US Open women’s draw: Ashleigh Barty gets tricky draw with Iga Swiatek, Bianca Andreescu in top half

Shahida Jacobs
Ashleigh Barty in action

Ashleigh Barty faces a difficult route to the final of the 2021 US Open as the world No 1 could face the likes of Jennifer Brady, Iga Swiatek and Bianca Andreescu fairly early on.

The two-time Grand Slam winner will kick off her tournament against former world No 2 Vera Zvonareva, who finished runner-up at Flushing Meadows in 2010.

If she comes through her first three matches then she could take on Jennifer Brady in the fourth-round. The 13th seeded American finished runner-up at this year’s Australian Open and was also a semi-finalist in New York last year.

The winner of that section could face either seventh seed Iga Swiatek, who won the 2020 French Open, or Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Belinda Bencic in the quarter-final.

Former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova leads section 3 and the fourth-seeded Czech will be up against Caty McNally from the United States in the first round with 14th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova possibly lurking in the fourth round.

Section 4 is headlined by 2019 US Open champion Andreescu, who faces Swiss Viktorija Golubic in the opening round, with two-time major champion Petra Kvitova the projected fourth-round opponent.

Defending champion Naomi Osaka starts as the favourite in section 6 and the world No 3 faces Marie Bouzkova in her opener, but teenage sensation Coco Gauff, who beat the Japanese star at the 2020 Australian Open, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and three-time major champion Angelique Kerber are all in the section.

The reward for reaching the quarter-final will in all likelihood be a clash against Elina Svitolina, but the fifth seed faces a difficult fourth-round match of her own with 12th seed Simona Halep the projected opponent.

World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka is the top seed in the bottom half and the Belarusian takes on Nina Stojanovic from Serbia in her opener with Elise Mertens a likely fourth-round opponent.

Reigning French Open champion and eighth seed Barbora Krejcikova and two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza are expected to slug it out in the fourth round and the winner will in all likelihood face Sabalenka in the quarter-final.

Of course the winner of that clash is projected to face Osaka in the semi-final.