With the green lawns of Wimbledon in the rear-view mirror, the season moves back to the U.S. as the summer North American hard-court season gets underway.

With a few huge WTA stops, including Montreal and Cincinnati, leading into the final Grand Slam of the year in New York, here are the three biggest storylines to follow:


Who of the leading four will rise to the top on the hard courts?

It’s been a four-person juggernaut dominating the major tournaments of the WTA this year, with Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber making up the top four in the rankings and all holding current major titles.

The quartet have lead the way on tour this season, splitting nearly all of the biggest titles, but one will have to move ahead of the pack to hoist the US Open trophy come September. Will it be world No. 1 Halep, two-time finalist Wozniacki, defending champion Stephens or 2016 winner Kerber?



How will the returning champions fare?

Comebacks come in many different shapes and sizes, as the three biggest returners to the tour are proving. While Serena Williams has shown that motherhood won't stop her from winning, things have gone much differently for Maria Sharapova. In her over year-long return to the tour, she has made just one major quarterfinal and fell at the first hurdle in London.

And for Victoria Azarenka, while she tore up the hard courts with an impressive run to the last four in Miami, her clay and grass seasons have been far tougher. She's a former two-time finalist at the US Open and will be happy to be back on hard. How these three fare at another major is anyone’s guess.



Which Americans will take advantage of home soil this summer?

Last year, U.S. women made a huge statement in New York, with four Americans reaching the semifinals, and even more impressively, none were named Serena. Thanks to Stephens, Madison Keys, Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe, expectations will be high for Americans in 2018.

Stephens will be looking to defend her first Grand Slam crown, Keys will be hoping to go one further this time around, and Williams and Vandeweghe will want to salvage forgettable seasons so far with deep runs in the Big Apple.

But will a younger American like Sofia Kenin, Amanda Anisimova or Kayla Day have their major breakthrough moment in New York?

The first tournament for the women on the US Open Series kicks off Monday at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Tennis Classic in San Jose, with Washington, D.C., Montreal, Cincinnati and New Haven all taking place before the US Open.


Three storylines
to follow for the
WTA summer swing

Three storylines to follow for the WTA summer swing

ATP & WTA Washington D.C.

Catch all the action from the Citi Open with live coverage from three courts on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday, July 30th at 2:00 PM ET. All matches also available on-demand.