Nadal, Raducanu, Williams, Alcaraz, others, target US Open triumph

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor

With the year fast coming to an end, tennis stars will hope to round the 2022 season on a remarkable note, and when they reminisce on the season’s performance years after, would be impressed with what they achieved.

The Australian Open was the first of the Grand Slam events that was held, where Rafael Nadal clinched his 21st Grand Slam title before extending it to 22 in the French Open.

Though the Spaniard was eager to extend his Grand Slam title to 23 at Wimbledon 2022, an abdominal injury forced him out of the competition which was eventually defended by former topmost ranked player Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic encountered a lot of barefaced challenges during the 2022 season following his refusal to take the covid-19 jab.

Firstly, the Serb, who made headlines after he was denied entry into Australia to defend the Australian Open title he won in 2021, has withdrawn from participating in final Gram Slam event of the year over his covid-19 status.

The US Open will play host to top-ranked tennis players with Emma Raducanu expected to defend her title in the event.

Ranked number 11 in the world, the teenager never thought she could defy the odds to win the title as she played through the qualifying stages at Flushing Meadows in 2021.

The British kickstart her title defence on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at the Louis Armstrong Stadium, against world-ranked number 44 Alize Cornet in the first round after losing to Jessica Pegula 7-5, 6-4 in the final of Cincinnati Masters.

In another vein, Serena Williams will aim to spectacularly ice her retirement from the sport with a 24th Grand Slam win.

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Williams, who recently indicated her intentions to retire from tennis, would seek to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam wins after it has become clear that the American, who turns 41 next month, can no longer upset the record.

Moreover, the women’s draw which was highly dominated by Williams during her active years has become unpredictable with 14 women winning a Grand Slam singles title since her last title in 2017.

Also in the women’s draw, spectators will watch out for Dane Clara Tauson and the Chinese triumvirate of Zheng Qinwen, Wang Xiyu and Wang Xinyu while 18 years old Coco Gauff, a proven performer, will hope to make it through the first round against French Leolia Jeanjean at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Meanwhile, teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz of course leads the charge for the teenage men, backed up by 19-year-old Dane Holger Rune and Britain’s 20-year-old Jack Draper.

The Spaniard kickstart his run for a US Open triumph against Argentine Sebastian Baez in the first round at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday, 30 August, 2022.

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