- Associated Press - Friday, August 22, 2014

Women to watch at the U.S. Open, which begins Monday:

SERENA WILLIAMS

Seeded: 1

Ranked: 1

Age: 32

Country: United States

2014 Match Record: 38-6

2014 Singles Titles: 5

Career Singles Titles: 62

Major Titles: 17 - U.S. Open (‘99, ‘02, ‘08, ‘12, ‘13), Wimbledon (‘02, ‘03, ‘09, ‘10, ‘12), Australian Open (‘03, ‘05, ‘07, ‘09, ‘10), French Open (‘02, ‘13)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: ‘13-Won Championship, ‘12-Won Championship, ‘11-Lost in Final, ‘10-Did Not Play, ‘09-SF

Topspin: At majors in 2014, lost in fourth round at Australian Open, second round at French Open, third round at Wimbledon. … Two-time defending champion at U.S. Open; trying to win three consecutive titles at one of tennis’ major tournaments for first time. … Last woman with a “three-peat” in New York was Chris Evert, who won four trophies in a row from 1975-78.

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SIMONA HALEP

Seeded: 2

Ranked: 2

Age: 23

Country: Romania

2014 Match Record: 38-11

2014 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 8

Major Titles: 0 - Best: F, French Open (‘14)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: ‘13-4th, ‘12-2nd, ‘11-2nd, ‘10-1st

Topspin: Made only one third-round run in her first 13 career Grand Slam appearances, but starting with last year’s U.S. Open, hasn’t lost before the fourth round in her last four majors. … Not much power to her game; relies instead on angles and court coverage.

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PETRA KVITOVA

Seeded: 3

Ranked: 4

Age: 24

Country: Czech Republic

2014 Match Record: 28-12 (Playing in Connecticut Open)

2014 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 12

Major Titles: 2 - Wimbledon (‘11, ‘14)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: ‘13-3rd, ‘12-4th, ‘11-1st, ‘10-3rd, ‘09-4th

Topspin: Trying to become the first woman other than the Williams sisters to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the same year since Martina Hingis in 1997. … Tough draw includes first-round match against up-and-comer Kristina Mladenovic, possible third-rounder against big-hitting American Madison Key, and possible fourth-rounder against past major champions Victoria Azarenka or Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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MARIA SHARAPOVA

Seeded: 5

Ranked: 6

Age: 27

Country: Russia

2014 Match Record: 38-9

2014 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 32

Major Titles: 5 - U.S. Open (‘06), Wimbledon (‘04), French Open (‘12, ‘14), Australian Open (‘08)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: ‘13-DNP, ‘12-SF, ‘11-3rd, ‘10-4th, ‘09-3rd

Topspin: Missed last year’s tournament with an injury to her right shoulder, which has given her trouble off and on over the past several seasons. … Winning 46.2 percent of her return games this season, fifth-best on tour.

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EUGENIE BOUCHARD

Seeded: 7

Ranked: 8

Age: 20

Country: Canada

2014 Match Record: 37-17

2014 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 1

Major Titles: 0 - Best: F, Wimbledon (‘14)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: ‘13-2nd, ‘12-DNP, ‘11-DNP, ‘10-DNP, ‘09-DNP

Topspin: Only woman to reach at least the semifinals at all three Grand Slam tournaments in 2014, including first major final at Wimbledon last month. … Only 1-3 on hard courts in run-up to U.S. Open. … Does not rank in top 10 of WTA this season in any of 10 significant serve or return statistical categories.

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ANA IVANOVIC

Seeded: 8

Ranked: 9

Age: 26

Country: Serbia

2014 Match Record: 47-13

2014 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 14

Major Titles: 1 - French Open (‘08)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: ‘13-4th, ‘12-QF, ‘11-4th, ‘10-4th, ‘09-1st

Topspin: Leads WTA in match wins this season. … U.S. Open is only Grand Slam tournament where she hasn’t made at least one semifinal appearance. … Two of her three losses at hard-court tuneups came against the No. 1-ranked Williams.

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VENUS WILLIAMS

Seeded: 19

Ranked: 20

Age: 34

Country: United States

2014 Match Record: 24-11

2014 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 45

Major Titles: 7 - U.S. Open (‘00, ‘01), Wimbledon (‘00, ‘01, ‘05, ‘07, ‘08)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: ‘13-2nd, ‘12-2nd, ‘11-2nd, ‘10-SF, ‘09-4th

Topspin: Making her 64th career Grand Slam appearance, most among active players and tied for third in the Open era, behind Amy Frazier’s 71. … Run to final in Montreal in August - which included victory over younger sister Serena - showed that she can still summon hard-court success.

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SLOANE STEPHENS

Seeded: 21

Ranked: 22

Age: 21

Country: United States

2014 Match Record: 20-18

2014 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 0

Major Titles: 0 - Best: SF, at Australian Open (‘13)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: ‘13-4th, ‘12-3rd, ‘11-3rd, ‘10-DNP, ‘09-DNP

Topspin: Considered “next big thing” in U.S. tennis, has taken a step back this season, including first-round loss at Wimbledon that ended streak of six second-week appearances at majors. … Tends to enjoy big stages, and game works well on hard courts, so could make a move at Flushing Meadows, if able to get past potential third-rounder against 2008 runner-up Jelena Jankovic.

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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