- Title: Withdrawal of many top players leaves an intriguing US Open in prospect
- Date: 22nd August 2017
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (RECENT - JULY 1, 2017) (REUTERS) JELENA OSTAPENKO WALKING (ON RIGHT) LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JUNE 29, 2017) (REUTERS) 2016 FRENCH OPEN CHAMPION GARBINE MUGURUZA AT PARTY
- Embargoed: 5th September 2017 12:24
- Keywords: Murray Wawrinka Kvitova Sharapova Azarenka Ostapenko Venus Williams Pliskova Kerber Serena Williams Nadal Halep Federer
- Location: VARIOUS
- City: VARIOUS
- Country: USA
- Topics: Sport,Tennis
- Reuters ID: LVA0076V8OAPR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The U.S. Open qualifying rounds began on Tuesday (August 22) with an intriguing event likely in store.
Switzerland's Roger Federer will look to win his third major of the year, following on from success in the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
The 36 year-old has had an excellent year even by his lofty standards and adding a sixth U.S. title would complete a somewhat unexpected late career resurgence.
Federer's old rival Rafa Nadal goes into the tournament at New York's Flushing Meadows as world number one for the first time in three years.
The Spaniard, a 15-times grand slam winner, came back from a series of knee and wrist injuries to reach the Australian Open final and claimed a record 10th French Open title this season.
But other major male players are struggling with injury or missing from the tournament altogether.
Andy Murray, who Nadal replaced as world number one, has struggled with a hip injury, whilst Novak Djokovic and 2016 U.S. Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka have both withdrawn from the competition with injuries.
These setbacks provide opportunities for others, leaving the likes of Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov and 23 year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem with a chance to show they can challenge and overcome the very best.
In the women's event six-time winner at Flushing Meadows Serena Williams will be absent due to her pregnancy.
In a late development two-time grand slam winner Victoria Azarenka has also withdrawn as she is not allowed to take her baby son out of California amid a custody battle with her former partner.
The 28-year-old Belarusian returned to action in June, after the birth of her son Leo last December, and had been hopeful that legal arrangements could be worked out to allow her to compete in the Aug. 28-Sept. 10 grand slam in New York.
Former world number one Maria Sharapova will make her first grand slam appearance in over 18 months after she was awarded a main-draw wildcard for the upcoming U.S. Open, organisers said on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old Russian, who returned from a 15-month doping ban earlier this year, was denied a wildcard at the French Open, then missed the grasscourt season, including Wimbledon, with a thigh injury.
Spaniard Garbine Muguruza will look to add a U.S. Open title to her Wimbledon victory this year. The 23 year-old has never been beyond the second round in New York but a crushing 6-1 6-0 victory over Simona Halep in the Cincinnati Masters final gives her reason to be confident.
Germany's Angelique Kerber will be out to defend her 2016 title but will likely face competition from Venus Williams, Karolina Pliskova, Halep and French Open champion Jeolena Ostapenko.
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