In the tennis world, the end of summer means it time for the sport’s best to roll into New York City and compete in the U.S. Open. The final “major” tournament ( the others are the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon), the U.S. Open it has a flavour all its own, thanks to a rowdy New York crowds, particularly supportive of American competitors.
The American tennis great, Serena Williams, is a perennial favourite, both with the fans and the betting public. Even though she is almost 38 years old, and hasn’t won a single tournament since announcing she was pregnant after winning the 2017 Australian open, Williams is still being given the best chance to win by odds-makers such as Comeon, outperforming Simona Halep, Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka, each of whom has one 2019 grand slam victory already.
While the elder Serena Williams will likely grab much of the media spotlight, there is a new crop of teenage tennis stars already starting to make their mark on the game. Watch out for their evolving stories as they look to round out breakthrough years with strong performances at the U.S. Open.
Bianca Andreescu, 19 years old
This Canadian teen sensation is the one of the biggest tennis newcomer stories in decades. While Andreescu is yet to make her mark on a Grand Slam tournament, in part to a mid-season shoulder injury, she did the impossible in Indian Wells this year. Bianca won three matches as a qualifier and then seven more to win the tournament, considered the fifth biggest on tour. Her return from injury in Toronto in early August produced another Cinderella run to the title, taking down seeds a-plenty and dismantling a shell-shocked Serena in the final. Andreescu started the year ranked #156 but currently has the best 2019 W-L record of any woman on tour, and has catapulted herself up to the #14 spot in the world.
Amanda Anisimova, 17 years old
Born in New Jersey to Russian parents, Amanda started playing tennis at two and hasn’t looked back. She became the #2 ranked junior in the world at 14 and later that year got into the qualifying rounds at the 2016 U.S. Open and won her opening match. The following two years saw more success and 2019 has been a continuation for Amanda, reaching the round of 16 at the Aussie Open and winning her first WTA title in Colombia. She has been putting in several very impressive performances, albeit with a few slumps, but enough to jump from #98 to #24 in the world, guaranteeing a seeding at the U.S. Open. (Editor’s note: News broke today that Amanda’s father and coach died of a heart and Amanda may withdraw from the U.S. Open.)
Dayana Yastremska, 19 years old
Teen tennis star Dayana is the best of a strong contingent of young Ukrainian women players, reaching #33 in the world this month. She won her first WTA tournament in Hong Kong last year and added two more titles so far in 2019. She a tough competitor and like Andreescu has a couple tournament wins already this year to give her confidence on the big stage.
Iga Swiatek, 18 years old
Poland’s Iga Swiatek has a had a great 2019 year in tennis as a 17/18 year old, making a WTA final at 17, and making it the round 16 at the French Open. Recently in Toronto she defeated former number one, Carolina Wozniaki, before losing a very tight match against 2018 U.S. Open champion, Naomi Osaka. We saw her play that match live (2nd row!) and see a player with the drive and talent to achieve big things in the coming years, and breaking into the top 50 this week (#49) is just the beginning.
Cori “Coco” Gauff, 15 years old
Coco Gauff is the youngest star on the scene at 15-year-old, and the only young player getting as much buzz as Andreescu this summer. At Wimbledon this past June she was literally the talk of the town as she storm through the qualifying rounds to become the youngest player to ever qualify for the main round. As if that wasn’t enough she went on to beat her hero, Venus Williams, in the first round on her way to round of 16, with each match she played attracting packed stands and millions of TV viewers cheering her on from home. Her successes took Coco from #875 to #141 in the world in a few short month. She is such a star already the U.S. Open organizers opted to give Gauff a wild-card spot in the main draw, meaning she won’t have to play three earlier knock-out matches just to “qualify” for the first round of the main draw. The boisterous New York crowds will be behind her, and her maturity, confidence and talent could gel nicely at the U.S. Open.