Starting in 2018, the US Open Series has begun giving out an award to one man and one woman for “Breakout Performance," to be chosen ahead of the US Open. Time is running out, but there are still opportunities left this week at the ATP Masters 1000/Premier 5 in Cincinnati.
Here are a few possible contenders playing in the Western & Southern Open:
Alex De Minaur
The Australian 20-year-old started the US Open Series off strong with a finalist finish at the BB&T Atlanta Open. He then lost in the first rounds of the Citi Open in Washington and the Rogers Cup in Montreal, but escaped a three-peat by winning his opener this week over Marco Cecchinato. You can never count De Minaur out.
The Czech has come seemingly out of nowhere to reach the cusp of the Top 50. Bouzkova scored wins over Sloane Stephens, Jelena Ostapenko and Simona Halep (via retirement) in Toronto. She also took a set off of Serena Williams in the semifinals. Bouzkova is no stranger to success, having won the 2014 junior US Open and 12 ITF titles.
The 21-year-old started his U.S. hard-court swing with a bang by winning the title in Atlanta over De Minaur. He followed that up with a finalist finish in Los Cabos (which isn't part of the US Open Series, but is an ATP 250 tournament). The American lost some steam with a first-round exit in Montreal, and yet, he's at a career-high ranking of No. 25 this week in Cincy.
Been a really long time since a loss stung this much ???? I’ve never been so disappointed in myself on the court but it all just makes me want to work harder than ever before and improve every part of my game ????@abiertoloscabos I love this tournament so much and I wanted to title so badly.... I will be back stronger ????????❤ That being said... 2 finals in a row ➡️ Taking the positives into Montreal next week ????????
Kenin is fast-becoming one of biggest fighters on the tour. The 20-year-old bounced back from an early defeat in Washington to storm to the Rogers Cup semifinals unseeded. She pulled off her first career world No. 1 win over Ashleigh Barty, and also ousted Elina Svitolina before falling to eventual champion Bianca Andreescu.
Tiafoe is a dangerous sleeper in any draw and you never know when the 21-year-old American is going to pounce. He's got a tough task in Gael Monfils this week, but will be eager for some wins under his belt going into the US Open.
Last year, Stefanos Tsitsipas earned the US Open Series Breakout Performer award with his rocket-ride to the Rogers Cup final in Toronto, where he took out Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Kevin Anderson.
Arnya Sabalenka was awarded Breakout Performer after her sizzling summer where she reached the semifinals of Cincinnati by defeating three Top-15 players: Caroline Garcia, Karolina Pliskova, and Madison Keys. The very next week she captured her first WTA Premier title in New Haven.