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Top Five 2012 U.S. Open Women's Contenders

Yahoo Contributor Network

The 2012 U.S. Open has arrived. New York once again welcomes the world's premier tennis players to its hard courts as they contend for the title. This year's women's draw promises to bring plenty of drama, featuring a field filled with seasoned veterans and promising young athletes.

Here are the women most likely to take the U.S. Open singles crown:

1. Serena Williams, United States: Williams seems unbeatable at times. Her outstanding career includes three U.S. Open singles championships between 1999 and 2008. Last year, Williams allowed her emotions to get in the way of her play in the U.S. Open final, where she lost to Samantha Stosur. As she plays in front of the home crowd this year, Williams has some recent momentum to build from. Less than a month ago, Williams embarrassed reigning French Open champion Maria Sharapova at the Olympic final in London 6-0, 6-1. Earlier in the year, Williams won her fifth career Wimbledon title.

2. Victoria Azarenka, Belarus: Despite being the top seed in the tournament and the #1 ranked player in the world, Azarenka has something to prove as she takes the court at the U.S. Open. Azarenka earned a victory at the Australian Open in January, but since then has been overshadowed by the performances of Williams and Sharapova. Following a loss to Williams in the Olympics, Azarenka aims to bounce back at Flushing Meadows.

3. Maria Sharapova, Russia: Sharapova's win at the French Open this year made her the only active tennis player other than Williams to have a career Grand Slam to her credit. The disappointing end Sharapova experienced at the London Games leaves some serious doubt in regards to her chances at the U.S. Open, particularly if she is forced to match up against Williams. Don't count the Russian out, though. She holds the 2006 U.S Open title, and is poised to add a second victory in the event this year.

4. Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland: Before running up against the challenging competition at Flushing Meadows, Radwanska bumped into another obstacle. A shoulder injury caused her to pull out of the New Haven Open, a tune-up tournament for the U.S. Open. Radwanska is seeded second, but if she's not at 100 percent, an already difficult task will become even more daunting. Her runner-up showing behind Williams at Wimbledon should serve as much-needed motivation.

5. Samantha Stosur, Australia: It's been a struggle for the Aussie since her surprising defeat of Williams at last year's U.S. Open final. Stosur has gone 21 consecutive tournaments without a victory, making her a longshot to grab back-to-back U.S. Open titles. Then again, she wasn't expected to win last year, either.

Aaron Griggs has enjoyed watching tennis for a long time, and began playing the sport when he chose it for a P.E. elective in college.

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