The US Open, the final major of the season is less than a week away. There are no shortage of storylines, headlined, of course, by the final event of Serena Williams’ career.

While yes, this is her farewell tournament, you’d better believe she will come out fighting.

And what should we make of Iga Swiatek, the top-ranked player, and Emma Raducanu, the defending champ?

So many questions. But here are our top three:

Looking at the current Top 10, while Iga Swiatek dominated a good part of the year, heading into New York, she doesn’t appear to be an overwhelming favorite. Who are you looking at as your player to watch?

Jason Juzwiak: Madison Keys’ form clicking into place in Cincinnati marks her as my player to watch. Keys frequently brings her best to the Grand Slams, especially on hard courts, with a 2017 US Open finalist showing and a run to this year’s Australian Open semifinals being notable results. Keys beat major champions Jelena Ostapenko, Elena Rybakina and World No.1 Iga Swiatek in straight sets last week, so she has adapted well to the conditions and the balls. Keys will have raucous crowds on her side. Put this all together, and we will see where the powerful American finishes in New York. 

Photo by Jimmie48/WTA

Courtney Nguyen: If the US Open courts play as quickly (or even quicker) than Cincinnati, Caroline Garcia is going to be a problem for the field. I keep thinking back to her end-of-season run in 2017, where she became the only player to win Wuhan and Beijing back-to-back and then took that momentum into her first WTA Finals. Conventional wisdom suggested there would be an understandable letdown. Instead, she qualified out of the group and made the semifinals.

Rankings Watch: Caroline Garcia back into Top 20

If she can get herself into the second week in New York, watch out. She’s 4-0 against the Top 10 since June and already proved in Cincy she can win eight matches in nine days. It takes seven to win a major. And history has showed that when she’s hot, she can beat anyone.

Greg Garber: The simple and obvious answer: all of them.

Look at the way the 2022 season has gone. Ashleigh Barty wins the Australian Open, then retires at the age of 25. Iga Swiatek, in the midst of a 37-match winning streak, runs the table at Roland Garros -- the longest in the WTA this century. Seeded No.1 in Toronto and Cincinnati, she fails to reach either of those quarterfinals. Elena Rybakina wins Wimbledon. Simona Halep, seeded No.15 wins Toronto. Caroline Garcia becomes the first qualifier to win a WTA 1000 in Cincinnati.

I’ll give you the two answers I got from Martina Navratilova. She said the winner of the season’s last Grand Slam will be the player who gets hot. Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu both know that drill in New York.

We’ve had a lot of unexpected runs in the past few weeks, the latest from Caroline Garcia in Cincinnati. Which under-the-radar player do you think could make a lasting impact in New York?

Juzwiak: It is strange to call the 18th-ranked player “under the radar,” but Veronika Kudermetova being on pace to finish the year inside the Top 10 is one of the quietest success stories on tour. Kudermetova has pulled together a consistent season -- no singles titles yet in 2022, but her three finals, four Top 10 wins, a Roland Garros quarterfinal and regular doubles prowess exemplifies a steady rise. Perhaps steadiness is what it will take to cut through the commotion of Flushing Meadows and post a career-best result.

Nguyen: Not to sound like a broken record, but I’m going to keep yelling Zheng Qinwen’s name from the rooftops. She’ll be unseeded in New York, which means she’s primed to bust some brackets in the first week. From there it will be about handling the nerves, but she definitely has the game. She’s the only player to take a set off Swiatek at Roland Garros and Zheng, 19, nearly edged Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon. On the hard courts she took a set off Naomi Osaka in San Jose and bounced Bianca Andreescu in Toronto. The kid is on the brink of something big.

Photo by Jimmie48/WTA

Garber: Like Courtney, I like the way Zheng Qinwen has carried herself this year. At 19, she’s already ranked No.40 and has won 30 of her 44 matches. She gave eventual Wimbledon champion Rybakina a good go -- 6-7 (4), 5-7 -- in the third round there. In Toronto, she took out local favorite Rebecca Marino (in three sets), then Alize Cornet (in three sets) and then another well-supported Canadian, Andreescu (in three sets). She fell to Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals, naturally, in three sets. 

Finally, Serena Williams. It’s impossible to sum up what she’s accomplished in only a few sentences, but as she heads into her final event, what will you miss most about the 23-time Grand Slam champion?

Juzwiak: Williams contests every point with full focus, but her innate ability to typically play her absolute best at pivotal moments will always stick with me. Every time she saved a break point with a blistering serve or battled through a long deuce game with pinpoint winners, she sent a surge of electricity through the match unlike any other player. Seeing Williams' incredible sense of occasion appear time and time again over a quarter of a century has been something to behold.

Nguyen: More than anything, I’ll miss her will to win, that unwavering confidence in the face of seemingly impossible odds. When I watch her pull out those 2-5 deficits or take must-win games by what seems like sheer force of will, it never gets. She wins matches that no other player has any right to think they can win. But when you’ve done what Williams has done time and time again, how can you not think you’ll do it every time?

Garber: Her fire. She didn’t always play full seasons over the course of her long career, but when she was on the court, she was fully committed. That passion resulted in 23 Grand Slam singles titles. At the age of 40 and as a mother of a daughter who is almost 5 years old, Williams was of course unhappy last week when she lost in Cincinnati’s first round to Emma Raducanu. But instead of treating that match like a farewell tour, Williams knew she underperformed and expected better of herself. It's that champion's fire. You can't teach it.