Enda McElhinney makes his pick for the men's and women's singles at the 2023 US Open.
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The 2023 tennis season has been littered with excitement and there is still time for more thrills and spills as the players head to the US Open, the fourth and final Grand Slam event of the campaign.
There has been a change at the top of the men’s game with Carlos Alcaraz surging to the summit and the Spanish world number one, fresh from his success at Wimbledon, is out to defend his US Open crown.
However, having lost in that All England Club final, Novak Djokovic will be determined to bounce back and will be confident of doing so having defeated Alcaraz to claim some recent silverware in a warm-up event in Cincinnati.
Women’s world number one Iga Swiatek won the US Open last year but the Pole has plenty of challengers to her supremacy, with Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina and Cori Gauff spearheading the charge.
Sinner the clear threat to big two
Much like at Wimbledon, the US Open has the feeling of a two-horse race in the men’s event with one of the big two in Alcaraz or Djokovic likely to come to the fore.
However, with the draw yet to be made and this the final Grand Slam after a gruelling campaign, there is little appeal in piling into either at their respectively short price.
With Daniil Medvedev’s form having tailed off during this hard-court swing, this could be the time for Jannik Sinner to make his Grand Slam breakthrough.
The impressive Italian made the semi-final at Wimbledon this summer and was ultimately outclassed by Djokovic, who prevailed in straight sets on his beloved grass surface at SW19.
But the 23-time Grand Slam champion has won only three times at Flushing Meadows and hasn’t done so since 2018, so has a little bit to prove at 6/4 tournament favourite.
Sinner was beaten in the opening round last time out in Cincinnati, a tournament Djokovic won, but that came hot on the heels of him claiming his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Canada.
It is, therefore, likely that the 22-year-old was saving a bit for himself and still recovering from his heroics in the National Bank Open, where he had accounted for Matteo Berrettini, Gael Monfils, Tommy Paul and Alex De Minaur.
A quarter-finalist last year, Sinner looks primed for an even better showing at Flushing Meadows.
Tip: Jannik Sinner e/w
Gauff going through the gears
Swiatek, Sabalenka and Rybakina, the current big three in the women’s game, have plenty in their favour and are understandably going to have their army of supporters.
However, home favourite Coco Gauff is another that ticks a lot of boxes and the 19-year-old could take her game to new heights on the back of her recent win at the Cincinnati Masters.
That was Gauff’s fifth career title and it is her third of 2023 after wins in Washington DC and Auckland.
That victory also means she is the first teenager to win three WTA titles in one year since Bianca Andreescu in 2019 and that ought to have her confidence levels through the roof.
The most impressive aspect of her Cincinnati win was that she dropped only one set throughout and that came in her semi-final triumph against world number one Swiatek.
Gauff is already a Grand Slam runner-up, having made the final of the French Open in 2022, and it is surely a matter of time until she makes her mark at the top table.
The athletic American was a quarter-finalist in her home major last year and is evidently in rude enough health to build on that under conditions that clearly suit.
Tip: Coco Gauff e/w