The Little Hawk

Innes and Lucy Take on the US Open

Three days into the final Grand Slam of the year, here are our predictions for who will win it all.

Lucy Wagner and Innes Hicsasmaz

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Earlier this week, Google’s homepage showcased its cartoon letters playing tennis, which can only mean one thing: the U.S. Open is officially in full swing.

The final Grand Slam of 2015, this year’s tournament is full of possibilities and expectations. All eyes are on Serena Williams as she hopes to tie her number of Grand Slam titles with Steffi Graf’s record of 22. Already completing a Serena Slam (winning last year’s U.S. Open, this year’s Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon), she is posed to bring home a fifth consecutive Slam title in the next few weeks.

For the men, it’s not as clear who will come out on top. Like every major tournament, Roger Federer is favored to win. But is it truly because people believe he can beat everyone else in the bracket, or because it just seems wrong to root for someone else? Currently No. 2 in the world, Federer has been considered the best player to walk on to a tennis court for the past decade, and we can’t help but wonder if it might be time for a new player to usurp his throne. We hope he proves us wrong, and he just might. His closest competition will be No. 1 Novak Djokovic, whom Federer has beaten many times, most recently at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. As for Rafael Nadal, who many believe would be the player to replace Federer, he has slipped down to No. 8 in the rankings due to multiple injuries. However, Nadal won his first match handily on Monday and is safely into the second round, so we wouldn’t be surprised if his left-handed power game helps propel him into at least the quarter-finals.

As for the women’s draw, Williams does not necessarily have a guaranteed victory. With long-time rival Maria Sharapova out of the tournament with an injury, it might seem like even more of an opportunity for Williams to seal the deal. However, we see it more as an opportunity for other players, especially young up-and-comers, to blow the bracket wide open. Without Sharapova to assert her dominance and experience, anything could happen. There are many talented players who could potentially make it to the finals. Caroline Wozniacki, Sabine Lisicki, Agnieszka Radwanska, Madison Keys, or Sloane Stephens – any of these players could end up facing Williams. 18-year old Swiss Belinda Bencic, for example, is making quite a name for herself. She plowed through many of the top players, Williams included, just a few weeks ago at the Western and Southern Open. We think it’d be interesting to see a Williams-Bencic match-up in the quarterfinals. It is always incredibly inspiring to see someone our age who plays our sport at such a high level; it’s difficult to not root for them.

Keep up on the US Open and check out The New York Times’ live blog.

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Innes and Lucy Take on the US Open