2018 US Open women's draw preview and predictions

The final major of the year in New York will hold many questions. Will we see a fourth different major champion or will one of the three women who have won raise the crown in Flushing?

Last year, the US Open had the privilege to host an all-American showdown in both their semifinals. It would be quite something to see that again this year, especially with Serena Williams being a factor at the Flushing Meadows this year.

With no American seed in the fourth quarter, the dream for another all-American semifinal will be trying to get but never count out what the home support can do. World number one Simona Halep had Maria Sharapova in her opening match last year and avoids a big name this time out but does draw Serena in a potential titanic round of 16 clash.

With that, let's preview the draw.

Halep's Quarter

Despite the world number one not opening up against a former Grand Slam champion, she will open up with a player who is going to be a thorn in many players’ sides in Kaia Kanepi. The Estonian can use her power to potentially overwhelm the Romanian, but Halep comes into Flushing in the best form possible after having made two finals in Canada and Cincinnati (winner in Montreal).

The talking point in this one is the fact Serena is the potential fourth round opponent for Halep and could meet older sister Venus in the third round. 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova might have something to say about that matchup though, taking on Venus in the first round as she comes into the tournament in much better form than the American.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza has struggled leading up to the tournament, but we have seen her go on big runs without some sort of form heading into the tournament making her the biggest unknown factor in this part of the draw. She could easily go out in the first round to a tricky opponent in Zhang Shuai or could easily be the one to make it out of this quarter.

Ashleigh Barty has been the most consistent seeded player in this part of the quarter. The Australian made the last sixteen in Cincinnati, following up her semifinal run in Montreal. 

Karolina Pliskova rounds out the quarter and just like her potential fourth-round opponent in Muguruza, she’s had a down summer by her standards. The hiring of Rennae Stubbs (Conchita Martinez will be stepping in for the Open due to Stubbs’ media commitments) could be the turning point for the Czech to get her back on track, and a favorable draw is exactly what she needs here in New York.

Quarterfinals: Simona Halep vs Ashleigh Barty

Semifinalist: Simona Halep

First Round Matches To Watch For: Halep vs Kanepi, Kuznetsova vs Venus, Muguruza vs Zhang, Zarina Diyas vs Karolina Pliskova

Simona Halep has played brilliantly on the North American hard courts
Simona Halep has played brilliantly on the North American hard courts

Stephens’ Quarter

Defending champion Sloane Stephens has to like her chances to go on another deep run in the tournament with what should be a straightforward draw until the fourth round at least where she could run into one of the hottest players of the year in Elise Mertens.

The Belgian is looking to make a big impact after truly announcing herself in Melbourne this year. Mertens and Stephens battled in a marathon in Cincinnati so another meeting in New York would truly be a treat to the fans.

Elina Svitolina is looking for her first semifinal of a major in her career and could do it here. Agnieszka Radwanska could potentially pose problems, but the attacking nature of the Ukrainian in that matchup should see her through if they meet.

Julia Goerges is looking to end her Grand Slam season with another run, following her Wimbledon semifinal appearance she had earlier this summer and a potentially vulnerable Svitolina could see her through to the final 16 in New York for only the second time in her career.

Quarterfinals: Sloane Stephens vs Elina Svitolina

Semifinalist: Sloane Stephens

First Round Matches To Watch For: Heather Watson vs Ekaterina Makarova, Anastasija Sevastova vs Donna Vekic

Sloane Stephens is the defending champion here in New York
Sloane Stephens is the defending champion here in New York

Kerber’s Quarter

The bottom half of the draw kicks off with a tasty matchup between Johanna Konta and Caroline Garcia. Konta has fallen off due to her lack of results after a standout 2017 while the Frenchwoman looks to reach her first quarterfinal of Grand Slam this year.

Patty Schnyder and Maria Sharapova meet in the first round in what will be a throwback match for many tennis fans, having last met 10 years ago in Rome. Jelena Ostapenko was drawn with no easy first round opponent, facing Andrea Petkovic.

Two of last year’s semifinalists could meet in the third round as Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe were drawn into the same section. Vandeweghe is on a losing run of four straight defeats, and Kirsten Flipkens is no pushover.

Angelique Kerber looks to add to her Grand Slam haul by winning a second US Open after winning in 2016. Dominika Cibulkova, Su-Wei Hsieh, and Alize Cornet are all players who could factor in with potential upsets in this mini-section of the German's. Cornet and Kerber could meet in round two in a Montreal rematch where the Frenchwoman ran away with the match.

Quarterfinals: Angelique Kerber vs Caroline Garcia

Semifinalist: Angelique Kerber 

First Round Matches To Watch For: Konta vs Garcia, Nicole Gibbs vs Carla Suarez Navarro, Sharapova vs Schnyder, Petkovic vs Ostapenko, Flipkens vs Vandeweghe, Alize Cornet vs Johanna Larsson

Kerber looks to do one better than she did in 2016, by completing the Wimbledon-US Open double
Kerber looks to do one better than she did in 2016, by completing the Wimbledon-US Open double

Wozniacki's Quarter

The last quarter finishes off with a solid mix of power and guile. Petra Kvitova will start off against Yanina Wickmayer and tournament dark horse Aryna Sabalenka meets Danielle Collins to start. 

A rematch of the BNP Paribas Open final could be on the cards with Daria Kasatkina and Naomi Osaka drawn as potential third round opponents. Timea Babos could spoil the party or even Belinda Bencic. 

Cincinnati champion and another dark horse, Kiki Bertens, seems to be rounding into form at the right time. She kicks off against Kristyna Pliskova. Mihaela Buzarnescu suffered a nasty injury in Montreal which she said would leave her unable to play the US Open. The Romanian however has been rehabbing in hopes of playing as she's drawn with Marketa Vondrousova

Caroline Wozniacki rounds out the draw and meets a former champion here in Sam Stosur. The Australian has struggled mightily over the last few years but could send some massive shockwaves with a win here which would mean major implications within the draw. 

Quarterfinals: Naomi Osaka vs Kiki Bertens

Semifinalist: Kiki Bertens

First Round Matches To Watch For: Kvitova-Wickmayer, Danielle Collins vs Aryna Sabalenka, Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs Belinda Bencic, Babos vs Kasatkina, Bertens vs Kr. Pliskova, Vondrousova vs Buzarnescu,  Stosur vs Wozniacki

Kiki Bertens with her Cincinnati title
Kiki Bertens with her Cincinnati title

Semifinals and Finals Predictions

Semifinals

Simona Halep def. Sloane Stpehens

Angelique Kerber def. Kiki Bertens

Finals

Simona Halep def. Angelique Kerber