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U.S. Open 2015: Women's players to watch

Newsday's Jeff Williams picks five women's players to watch at the 2015 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing.


The superlatives just never end for Serena Williams.
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Clive Brunskill

The superlatives just never end for Serena Williams. When she turns 34 at the end of September, Williams is likely to have pocketed her fourth consecutive U.S. Open title, her first calendar year Grand Slam -- having already won the Australian, French Open and Wimbledon this year, and will have tied Steffi Graf with 22 major singles titles, second only to Margaret Court's 24. And the fact that she's won eight Grand Slam events after the age of 30 is testament not only to her talent, but her force of will. She's ranked No. 1, is the No. 1 seed and likely to be the No. 1 of all time.


So just who is the Open's No. 2
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

So just who is the Open's No. 2 seed? Simona Halep has made great strides in the game, but still lacks a Grand Slam title. In her only appearance in a major final, she lost to Maria Sharapova in the 2014 French Open. She has three titles this year and 11 overall. She finally won a top-tier event at Indian Wells this season, helped by the fact that her semifinal opponent, Serena Williams, withdrew with an injury. Halep lost a very competitive three-set match recently to Williams in Cincinnati.


Maria Sharapova, the third seed and 2006 Open
Photo Credit: Getty Images / William West

Maria Sharapova, the third seed and 2006 Open champ, hasn't played much this season as she struggles with injuries. A bad leg has kept her out of competition since Wimbledon. That's not the best preparation for the hard courts at Flushing Meadows. She won two titles earlier in the year, but let's face it, she has a 2-18 lifetime record against Serena Williams and lost to her this year in the semis at Wimbledon and final at the Australian Open.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

"Miss Sunshine" always seems to have a bright future, but so far, Caroline Wozniacki hasn't been able to grab a Grand Slam title. She faced her good friend Serena Williams in the final at the Open last year, where she went down fairly easily in two sets. That was only her second major final appearance, her first being a loss to Kim Clijsters at the Open in 2009. She has won only once this year.


If there is anyone big enough and strong
Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

If there is anyone big enough and strong enough to beat Serena Williams, it might be Petra Kvitova, the two-time Wimbledon champion. And she does have a win over Serena on the clay in Madrid, one of her two titles this season. That victory ended Williams' 27-match winning streak. The 6-foot Kvitova, a lefty, is physically imposing, but her health has been an issue this season. She withdrew from Miami and Indian Wells, citing exhaustion, and hasn't done well this summer. But a fit Kvitova is a dangerous Kvitova.


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