Contenders at Flushing Meadows

Monica Puig.
Monica Puig.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Lucie Safarova.
Lucie Safarova.
Karolina Pliskova.
Karolina Pliskova.

MONICA PUIG

(Puerto Rico)

• Age: 22

• World ranking: 34

• Best at US Open: 2nd round, 2014

The Olympic singles gold medallist (above) blazed through the tournament in Rio de Janeiro, and will be exuding confidence going into the US Open. She was mentally strong in Brazil and played exceptionally well, stretching her opponents.

Puig's forte is her two-handed backhand, which gave her winners at crucial moments. She has proved to the world that her athletic capacity is not to be overlooked.


LUCIE SAFAROVA

(Czech Republic)

• Age: 29

• World ranking: 35

• Best at US Open: 4th round, 2014

She had a good run last year when she reached the French Open final, only to lose to world No. 1 Serena Williams. A viral infection then affected her game but after a long break, Safarova has shown signs that she is on the road to recovery - both in terms of her health and on the court.

The Czech made it to the second week at Wimbledon this year and will be playing with little pressure to defend points, after a first-round exit at the US Open last year.


KAROLINA PLISKOVA

(Czech Republic)

• Age: 24

• World ranking: 11

• Best at US Open: 3rd round, 2014

Another player who will be full of confidence after winning the Western & Southern Open title last week. Momentum is key for Pliskova, who is keen to continue her good form at Flushing Meadows.

The 24-year-old had won five tournaments before her triumph in Cincinnati, but all were at the lower international level. She has never progressed beyond the third round of a Grand Slam, but there is an opportunity for her to change that in New York.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 28, 2016, with the headline 'Contenders at Flushing Meadows'. Print Edition | Subscribe