Glory beckons as the US Open Series get underway

The US Open Series is upon us with hostilities already underway at the BB&T Atlanta Open, where Wimbledon semifinalist, John Isner is defending champion.

The women will kick off proceedings in San Jose as the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic serves off on Monday, with the Williams sisters, Victoria Azarenka and former world number one, Garbine Muguruza leading a star-studded field.

The US Open series started in 2004 and comprises seven tournaments all taking place in North America. These tournaments serve as lead up events to the final Grand Slam of the season – the US Open.

In the past, players who performed well in these events and accumulated the most points on the series leaderboard were entitled to bonus prize money of up to $1 million if they won the US Open. The United States Tennis Association (USTA), however, scrapped the bonus scheme last year.

The 2018 schedule for the US Open Series and defending champions:

— BB&T Atlanta Open (ATP), Atlanta – July 23-29, 2018 – John Isner.

— Citi Open (ATP), Washington D.C – July 30 – August 5, 2018 — Alexander Zverev.

— Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic (WTA), San Jose – July 30–August 5, 2018 – Madison Keys.

— Coupe Rogers (ATP), Toronto – August 6-12, 2018 – Alexander Zverev.

— Rogers Cup (WTA), Montreal – August 6-12, 2018 – Elina Svitolina.

— Cincinnati Masters (ATP), Cincinnati – August 12-19, 2018 – Grigor Dimitrov.

— Western & Southern Open (WTA), Cincinnati – August 12-19, 2018 – Garbine Muguruza.

— Connecticut Open (WTA), New Haven – August 19-25, 2018 – Daria Gavrilova.

— Winston-Salem Open (ATP), Winston-Salem – August 19-25, 2018 – Roberto Bautista Agut.

— US Open, New York – August 27 – September 9, 2018 – Rafael Nadal and Sloane Stephens.

Amongst all the big names that will feature across the tournaments, former world number one, Andy Murray will make a proper return to competitive action. The Brit, who’s now ranked No. 838 in the world as a result of his injury problems that lasted over a year, contested three matches across Queens and Eastbourne upon his return in June, but withdrew on the eve of Wimbledon this month as he wasn’t fully fit.

The 31-year-old’s first event will be the Citi Open in Washington DC, and he has also accepted a wildcard into the Rogers Cup in Toronto as he bids to kick start a resurgence.

The Rogers Cup or Coupe Rogers is a special event on the tennis calendar. The event splits itself between two cities in Canada — the men’s event also know as the Canada Masters, will be in Toronto, with Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic leading a packed field, while 21-year-old Alexander Zverev will seek to stave off stiff challenges in order to defend the title. The women’s event, meanwhile, will take place in Montreal as the crème de la crème of the WTA roll out to battle for supremacy.

Roger Federer, who turns 37 in two weeks, pulled out of the Rogers Cup as he continues to be meticulous with his schedule. The Swiss will, however, feature in Cincinnati in what might be his only warm up event before heading to New York for the US Open where he’ll bid to claim his 21st Grand Slam crown and 99th career singles title!

Unlike Federer, world number one, Rafael Nadal, will compete in Toronto, in what will be his first hard-court event since the Australian Open in January where he retired with an injury in the quarterfinals against Marin Cilic. The great Spaniard has lost just three matches this season and will definitely be a force to be reckoned with during this North American hard-court swing.

 Novak Djokovic, will look to keep up his blistering form as he heads into the US Open Series. The super Serb, now ranked 10th after a remarkable run at SW19, will play the Rogers Cup in Toronto, the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati and of course, the US Open in New York as he continues his incredible rise back to the zenith of men’s tennis.

Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin del Porto, South Korean sensation, Hyeon Chung, who’s returning from injury, Grigor Dimitrov, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson as well as Marin Cilic will be ones to watch out for.

And with Serena Williams rearing towards her devastating best, Simona Halep looking to make a good boast of her WTA top spot, Maria Sharapova seeking redemption and players like Daria Kasatkina, Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty gunning for credible recognition, this swing promises to be incredibly intense!

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