Stephane Houdet, Yui Kamiji and David Wagner will try to defend their respective singles titles at the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the year, beginning Thursday (6 September) in New York.
While Houdet’s second title last year saw the Frenchman become the fourth different player to win a men’s singles Grand Slam crown in 2017, Japan’s Shingo Kunieda’s victories at the Australian Open and Roland Garros ensured that there would be no repeat of that distribution this year.
With two Grand Slam titles and two Super Series titles to his name this season, Kunieda is also a strong candidate for victory in New York as he seeks his 22nd career Grand Slam singles title.
Houdet and Kunieda are the only two players to have won the US Open men’s trophy since 2007, with Kunieda having won the most recent of his six titles in 2015. However, Japan’s world No. 1 begins his latest challenge on the back of finishing runner-up to Great Britain’s world No. 2 Alfie Hewett at last week’s USTA Championships Super Series in St. Louis.
Hewett reached the men’s singles final in his US Open debut last year and is the only player to have beaten Kunieda twice this season so far.
Van Koot earns timely boost
The Netherlands’ world No.3 Aniek van Koot is a strong contender to regain a title she won in 2013, after she beat both fellow Dutch Diede de Groot and Japan’s Yui Kamiji to win last week’s Super Series crown in St. Louis.
World No. 1 De Groot and world No.2 Kamiji have largely dominated the women’s singles at the three Grand Slams so far in 2018. De Groot won her first Australian Open title and retained her Wimbledon title. Kamiji emerged victorious at Roland Garros, where she avenged her loss to de Groot in the decider at Melbourne Park.
Kamiji’s victory in the Roland Garros final is her only win over de Groot so far this season. De Groot has only lost four matches since the start of the year, and van Koot remains the only player to have beaten the world No. 1 twice since early January.
Kamiji, meanwhile, has lost only five matches this season ahead of her US Open title defence. Three of those losses have come against de Groot, while the other two have both come in matches against van Koot, who beat Kamiji to join de Groot in the Wimbledon final.
Three former champions battle
Once again the USA will be doubly represented in the quad singles and doubles draw, with current world No. 7 Bryan Barten having been awarded the wild card to join world No. 1 David Wagner in the line-up for the second year in a row.
In the singles draw, Barten will be joined by Wagner, Australia’s world No. 2 Dylan Alcott and Great Britain’s world No. 3 Andy Lapthorne, who are all former US Open champions. Wagner won his third quad singles title in New York in 2017, beating Lapthorne in the final, while the Brit triumphed back in 2014. Alcott, meanwhile, secured his only US Open singles title to date in 2015.
More on the US Open can be found on the International Tennis Federation’s website