Despite winning this tournament three years ago, Angelique Kerber is nowhere when it comes to the contenders for the title in New York this week. The German has had her ups and downs since her amazing 2016 that saw her pick up two slams, including the US Open. She plays Kristina Mladenovic in her opener on Monday.
Mladenovic is still capable of strong performances from time to time but looks to have found her spot in singles play as a player around the top 50 in the WTA rankings while she remains one of the best doubles players about and is the current World No.1. Mladenovic made the quarter finals in Washington but didn’t win a match across Toronto and Cincinnati, losing in qualifying in the latter.
Kerber did move back into the top 5 prior to Wimbledon but a failure to defend her title has seen her come into this tournament as the 14th seed. The German has done little to inspire heading into the final slam of the year, losing both her matches this month. She lost in straight sets to Anett Kontaveit and to an out of form Darya Kasatkina in three, made more disappointing by her dominant 6-0 set to open the match. The German’s best stuff does come on hard courts but she is going to need to up it several notches if she is to challenge this fortnight.
The draw is open for Kerber if she can find her best form with Ashleigh Barty the top seed in this section. The German is 4-1 against Mladenovic so far in her career and should take heart from that as she seeks to regain her form.
Prediction – Angelique Kerber in three sets