US Open Tennis Preview 

Since 1978, the matches of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament have been played on the all-weather acrylic hard courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York. As the last of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments played each year, the U.S. Open attracts worldwide attention and puts tremendous pressure on ranked players. The 2013 event will be contested for a fortnight from 26 August through 9 September.

Defending champion Andy Murray, 26, of the U.K. carries the greatest burden of all going into the contest. He defeated Serbiaís Novak Djokovic in a grueling five sets to win the title in 2012, becoming the only British male to become a Grand Slam singles champion during the Open Era. Most recently, he dispatched the Serb again in the Wimbledon Final at on grass, creating high expectations for a blazing finish to his season at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic, of course, will not go down easily. He has clung to his #1 in the world ATP Singles ranking this deep into the season and needs the U.S. Open to finish on top of the leader board. Also in the chase will be five-time Open champion Roger Federer of Switzerland, currently ranked #5 and coming off an embarrassing second round ouster at Wimbledon. Likewise, Spainís Raphael Nadal, the 2010 Open winner currently ranked #4, will want to make up for his first round defeat at Wimbledon.

Not to be left out of any discussion of top-ranked menís tennis players is #3 David Ferrer of Spain, who reached the semifinals on the hard surface of the 2013 Australian Open before being stopped by Djokovic. He also finished runner-up to Nadal on clay at the 2013 French Open.

Other highly seeded male contenders will include the Czech Republicís Tomas Berdych, who is ranked #6 and made the quarterfinals in Australia as well as Argentinaís Juan Martin Del Potro at #7 and #8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of Belgium. The top-rated Americans in the U.S. Open will be #23 John Isner, who had some knee trouble early in the year, and #21 Sam Querrey, a Davis Cup standout whose right elbow has been bothered by some tendinitis of late.

On the womenís side of the tournament, everyone will be looking to American Serena Williams to bounce back from her recent poor showing at Wimbledon and defend her 2012 U.S. Open title that she won against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. The two are currently ranked #1 and #3 in the world by the WTA. Azarenka, who also had a bad visit to Wimbledon, is the two-time defending Australian Open champion and considered to be Williamsí biggest hard court threat.

The two champions will be joined as top seeds by #2 ranked Maria Sharapova of Russia and current #4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. Other women to watch as the tournament kicks off on 26 August are #5 Na Li of China, #6 Sara Errani of Italy and the reigning Wimbledon champion, #7 Marion Bartoli of France. Rounding out the top eight is Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic.

The Menís Singles and the Womenís Singles each feature a single-elimination format based upon a 128-player seeded draw. Other major knockout events during the two weeks of tennis action include Menís and Womenís Doubles based on a 64-team draw and Mixed Doubles with 32 teams in competition.

Matches in the Menís Singles and Doubles competitions are played and decided as best-of-five sets. All other events are based upon the best-of-three sets. Tiebreak games are played whenever the score reaches 6Ė6 in any set, including the final set, which makes the U.S. Open unique among Grand Slam tournaments. Also unlike most tournaments, the Womenís Final is played on the last Sunday rather Saturday, and the Menís Final takes place on a Monday, which falls on 9 September in 2013.

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