Barty eyes breakout US Open run
WITH seven different winners at the past seven majors, Ashleigh Barty believes anyone can win the US Open in New York.
But Australia's top title hope is refusing to look beyond a testing first-round encounter on Monday against talented Tunisian qualifier Ons Jabeur - a former French Open junior champion and one of Barty's best friends on tour.
"Ons and I played doubles together way back when in the junior days," Barty told AAP at Flushing Meadows.
"I've never played her in singles but know she's a very talented, crafty player. "She has absolutely no fear on the court and is willing to try whatever will work.
"She's got a lot of variety and a very good drop shot that I'll have to be looking out for." Barty's superb form before a head cold forced the world No. 17 out of her last scheduled lead-up event in New Haven suggests she should prevail in her opening encounter.
Her only two defeats in eight matches on American hard courts have been to world No. 1 Simona Halep.
"I feel great. I've had a really positive summer. I've played some really good tennis, lost to a quality opponent both weeks and there are certainly no red flags for me," the 22-year-old said.
"It's important for me to try and keep that going.
"Obviously I would love to go really deep and have a really good run but grand slams are always good for an upset or two.
"I'm just here to do what I can in this first round, focus on that and then we'll worry about the rest of it when it comes."
With Serena Williams yet to return to her dominant self, Barty knows opportunity knocks for any player in the world's top 50, or even lower.
Not one of the top 10 made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
"Wimbledon just showed some of the depth that women's tennis has. So many seeds fell and it wasn't from poor performances," Barty said.
"It was from great performances from players who are 30 to 40 and 50 in the world and that's the beauty of it now. There's so much depth.
"There are no easy matches and you have to be ready from the get go.
"The French Open was similar. There were a few girls that people weren't expecting (who excelled) so it comes down to who can put it all together the best."
The 18th seed is among five Australians in action on day one. Daria Gavrilova, the women's 25th seed, opens against Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo, while James Duckworth, Jordan Thompson and wildcard Jason Kubler fly the flag in the men's event.
Duckworth is relishing the chance to test out Andy Murray's surgically repaired hip in the unseeded former world No. 1's first grand slam appearance in 14 months.
Thompson plays Brit Cameron Norrie, while Kubler will make his long-awaited US Open main-draw debut against Spanish 19th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.