US Open 2013: Defending champion Serena Williams tops women’s seeds
US Open 2013: World No1 Serena Williams is named as the top seed ahead of Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova
She will be the defending champion in New York, and she won the French Open this year, too, along with seven other titles, making Serena Williams’ 2013 her best season since 2002.
She has played more pre-US Open matches than in any other season in her career, concluding with a run to the final in Cincinnati last week, to stack up 60 wins to just four losses.
As a result, she leads her nearest rival in the rankings by almost 3,000 points. Little wonder, and precious little surprise, that Williams, who has been world No1 since February, will be the top seed as she embarks on the defence of her title at the US Open.
Little surprise, too, that Victoria Azarenka, her biggest rival this year, the Australian Open titlist and the winner in two of the three finals they have played this year, is the second seed.
The other woman to have shared the limelight in 2013, Maria Sharapova, who held the No2 spot for most of the spring season after a stunning sequence of finals and titles through Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, Madrid and Roland Garros, has been pipped into third place after an injury-blighted post-Wimbledon stretch.
So this trio, which has dominated the women’s tour for much of the last two years, will be keen to see where Sharapova falls come the draw: with Williams or with Azarenka?
But below them, too, the picture has changed little in the aftermath of the clay season. Agnieszka Radwanska, a near constant at No4, is still there, and fulfilled her ranking with a semi finish at Wimbledon to back up her final finish there last year. That consistency also took her to the quarters of the other two Slams this year.
In the next four—the set scheduled to meet the top quartet in the quarter-finals, are also the usual suspects: Sara Errani, Na Li, Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova are Grand Slam finalists or titlists all, though No9 Kvitova only made this most valuable of cuts following the shock retirement of Marion Bartoli last week. The Frenchwoman’s Wimbledon win saw her at No7 in the rankings, but no more.
Losing out on a top-eight place was Angelique Kerber, who fell to No10 only this week after winning just two matches through Toronto and Cincinnati. The rest of the top 20 has seen little movement since Wimbledon, so Sloane Stephens may count herself lucky to squeeze the last top-16 seeding from her No17 ranking. She will not have to face a higher seed until the fourth round.
With no-one else absent from the top 33 ranked women, the seedings depart little from the last Grand Slam with the exception of Toronto quarter-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova, who rose to a career-high 31 this week to enjoy her first Grand Slam seeding.
Briton Laura Robson, who made a breakthrough Grand Slam run to the fourth round in New York a year ago, has climbed steadily since her then ranking of 89 to a current 32, and is thus also seeded in a Major for the first time—and the first British woman since Jo Durie at the 1987 Australian Open.
Women’s seeds (and absentees):
1 Serena Williams, United States
2 Victoria Azarenka, Belarus
3 Maria Sharapova, Russia
4 Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland
5 Sara Errani, Italy
6 Li Na, China
7 Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark (Marion Bartoli retired)
8 Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic
9 Angelique Kerber, Germany
10 Jelena Jankovic, Serbia
11 Roberta Vinci, Italy
12 Samantha Stosur, Australia
13 Kirsten Flipkens, Belgium
14 Ana Ivanovic, Serbia
15 Maria Kirilenko, Russia
16 Sloane Stephens, United States
17 Sabine Lisicki, Germany
18 Dominika Cibulkova, Slovakia
19 Carla Suarez Navarro, Spain
20 Sorana Cirstea, Romania
21 Nadia Petrova, Russia
22 Simona Halep, Romania
23 Elena Vesnina, Russia
24 Jamie Hampton, United States
25 Ekaterina Makarova, Russia
26 Kaia Kanepi, Estonia
27 Alize Cornet, France
28 Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia
29 Mona Barthel, Germany
30 Magdalena Rybarikova, Slovakia
31 Laura Robson, Great Britain
32 Klara Zakopalova, Czech Republic
Wild cards: Ashleigh Barty (Australia), Nicole Gibbs (US), Vania King (US), Pauline Parmentier (France), Alison Riske (US), Shelby Rogers (US), Maria Sanchez (US), Sachia Vickery (US).