round.

Naomi Osaka Tennis Australian Open 2019, Melbourne, Australia - 26 Jan 2019
Naomi Osaka celebrates her win at the 2019 Australian Open.
CREDIT: LUKAS COCH/Shutterstock

Ashleigh Barty
Shoe of choice: Fila Axilus 2 Energized

After a string of big wins this year, including at the Miami Open and French Open, the native Australian rocketed to the No. 1 spot in global rankings. That means she’ll have a big bullseye on her at the U.S. Open, but the 23-year-old is a strong player on hard surfaces and so remains a favorite to prevail.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia celebrates after winning the Womens Final match against Julia Goerges of Germany.Nature Valley Classic 2019, Tennis, The Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham, UK - 23 June 2019
Ashleigh Barty took home the title at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, England, on June 23.
CREDIT: Ryan Browne/Shutterstock

Cori “Coco” Gauff
Shoe of choice: New Balance 996v3

At just 15 years of age, Gauff captivated the world when she defeated Venus Williams at Wimbledon in July in her first appearance at the tournament. All eyes will be on her at the U.S. Open to see if the Florida native can continue her winning streak.

Cori Gauff during her Ladies' Singles third round match, new balance, wimbledon
Cori Gauff during her Ladies’ Singles third-round match at Wimbledon in London.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

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