Defending Champion Naomi Osaka will be hoping to clinch her third title in four attempts as the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the year serves off on Monday.
Although a number of top rivals have withdrawn from the showdown she still has top ranked Wimbledon winner Ashleigh Barty among others to contend with.
What’s uncertain is whether New York will see Osaka rediscover the dominant form that saw her win the past two Grand Slam events she played to the finish.
The 23-year-old Japanese star lit the flame in the Olympic cauldron at the Tokyo Games, but has played only two matches since Japan ahead of the Open.
“I know there are a lot of things I need to fix within my game, so in a weird way I’m kind of glad that I lost, because there are so many things that I want to fix before New York,” Osaka said.
“I feel like my level is not that far off… if I want to keep being more positive with myself, I need to think about the things that I could improve on. There are definitely a lot of things.”
Osaka pulled out of the French Open after being fined for not talking to reporters after her first match, saying it hurt her mental health. She then skipped Wimbledon but spoke with the media after matches in her US Open tuneup at Cincinnati.
“I felt like it was something I needed to do for myself,” Osaka said. “I’m proud of what I did and I think it was something that needed to be done.
“Sometimes we feel like really sad, and I feel like maybe there should be a rule that we could maybe take a sick day from (answering questions).”
Osaka captured last year’s US Open title by defeating Victoria Azarenka in the final, becoming the first woman since 1994 to rally from a set down to win the US Open final.