Women’s 2016 US Open – Third Round Set

A rain delay interrupted Thursday’s action in the women’s 2016 US Open draw. However, all scheduled matches were still completed.

The second round of the 2016 US Open was completed on Thursday. Garbine Muguruza, after suffering a Wednesday defeat, is the highest seed that won’t be competing in the third round. Other than her all of the other high seeds at Flushing Meadows remain on course for the quarterfinals.

The following are my projections for the most-likely players to make the final eight:

(1) Serena Williams vs. (5) Simona Halep

(4) Agnieszka Radwanska vs. (6) Venus Williams

(8) Madison Keys vs. (24) Belinda Bencic (Johanna Konta seeded higher)

(2) Angelique Kerber vs. (12) Dominika Cibulkova (Roberta Vinci seeded higher)

Serena Williams, following a straight-sets win on Thursday over Vania King, looks very safe in the days ahead. The No. 1 seed has a draw through the next two rounds that can’t go through anyone more proven than Yaroslava Shvedova. With superior talent and a soft draw, Williams looks like the player most likely to make the final eight next week with Halep the American’s most likely opponent.

Players not mentioned in the eight above that are interesting include Caroline Wozniacki, Karolina Pliskova, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The Dane, who was the subject of a recent article, might challenge Keys for a spot in the quarters. Pliskova, who won Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago, and Pavlyuchenkova will meet in the third round on Friday. The winner of that match may very well face Venus Williams in what is a tough section of the middle-round draw. However, Agnieszka Radwanska may be vulnerable to an upset at Flushing Meadows, so whoever pushes through in Venus’ section might end up in the semifinals as well.

Belinda Bencic is the lowest seeded player that I have making the quarters. The teenager has gone through a tough time the last several months with fitness and injury concerns. She faces Johanna Konta in the next round and then, surviving that, an unseeded player. Following strong play in the opening two rounds, Bencic appears to be getting back to her best tennis and that should mean that only the best players will be able to take her out.

With Cibulkova, she is outseeded by last year’s runnerup Roberta Vinci. However, Vinci’s run to the final last season was quite the anomaly. The 7 seed is in danger of elimination in the next two rounds, a result that would send her on a ranking slide. Cibulkova, who has played sharp in recent months, appears to have a workable path to the quarters.

Projecting the final starts to get a little difficult. Surely Keys is poised to do some major damage, however she has lost a lot of big matches this season. Kerber remains the player most likely to advance to the final from the bottom half of the draw in my view, while I see the survivor of the Williams/Halep quarter as the finalist on the women’s top half of the draw.

The final for the US Open is next Saturday, September 10th, from New York with a Kerber/Serena match-up still alive.

 

Shane Lambert