2014 U.S. OPEN PREVIEW
What: The year's last Grand Slam tennis tournament.
When: Play begins Monday. The women's singles final is Sunday, Sept. 7; the men's singles final is Monday, Sept. 8.
Where: USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
Last year: The top two seeds paired off in both finals. Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6–2, 3–6, 6–4, 6–1, and Serena Williams beat Victoria Azarenka 7–5, 6–7 (6), 6–1.
TV: CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, Tennis Channel.
Men's top seeds
1. Novak Djokovic, Serbia
2. Roger Federer, Switzerland
3. Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland
4. David Ferrer, Spain
5. Milos Raonic, Canada
6. Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic
7. Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria
8. Andy Murray, Great Britain
women's top seeds
1. Serena Williams, United States
2. Simona Halep, Romania
3. Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic
4. Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland
5. Maria Sharapova, Russia
6. Angelique Kerber, Germany
7. Eugenie Bouchard, Canada
8. Ana Ivanovic, Serbia
New kids: If there is going to be a first-time men's major champion, two popular picks are Milos Raonic of Canada and Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. Each is 23; each made his Slam semifinal debut at Wimbledon. While Dimitrov has never won a U.S. Open match, Raonic reached the fourth round the past two years.
Serena's major concern: Serena Williams could become the first woman in nearly 40 years to win three consecutive U.S. Opens, but she has not been past the fourth round at a major in 2014.
Hard time on hard courts: Can't list contenders without naming Maria Sharapova, whose five major championships include the 2006 U.S. Open. Or Eugenie Bouchard, the only woman to reach three Grand Slam semifinals in 2014. Neither, though, has looked great on hard courts lately.
Injuries take a toll: In addition to Rafael Nadal, who is skipping the U.S. Open for the second time in three years, China's Li Na — the No. 3-ranked woman and one of this season's Grand Slam champions — is absent with a knee injury.
Roof on the way: After all the rain in recent years, the first significant steps have been taken toward putting a retractable roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium. The project is expected to be ready for the 2016 U.S. Open.