Rafael Nadal will try to match his new status as world number one with his first U.S. Open title when the final grand slam of the year begins today.
Among those desperate to stop him will be Roger Federer, hoping to bounce back to claim his fifth straight Flushing Meadows crown, and Novak Djokovic, aiming to reproduce his Australian Open form and win his second grand-slam title of 2008.
In the women's event, the top-ranked Serbians Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic take on the resurgent Williams sisters and a Russian challenge led by Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina.
Nadal, having beaten Federer to win the French Open and Wimbledon, stolen his place at the top of the world rankings and won Olympic gold, is clearly the man to beat. The Spaniard has never been beyond the quarter-finals in New York.