Roger Federer, whose all-time record at Flushing Meadows is 51-5, is trying to become the first player in the Open Era to win six U.S. Open titles. The 28-year-old Swiss also hopes to join Ivan Lendl as the only players to reach the final at least seven consecutive years.
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Kim Clijsters carries a 14-match winning streak at the U.S. Open into this year's tournament, having captured titles in 2005 and '09 while skipping the event from '06 through '08. The Belgian injured her thigh on Aug. 19 against Vera Zvonareva in Montreal.
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"When will Andy win a Slam?" is the question that's come to haunt the 23-year-old Scot over the past year. Is this finally the major tournament where the fourth-ranked Andy Murray sheds the 800-pound gorilla from his back?
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A three-time Grand Slam champion -- including the 2006 U.S. Open -- Maria Sharapova is back in contention after slipping to No. 126 in the rankings after undergoing shoulder surgery.
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The eight-time major champion can complete a career Grand Slam with a victory at the U.S. Open, where he's never even reached the final. For the first time in years, Rafael Nadal enters the season-ending Grand Slam with a clean bill of health.
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The 10th-seed, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka has made the quarterfinals at three of the past six majors and seems poised for a breakthrough after a promising summer that included a victory over Maria Sharapova in the Stanford final.
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The 2008 Australian Open champion is back in the good graces of New Yorkers after last year's impromptu post-match hit with John McEnroe. With near-record highs in the Week 1 forecast, Novak Djokovic's reputation for wilting in extreme weather conditions may be tested.
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The elder Williams sister hasn't won in New York since going back-to-back in 2000 and '01, but she's had some rotten luck with the draw. Consider this: Venus has played the Open a total of 11 times; she's won it twice, missed it twice due to injury ... and lost to the eventual champion seven other times.
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It's been seven long years since Andy Roddick's first and only Grand Slam triumph at the 2003 U.S. Open. The 28-year-old's chances may hinge on whether he's fully recovered from a mysterious midsummer bout with mono.
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Caroline Wozniacki's run to last year's final was her national coming-out party. The 20-year-old Dane inherited the No. 1 seed when Serena Williams withdrew due to injury -- enduring criticism for her limited body of work -- but enters the Open in good form after last week's triumph in New Haven.
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Robin Soderling never quite sustained the momentum from that historic upset of Rafael Nadal at the 2009 French Open -- and subsequent run to the final -- but he's become a Top 10 fixture and legitimate threat at Slams. At Wimbledon, the Swede managed to snap Federer's record streak of 23 straight major semifinal appearances with a quarterfinal victory.
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Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S. Open winner, is one of just four former women's champions in the draw. She's suffered her share of inexplicable losses in 2010, but remains a viable threat in a watered-down women's draw.
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