The USTA announced that 97 of the top 100 women, including two-time defending US Open champion and reigning Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters, and fellow 2011 Grand Slam singles champions Li Na and Petra Kvitova, are entered in the women’s singles field for the 2011 US Open Tennis Championships. Clijsters, Li and Kvitova will be joined in the field by former US Open champions Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova. In all, 37 different countries are represented in the women’s field.
Serena Williams, who won the US Open in 1999, 2002 and 2008, utilized a special ranking to gain entry into the field after missing nearly an entire year of competition due to injury. Alona Bondarenko also gained entry via a special ranking.
The 2011 US Open will be played August 29 – September 11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn $1.8 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.8 million potential payout) based on their performances in the Olympus US Open Series. The US Open Women’s Singles Championship is presented by JPMorgan Chase.
Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova will miss this year’s event following her announcement that she is receiving treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and former world No. 1 Dinara Safina and Timea Bacsinszky will also sit out due to injuries.
Kim Clijsters of Belgium, the reigning US Open and Australian Open champion, will have the opportunity to win her second Grand Slam of the year, and fifth overall, at this year’s US Open. She will also attempt to become the first female to win three consecutive US Open singles titles since Chris Evert (1976-78). Additionally, she will look to extend her winning streak of 21 consecutive matches at the US Open, as she has won the title each of the last three times she has played (2005, 2009-10).
Altogether, there are nine players who have won Grand Slam singles titles in their careers competing in the US Open this year, including former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, who won the 2008 French Open, and 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.
Leading the entry list is world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who reached her first Grand Slam final at the 2009 US Open. Following Wozniacki on the entry list are No. 2 Kim Clijsters, the US Open champion in 2005, 2009 and 2010; No. 3 Vera Zvonareva of Russia, the 2010 US Open and Wimbledon runner-up; No. 4 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus; No. 5 Maria Sharapova of Russia, the 2006 US Open champion; No. 6 Li Na of China, the reigning French Open champion; No. 7 Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, the reigning Wimbledon champion; No. 8 Francesca Schiavone of Italy, the 2010 French Open champion; No. 9 Marion Bartoli of France, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up; and No. 10 Samantha Stosur of Australia, the 2010 French Open runner-up. Li and Kvitova will each attempt to win her first US Open and second career major title.
Other American women who received direct entry into this year’s tournament include No. 30 Bethanie Mattek-Sands of Phoenix, the highest-ranked American in the field; No. 35 Venus Williams of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., the 2000 and 2001 US Open champion; No. 67 Christina McHale of Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; No. 90 Vania King of Boynton Beach, Fla., the reigning US Open doubles champion; No. 99 Coco Vandeweghe of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the 2008 US Open girls’ singles champion; No. 100 Melanie Oudin of Marietta, Ga.; No. 101 Varvara Lepchenko of Allentown, Pa.; and No. 102 Irina Falconi of Atlanta.
Misaki Doi of Japan, ranked No. 105, was the 104th and last player accepted directly into the women’s field of 128. 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.
Among the players competing in the US Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the second annual US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship, held during the Olympus 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 16 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 2011 US Open will mark the culmination of the Olympus US Open Series, the North American summer season of 10 ATP World Tour and WTA events that began July 18. The US Open is the highest attended annual sporting event in the world. More than 80 million viewers watched the 2010 US Open on CBS Sports, ESPN2 and Tennis Channel, and international broadcasts reached 185 countries. In 2010, Rafael Nadal completed the career Grand Slam by defeating Novak Djokovic to win his first US Open title. In the women’s singles final, Kim Clijsters captured the title for the second consecutive year, defeating Vera Zvonareva to win her third career US Open title.
The 2011 US Open will be held Monday, August 29 through Sunday, September 11. Tickets for the 2011 US Open can be purchased four ways: 1) at USOpen.org; 2) by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; 3) at all Ticketmaster outlets; or 4) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office. American Express is the Official Card of the US Open.