Halep ready for Sharapova battle

Hope Soto
August 28, 2017

"Finals are more special than semi-finals".

While two of the top men's tennis players will not be playing in this event, including reigning champion Stan Wawrinka, it should be an exciting tournament nevertheless. Last year, she got to the third round, then skipped out on a scholarship to Stanford to turn pro. I mean, there is, like, I don't know, 60-plus players in between us that don't agree in our section (of the draw) that we should make it to the semis.

Serena Williams' continued absence will leave the championship wide-open as the top stars fight for the major title.

The US Open broke ranks with the other grand slams by offering a wild card to Sharapova, whose ranking is still down at 147 following her 15-month doping ban. This is so so special.

Halep's season has been consistent, but if one or two notable matches went her way, we would be talking about Halep having a great season rather than just a good one.

But all the signs are that the US Open will at last deliver one of the biggest achievement of her career. "It wouldn't shock me if she pulled off the huge upset".

She has some tricky customers in her quarter, including Kristina Mladenovic, Agnieszka Radwanska and Coco Vandeweghe, though the highest ranked woman is that last of the eight in contention for No1. "I guess when someone has been banned or out of competition, I think you have to work for it a little bit to go and play your tournaments", the Wimbledon champion said.

"I'm coming in with no matches, " she added.

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However, things are looking very rosy for the top 2 players both in the world and in the betting, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer. However, once more, an arm injury prevented Sharapova from playing at the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati. It is still hard though to not think that these prices still represent value.

Second-seeded Andy Murray of Scotland, who has been battling a hip injury, appears to have a less threatening draw, with eighth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 12th-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreño Busta and French No. 16 seed Lucas Pouille the biggest threats on paper.

Nadal will take on Serbia's Dusan Lajovic in the first round, while seventh-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, fresh off capturing his first-ever ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati, looms as a possible quarterfinal opponent.

Sharapova has never been the most popular in the women's locker room and her counterparts are now numb to the subject on whether she deserved a wild card here.

Given her lack of action, an opening test against Halep is not ideal.

After reaching the top of the rankings a year ago, Kerber admitted it's hard staying at the pinnacle. If the feeling is that that could be one step too far at the age of 37, she can be backed to reach the final at 6/1.

In the absence of the queen, Serena Williams pregnant, Sharapova has been the attraction of the tournament to NY after having received of the organizers for an invitation (wild card) to turn definitively the page of suspension of fifteen months for doping in the meldonium.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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