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Five WTA Tour players to watch this hard-court season

The North American hard-court season began this week with the ATP Atlanta Open, but the WTA stars will enter the fray next week in San Jose.

That precedes events in Montreal, Cincinnati and Cleveland before the big one, the 2023 US Open, begins at the end of August.

Polish star Iga Swiatek, who claimed the third of her four Grand Slam titles at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center last season, will be aiming to win the French Open-US Open double for the second season in a row.

Swiatek is 9/4 to retain her title, with Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka a 5/1 shot ahead of 6/1 Elena Rybakina.

Below, we take a look at five WTA Tour stars who will bid to make their presence felt over the next few weeks.

What2023 US Open Women
WhereBillie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, New York
WhenMonday 28th August - Saturday 9th September, 2023
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming and Sky Sports
OddsIga Swiatek 9/4, Aryna Sabalenka 5/1, Elena Rybakina 6/1, Ons Jabeur 12/1, Coco Gauff 14/1

Swiatek hoping to cling on to top spot

It's impossible to discuss the North American hard-court season without talking about the hopes of Iga Swiatek, the Polish power who has been ranked number one on the WTA Tour since winning the Miami Open in April 2022.

Swiatek has added eight more titles to her trophy cabinet in that time, including three Grand Slams, but she fell short at Wimbledon again, losing at the quarter-final stage as her status as the women's top dog came under further pressure from Sabalenka.

The Pole will attempt to bolster her ranking points in Canada and Cincinnati before attempting to defend her US Open title at Flushing Meadows.

However, even though she has won titles in Miami and Indian Wells, Swiatek has somewhat surprisingly never been beyond the third round of either the Canadian Open or Cincinnati's Western & Southern Open.

It's hard to say whether Swiatek has regressed or whether others have caught up with her, but that air of invincibility has disappeared and odds of 9/4 about a US Open look could prove on the skinny side.

Sabalenka aiming to scale the WTA summit

Aryna Sabalenka came within two games of a Wimbledon final and the number one ranking when we last saw her and the Belarusian looks set for a big few weeks on the courts which arguably suit her the best.

The world number two finally made her Grand Slam breakthrough at the Australian Open in January and, at odds of 5/1, there is every chance she can complete the hard-court Slam double at the beginning of September.

A semi-finalist in the last two editions of the US Open, Sabalenka has taken her game to another level this season and she's one to watch in the warm-up events on the US Open series given she'll be motivated to surpass Swiatek at the summit.

Wimbledon champ has something to prove

Marketa Vondrousova was a surprise Wimbledon champion and it's hard to know how well the Czech will perform on the North American hard-courts.

On the one hand, she's never been beyond the fourth round of either the Australian Open or the US Open. On the other hand, she's an Olympic silver medalist who made her WTA Tour breakthrough on hard courts.

She has always been an enigmatic performer, however, and staying healthy will be key to whether she kicks on. She is 20/1 to make it back-to-back Grand Slams.

Keep an eye on rising star Andreeva

Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducanu all rose to prominence by winning the US Open and it wouldn't be a huge surprise if 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva was to follow in their footsteps at Flushing Meadows.

Andreeva was competing in juniors at the beginning of the season, reaching the Australian Open girls' singles final, losing out to doubles partner Alina Korneeva, but the Russian teenager has enjoyed a rapid rise to reach the top 70 in the world.

She has already impressed on the Grand Slam stage, reaching the third round of the French Open then going one better at Wimbledon, and odds of just 20/1 illustrate just how much potential she possesses.

Great Dane bids for successful return

As far as storylines are concerned, there might not be a better one than the return of popular Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who announced her comeback in a first-person essay in Vogue magazine in June.

Wozniacki, a two-time US Open beaten finalist, is set to play the Canadian Open and has received a wildcard for Flushing Meadows, for which she is a 66/1 shot.

The 33-year-old, who won her only Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2018, has also reached the semi-finals at the US Open on a further three occasions.

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