The USTA has announced that all 102 of the world’s top women, including 2012 Grand Slam singles champions Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Victoria Azarenka are entered in the women’s singles field for the 2012 U.S. Open Tennis Championships. Williams, Sharapova and Azarenka will be joined in the field by former U.S. Open champions Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur, the defending champion. In all, 37 different countries will be represented in the women’s field.
The 2012 U.S. Open will be played Aug. 27-Sept. 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Both the men’s and women’s U.S. Open singles champions will earn $1.9 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.9 million potential payout) based on their performances in the Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series. The U.S. Open Women’s Singles Championship is presented by JPMorgan Chase.
Three-time U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters will make her final appearance in Flushing Meadows after announcing she will retire this year. Clijsters won the 2005, 2009 and 2010 U.S. Open. She holds a 21-match winning streak at the U.S. Open having not competed in Flushing from 2006-2008 and last year. In 2009, Clijsters became the first unseeded player and first wild card to win the U.S. Open women’s singles title.
Leading the entry list is world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who won her first Grand Slam singles title at the 2012 Australian Open, defeating Maria Sharapova in the final. With the win, Azarenka ascended to number one in the world for the first time in her career.
Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, is ranked a career-high number two in the world. She pushed Serena Williams to three sets in the 2012 Wimbledon final and became the first Polish player in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam singles final.
World number three Maria Sharapova of Russia, won the 2012 French Open title and subsequently captured the career Grand Slam with the win. She also regained the world number one ranking following the French Open and through Wimbledon—a ranking she had not held since May 2008.
Following Azarenka, Radwanska, and Sharapova on the entry list are number four Serena Williams, who won her fifth Wimbledon title this year and 14th Grand Slam singles title overall; number five Samantha Stosur of Australia, the defending U.S. Open champion; number six Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, the 2011 Wimbledon champion; number seven Angelique Kerber of Germany, a 2012 Wimbledon semifinalist; number eight Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, the 2009 U.S. Open runner-up; number nine Sara Errani of Italy, the 2012 French Open runner-up; and number 10 Marion Bartoli of France, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up.
Altogether, there are 10 players who have won Grand Slam singles titles in their careers competing in the U.S. Open this year, including former world number one Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, who won the 2008 French Open, and 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.
Virginie Razzano of France, ranked 102nd in the world, is the last player accepted directly into the women’s field of 128. Additionally, two players used protected rankings to gain direct entry—Agnes Szavay of Hungary and Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland. Sixteen more players will gain entry through the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament, Aug. 21-24, while the remaining eight spots are wild cards awarded by the USTA.
Other American women who received direct entry into this year’s tournament include: Number 27 Christina McHale of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and number 44 Varvara Lepchenko of Allentown, Pa., who both train at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at the USTA Training Center-East and have been named to the U.S. Olympic Team; number 50 Sloane Stephens of Coral Springs, Fla.; number 59 Vania King of Boynton Beach, Fla.; number 68 Venus Williams of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., the 2000 and 2001 U.S. Open champion; number 69 Coco Vandeweghe of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the 2008 U.S. Open girls’ singles champion; number 84 Jamie Hampton of Auburn, Ala.; and 85th-ranked Irina Falconi of Atlanta.
Among the players competing in the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the third annual US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship presented by playtennis.com, held during the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in New Haven, Conn., prior to the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs last year 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 13 Sectional Qualifying Tournaments.