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GTL presents: our top 5 dark horses for the 2022 US Open women's tournament

We listed five players seeded #21 or lower we expect to cause major upsets in the coming weeks!

We are just hours away from the start of the first matches and tension is rising for everyone involved. Players, fans, journalists, commentators, fantasy league enthusiasts, everyone is getting ready for what is bound to be another great Grand Slam of tennis. And what better way to build on that hype than talking about some amazing talent that will cause an upset or two in the matches to come? Here are the top five "dark horses" we see doing well in this years US Open:

1. Qinwen Zheng

19 Years old

Current WTA rank: #39

US Open debut

A lot has been written about Qinwen Zheng's near defeat of Iga Swiatek at Roland Garros. Since that breakthrough slam it has become more quiet around the second highest ranked Chinese player on tour. But Qinwen has continued to do what she does so well: win matches even against the odds. Her 19-8 hardcourt record this year is impressive to say the least. Zheng is coming into this US Open on decent form, making the quarterfinals in Toronto where she lost against Karolina Pliskova in three sets.

Zheng has mentioned in interviews that she wants to get into the top-30 before the end of the year and a few wins in New York could make this dream reality. We are very excited to see if she has another surprise or two up her sleeves. Her draw is pretty tough but if she can overcome Jelena Ostapenko in the first round she can definitely go far and claim some more names!

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GTL Projected route®

R128: Jelena Ostapenko (16)

R64: Claire Liu

R32: Amanda Anisimova (24

R16: Iga Swiatek (1)

2. Elena Rybakina (#25)

23 Years old

Current WTA rank: #25

Best US Open: R32 (2021)

Naming Nick Kyrgios as a "dark horse" in the men's article yesterday already felt like cheating but naming the Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina as one feels even worse. But in this strange season with 0 WTA points at Wimbledon Rybakina comes into the US Open ranked 25th which means an early matchup with a top-10 player in the third round was unavoidable. She has been put in the same section as 6th seed Aryna Sabalenka and if they both make it there it will be an epic battle for sure.

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Sometimes a player can get a major win without playing any of the favorites but Rybakina did the opposite two months ago. She beat Andreescu, Zheng, Tomljanovic, Halep and Jabeur to claim her first Grand Slam title and we have a gut feeling she can do it again. Her 15-8 harcourt record is formidable and the surface suits her play well. Can the Kazakhstani shock the world once more? Rybakina has commented recently on the Wimbledon points case saying that "she doesn't feel like the Wimbledon champion" because of her lower ranking and inability to participate in the WTA race. We hope she can use this anger as a fuel to blaze through this tournament and shock the world once again!

GTL Projected route®

R128: Clara Burel

R64: Alison van Uytvanck

R32: Aryna Sabalenka (6)

R16: Naomi Osaka

3. Liudmila Samsonova

23 Years old

Current WTA rank: #35

Best US Open: R64 (2021)

Samsonova might be a bit of an unknown player to the larger audience but her results year are excellent and she is slowly but surely climbing the rankings as a result. She is also coming into the US Open in hot form as she clinched the Cleveland WTA title in spectacular fashion without dropping a set and recording 4 breadsticks and one bagel in just five matches.

Just two weeks earlier she also clinched the Washington title, beating Kanepi, Raducanu and Mertens along the way. As we often see in women's grand slams, form is king and a player like Samsonova might have everything it takes to make a deep run in the coming weeks. We are definitely looking forward to seeing the young Russian's powerful forehand and flat backhand in action.

GTL Projected route®

R128: Sara Bejlek (Q)

R64: Leylah Fernandez (14)

R32: Barbora Krejcíková (23)

R16: Serena Williams

4. Alizé Cornet

32 Years old

Current WTA rank: #40

Best US Open: R16 (2020)

It feels like Alizé Cornet has been around forever. The ever smiling French player reached a career high of #11 all the way back in 2009 but she has been back to her best tennis this year. Cornet hit the highlights earlier in July when she ended the 37-match win streak of Iga Swiatek in in third round of Wimbledon but she has been reaching quarter finals of tournaments pretty consistently as well. Recently she has been a bit up-and down but she has said herself she likes the big occasion more than anything else.

With her experience she doesn't seem afraid to take on higher ranked players and that should lead to a fireworks first round match against defending champion Emma Raducanu. This might be the match of the first round and promises to be a real cracker. If she beats Raducanu there are a lot of opportunities in that part of the draw and we could see Alizé reach quite far on what could be her last US Open. She was thinking about retirement but her recent grand slam performances might bring her to extending her stay with us for a while. Let's hope she does well so we can keep enjoying her class and smile for a while.

GTL Projected route®

R128: Emma Raducanu (11)

R64: Taylor Townsend R32: Naomi Osaka R16: Elena Rybakina (25)

5. Serena Williams

40 Years old

Current WTA rank: #413

Best US Open: 6 time winner

A lot has been said and written about Serena Williams but as her rank still allows us to include her in this category we will not miss the chance to write about a potential Serena heist at this tournament. Her draw has been quite decent and we are absolutely positive Serena is fired up and ready to show the world her amazing talent once more. You could say she has nothing to prove with six (!) titles to her name already but Serena Williams is not an ordinary player. She will come out swinging for sure.

Her build up to the tournament has been a bit rough with losses against Emma Raducanu and Belinda Bencic but as her overall fitness seems to increase with every match we can only hope she finds her stride and puts on one last show before she "evolves away from tennis". We are all here for it and wish her the best of luck in her matches and will follow them with the greatest possible interest.

GTL Projected route®

R128: Danka Kovinic

R64: Anett Kontaveit (2) R32: Ajla Tomljanovic R16: Liudmila Samsonova

That will be all for today. Do you agree with our picks, or do you have other names in mind that could surprise us? Let us know in the comments and we will hopefully see you for one of our many watchalongs during this years US Open! Looking for more insights on the Ladies' draw? Check out the video below with the draw preview by our hosts JG and Ben.

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