WORLD NO. 1 AND SIX-TIME CHAMPION SERENA WILLIAMS LEADS 2016 US OPEN WOMEN’S SINGLES FIELD AND VIES TO WIN RECORD 23RD GRAND SLAM !

Fourteen U.S. Women Receive Direct Entry into the Main Draw –the Most of Any Country and the Most Since 2004 !

Field Includes Four Former US Open Singles Champions:

Serena Williams,Venus Williams, Samantha Stosur & Svetlana Kuznetsova !

NEW YORK(SMI-WIRE,07.21.16)– The USTA today announced that world No. 1 and six-time US Open champion Serena Williams leads the women’s singles field for the 2016 US Open Tennis Championships. Williams is joined by 101 of the world’s top 103 women, including 2016 Australian Open champion and world No. 2 Angelique Kerber, 2016 French Open champion and world No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza, two-time US Open champion and world No. 7 Venus Williams, 2015 US Open finalist Roberta Vinci, 2014 US Open finalistCaroline Wozniacki, and former US Open champions Samantha Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

 

In total, 37 different countries are represented in the women’s field. Fourteen U.S. women received direct entry into the main draw – the most of any country and the most direct entries for American women since 2004 when there were 15 entries.

 

The 2016 US Open will be played Monday, August 29, through Sunday, September 11, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The US Open Women’s Singles Championship is presented by J.P. Morgan.

 

Leading the entry list is world No. 1 Serena Williams, who won her sixth US Open crown in 2014, tying her with Chris Evert for the most US Open women’s singles titles in the Open Era. At this year’s US Open, Williams is looking to break the record for the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era. At Wimbledon, Williams tied Steffi Graf for the most major titles when Williams won her 22nd Grand Slam singles title.  

 

Joining Williams in the field’s top four are world No. 2 Kerber, of Germany, who defeated Serena Williams in the Australian Open final this year and also reached the 2016 Wimbledon final; No. 3 Muguruza, of Spain, the 2016 French Open champion and 2015 Wimbledon finalist; and No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, of Poland, the first Polish player to reach a Grand Slam singles final (2012 Wimbledon) and a 2016 Australian Open semifinalist.

 

Rounding out the top 10 entries are: No. 5 Simona Halep, of Romania, the 2014 French Open finalist and 2015 US Open semifinalist; No. 7 Venus Williams, of the United States, who won the US Open in 2000 and 2001 and is a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion; No. 8 Roberta Vinci, of Italy, who reached her first Grand Slam final at the US Open last year at age 32; No. 9 Carla Suárez Navarro, of Spain, a five-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, who reached the US Open quarterfinals in 2013; No. 10 Svetlana Kuznetsova, of Russia, the 2004 US Open champion and 2009 French Open champion; and world No. 11 Madison Keys, of the United States, a 2015 Australian Open semifinalist, who debuted in the Top 10 last month after winning her second career WTA title.

 

World No. 6 and two-time US Open singles finalist Victoria Azarenka will not be competing in this year’s US Open after announcing her pregnancy last week. 2006 US Open championMaria Sharapova, ranked No. 97 this week, will also not compete due to an ITF anti-doping provisional suspension, which is currently under appeal.

 

Nine players who have won Grand Slam singles titles in their careers are competing in the US Open this year, including two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (2011, 2014), former world No. 1 and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, of Serbia, and 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, of Italy.

 

Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich, ranked No. 103, is the last player accepted directly into the women’s field of 128. Azarenka and Sharapova are the only withdrawals. Three players are using a special ranking to gain entry into the main draw – No. 27 Peng Shuai, of China, No. 64 Galina Voskoboeva, of Kazakhstan, and No. 91 Vitalia Diatchenko, of Russia. Sixteen more players will gain entry through the US Open Qualifying Tournament, August 23-26, while the remaining eight spots are wild cards awarded by the USTA.

 

In addition to Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Keys, the other American women who received direct entry into this year’s tournament include: No. 23 Sloane Stephens, of Coral Springs, Fla., No. 35 Coco Vandeweghe, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., No. 52 Varvara Lepchenko, of Allentown, Pa., No. 55 Madison Brengle, of Dover, Del., No. 57 Shelby Rogers, of Charleston, S.C., No. 63 Christina McHale, of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., No. 69Louisa Chirico, of Harrison, N.Y., No.  70 Irina Falconi, of West Palm Beach, Fla., No. 71Nicole Gibbs, of Santa Monica, Calif., No. 78 Alison Riske, of Pittsburgh, and No. 101Samantha Crawford, of Tamarac, Fla.

 

Several of the young Americans listed above have had breakout performances on the WTA tour this year. Stephens, 23, won three WTA titles this year (Auckland, Acapulco, and Charleston); Vandeweghe, 24, won her second career WTA singles title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch; and Rogers, 23, advanced to her first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open. 

 

Among the players competing in the US Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the seventh annual US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship, held during the Emirates Airline US Open Series’ Connecticut Open in New Haven, Conn., prior to the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs in 2010 to allow players 14 and older, regardless of playing ability or nationality, to vie for a spot in the US Open Qualifying Tournament via one of 15 sectional qualifying tournaments.

 

The July 18 edition of the WTA rankings was used to determine the US Open main draw entry list. Seeds will be determined and announced closer to the start of the event.

The 2016 US Open will mark the culmination of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the North American summer season of seven ATP World Tour and WTA events that began this week in Stanford, California.

The US Open is the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world. 2016 marks the second year of an 11-year partnership between the USTA and ESPN, which will see the US Open carried on the ESPN family of networks through 2025. During this year’s US Open, ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to air nearly 130 hours of live match play with more than 1,200 hours of first-to-last ball coverage to be seen on ESPN3 on WatchESPN, which will also be available via the US Open website – USOpen.org.  In the continued expansion of its US Open coverage, ESPN will feature play from up to 12 courts.