Former US Open champion Maria Sharapova will make her first Grand Slam appearance in more than 18 months after being given a wild card into the main draw of the US Open.
The 2006 champion in New York, the winner of five major singles titles, headlines a list of seven women who have been awarded entry into the final Grand Slam of the season.
Sharapova, a former world No. 1, joins USTA Girls’ 18s Nationals champion Ashley Kratzer, US Open Wild Card Challenge winner Sofia Kenin and NCAA singles champion Brienne Minor in the main draw. Also gaining spots in the 128-player field are young Americans Kayla Day, last year's US Open junior champion, and Taylor Townsend, also a former Grand Slam junior champion and junior world No. 1.
Through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation, the USTA awarded a wild card to Amandine Hesse, ranked No. 206 in the world. An additional wild card will be provided at a later date via an agreement with Tennis Australia.
Sharapova has played in the US Open main draw 10 times before. In her last visit to New York, in 2014, she fell to Caroline Wozniacki in the round of 16. The Russian, who has never lost a first-round match at Flushing Meadows, will be unseeded for just the second time. In her US Open debut in 2003, Sharapova was ranked No. 54. She is currently No. 148.
Kratzer and Minor will each make their Grand Slam singles main draw debuts at the Open. Kratzer, 18, will look to follow predecessors Day (2016), CiCi Bellis (2014) and Sachia Vickery (2013) as USTA Girls’ 18s Nationals champions to win their first-round matches, while University of Michigan sophomore Minor will hope to build on her collegiate campaign, which saw her become the first African-American woman to win the NCAA Division I singles tennis title.
For Kenin, it will be her third consecutive year in the main draw of the US Open. She won the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship to earn a spot in 2015 and also won the US Open Wild Card Challenge a year ago.
Day reached the second round in her main draw debut in New York last summer by defeating fellow American Madison Brengle. Townsend will play in the main draw of the US Open for the third time following appearances in 2014 and 2016.
The final US Open women's wild card will be awarded to the Australian player who wins a single-elimination playoff tournament in New Haven, Conn., this weekend. It will be between Arina Rodionova, Destanee Aiava, Lizette Cabrera, Jaimee Fourlis, Ellen Perez, Olivia Rogowska, Kimberly Birrell and Priscilla Hon. Perez won the playoff last year to earn a wild card into the US Open, while Fourlis won the wild card playoffs for both the Australian Open and Roland Garros earlier this year.
In addition to the eight US Open women’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced the nine women who have been awarded wild-card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held Aug. 22-25 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Players receiving US Open qualifying wild cards are: former world junior No. 5 and 2016 Wimbledon girls' doubles champion Usue Arconada (18, College Park, Md.); 2017 Girls’ 18s finalist Kelly Chen (18, Cerritos, Calif.); 2017 NCAA doubles champion and Ohio State All-American Francesca Di Lorenzo (20, New Albany, Ohio); former world No. 87 Victoria Duval (21, Bradenton, Fla.); rising Pepperdine sophomore Ashley Lahey (17, Hawthorne, Calif.); 2017 Wimbledon girls’ finalist Ann Li (17, Devon, Pa.); 2017 Wimbledon girls’ champion and world junior No. 1 Claire Liu (17, Thousand Oaks, Calif.); 2017 French Open girls’ champion Whitney Osuigwe (15, Bradenton, Fla.); and nine-time USTA Pro Circuit singles champion Katerina Stewart (20, Miami), who spent the last year at West Point.