Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka: Who are this year’s US Open favourites?

Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty

The 141st edition of the US Open gets underway on August 30th, but who are this year’s favourites for the title?

With full capacity crowds expected, the fourth and final major of this calendar year promises to deliver a thrilling atmosphere.

Japanese star Naomi Osaka is the defending champion, while Australia’s Ashleigh Barty is the top seed heading into the tournament.

There are plenty of feasible contenders though, not least Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, teenage prodigy Coco Gauff and former world number one Simona Halep.

While this year’s field is stacked with top talents, we’ve narrowed it down to five favourites for this year’s competition.

Ashleigh Barty

It’s hard to look past Barty as the frontrunner for this year’s US Open. Aside from being the world’s top-ranked player, she is arguably in the form of her life, having won five titles so far in 2021.

The 25-year-old claimed her second major at Wimbledon last month and won the Southern and Western Open recently to ensure she has now won an event on every surface this season.

Former British number one, Tim Henman, told GiveMeSport Women why he backs Barty to go all the way at Flushing Meadows.

“I was a huge fan of hers before Wimbledon, but became an even bigger fan afterwards… she’s backing it up on hardcourts now as well, so there’s no doubt in my mind she goes into the US Open as the clear favourite.”

Ashleigh Barty

Naomi Osaka

While Osaka is the reigning champion and has four hard-court majors to her name, she is struggling to rediscover her imperious form from the start of 2021.

The Japanese star won the Australian Open earlier this season, but after taking time away from the game to focus on her mental health, she is yet to find a winning formula once again.

Having been knocked out of the Tokyo Olympics in the third round, Osaka lost to Jil Teichmann in the round of 16 in Cincinnati last week. These results, coupled with her absence from the tour has seen her fall to third in the world rankings.

Nonetheless, the 23-year-old is the game’s most naturally gifted hard court player and if she can play herself into form in the early rounds of the competition, then there is every chance she'll add a fifth Slam to her trophy cabinet.

Naomi Osaka

Aryna Sabalenka

Sabalenka is the player to leapfrog Osaka in the rankings, but despite her rise, the Belarusian is still chasing her first Grand Slam title.

Added to this, the 23-year-old lost in the second round at the Olympics and the first round of Cincinnati.

The world number two will take confidence from reaching her first major semi-final at Wimbledon though, and her new ranking also means she’ll avoid being on the same side of the draw as Barty.

With 10 career WTA titles to her name already, it seems only a matter of time before she adds a major to that list.

Serena Williams

The 23-time Grand Slam champion is still chasing a record-equalling 24th major title, but time is seemingly running out.

Williams has been plagued with injuries of late and pulled out the Southern and Western Open recently with a leg injury.

The 39-year-old was knocked out in the first round at Wimbledon and is yet to play a competitive match since then.

While all the odds seem stacked against her, Williams is a six-time US Open winner and will no doubt have the support of the adoring home crowd in New York.

Bianca Andreescu

Andreescu’s form in 2021 has been underwhelming and she last won a tournament in September 2019.

This tournament happened to be the US Open, however, making her the first teenager since Maria Sharapova to win a Grand Slam as a teenager at just 19 years old.

The 21-year-old has proven she can win at Flushing Meadows and with many of the world’s top-ranked players struggling for consistency in Slams, don’t be surprised to see Andreescu in contention.

News Now - Sport News