Jelena Ostapenko is one of several elite women age 25 or younger who could leave Queens next month as a first-time U.S. Open champion. Without the great Serena Williams in the field, here’s a look at the top four players in the WTA rankings entering the year’s final Grand Slam.
The 25-year-old from the Czech Republic ascended to the top ranking last month. Although she has yet to capture a major, she was a semifinalist at the French Open and quarterfinals at the Australian Open earlier this year. The 2016 runner-up at Flushing Meadows took Angelique Kerber to a third set before falling, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
A two-time finalist at Roland Garros, the 25-year-old Romanian has hovered near the top for several years but has yet to achieve the No. 1 ranking or win a Grand Slam. She came close in June, falling short to Ostapenko in the final in Paris. Halep reached the semifinals in New York two years ago, bowing to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta.
Of the top four, only the 23-year-old Muguruza is a major winner — and she’s pulled off the feat twice. She won the French last year, and is coming off a Wimbledon crown last month when she topped Venus Williams at All England. However, the Spanish-Venezuelan has yet to advance past Round 2 on Flushing’s hard court.
Although the 22-year-old has reached the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam just twice — both in France — her trajectory has trended upward in 2017. She has matched or surpassed her previous best finishes at the year’s first three majors, and last year was a quarterfinalist at the Rio Olympics. The native of Ukraine reached the third round in each of the last two U.S. Open tournaments.