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US OPEN '18: Serena Williams makes her return to New York

NEWS
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83   //    27 Aug 2018, 00:36 IST
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Women to watch at the U.S. Open, where play begins Monday:

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SIMONA HALEP

Seeded: 1

Ranked: 1

Age: 26

Country: Romania

2018 Match Record: 46-8

2018 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 18

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — French Open ('18)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-Lost in 1st Round, '16-QF, '15-SF, '14-3rd, '13-4th

Aces: Won two hard-court titles this season. ... Claimed her first Grand Slam title at the French Open in June. ... Wins nearly half of all return games, WTA's best rate.

Topspin: A year ago, exited in the first round against Maria Sharapova. This year, could face a Williams sister in the fourth round. ... If she's healthy, could make a deep run.

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CAROLINE WOZNIACKI

Seeded: 2

Ranked: 2

Age: 28

Country: Denmark

2018 Match Record: 32-12

2018 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 29

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — Australian Open ('18)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-2nd, '16-SF, '15-2nd, '14-F, '13-3rd

Aces: Third among active women with 21 career hard-court titles, trailing only the Williams sisters. ... Converts 52.1 percent of break-point chances, No. 2 on tour in 2018.

Topspin: Loves that she no longer has to hear questions about why she hasn't won a major tournament. ... Her counter-punching clearly can succeed in New York, where she's twice reached the final.

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SLOANE STEPHENS

Seeded: 3

Ranked: 3

Age: 25

Country: United States

2018 Match Record: 27-13

2018 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 6

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — U.S. Open ('17)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-Won Championship, '16-Did Not Play, '15-1st, '14-2nd, '13-4th

Aces: First attempt to defend a Grand Slam title. ... Last year's triumph capped a comeback after foot surgery.

Topspin: Boom-or-bust streak in Grand Slam tournaments continues: She has either reached the final (twice) or lost in the opening round (three times) at her past five majors.

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ANGELIQUE KERBER

Seeded: 4

Ranked: 4

Age: 30

Country: Germany

2018 Match Record: 40-14

2018 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 12

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 3 — U.S. Open ('16), Australian Open ('16), Wimbledon ('18)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-4th, '16-W, '15-3rd, '14-3rd, '13-4th

Aces: Reached at least the fourth round at 12 of 14 tournaments she entered this year, the best rate among top-10 players.

Topspin: Returned to the height of her powers with a Wimbledon title last month; one-third of her career trophies came at majors.

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MADISON KEYS

Seeded: 14

Ranked: 14

Age: 23

Country: United States

2018 Match Record: 21-11

2018 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 3

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: Runner-Up, U.S. Open ('17)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-Runner-Up, '16-4th, '15-4th, '14-2nd, '13-1st

Aces: Winning 61.6 percent of service points this season, ranking third on tour.

Topspin: Run to French Open semifinals showed overall development of her game. No reason she couldn't have another long stay in New York.

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SERENA WILLIAMS

Seeded: 17

Ranked: 26

Age: 36

Country: United States

2018 Match Record: 12-5

2018 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 72

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 23 — U.S. Open ('99, '02, '08, '12, '13, '14), Wimbledon ('02, '03, '09, '10, '12, '15, '16), Australian Open ('03, '05, '07, '09, '10, '15, '17), French Open ('02, '13, '15)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-DNP, '16-SF, '15-SF, '14-W, '13-W

Aces: Trying to win her first U.S. Open title since claiming a third in a row in 2014. ... Missed the tournament last year because she gave birth on Sept. 1.

Topspin: Never count out Williams, no matter what her form appears to be entering a tournament.

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MARIA SHARAPOVA

Seeded: 22

Ranked: 21

Age: 31

Country: Russia

2018 Match Record: 17-10

2018 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 36

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 5 — U.S. Open ('06), Wimbledon ('04), Australian Open ('08), French Open ('12, '14)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-4th, '16-DNP, '15-DNP, '14-4th, '13-DNP

Aces: 11-0 in first-round matches at Flushing Meadows. ... Hasn't been past the fourth round since 2012; missed the U.S. Open three of the past five years.

Topspin: Made Grand Slam return in New York in 2017 after absence of more than 1½ years because of a doping ban.

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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