With Serena Williams giving birth to a daughter on Friday, the greatest female tennis player of all time is not intimidating the field of 128 at the 2017 U.S. Open. But there are still some women of color that are a force to be reckoned with looking to continue their winning ways in the tournament and possibly take home the championship. Here is a closer look at four of them.
Venus Williams. At the age of 37, the older sister of Serena continues to make noise in 2017. Fresh off a Wimbledon Finals loss, Venus is trying to make another deep tournament run and prove that age ain’t nothing but a number. Williams defeated Maria Sakkari to advance to the fourth round Sunday, where she will meet Carla Suárez Navarro.
Madison Keys. Ranked No. 16 in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings, the 22-year old Keys has already had her most successful Grand Slam tournament of 2017. She is seeking her first-ever breakthrough to a Grand Slam final and the U.S. Open may provide that opportunity next week. Keys takes on Russian Elena Vesnina this evening with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
Sloane Stephens. Like Madison Keys, the 24-year old Stephens has yet to break through to a Grand Slam final. Injuries caused her to miss three-straight Grand Slams, including the first two of 2017, but Sloane is healthy again and looking to fulfill her dream of holding up a Grand Slam trophy. Stephens will play against Julia Goerges Sunday.
Naomi Osaka. Representing Japan, the daughter of a Haitian father and a Japanese mother had the biggest win of the tournament thus far, knocking off the defending champion Angelique Kerber. At 19 years old, she is the youngest person on the list but also shows the most potential. A win today over Kaia Kanepi would put her in the round of 16 for the first time in her career. We should get used to Osaka going deep into tournaments.
Serena may be home as a first-time mother, but with Venus, Madison, Sloane and Naomi, there are still four black women competing in the 2017 US Open looking to make a name for themselves while Serena is away.