Three-time U.S. Open champion Serena Williams and four extra past winners start the provisional women’s field for the year’s last Grand Slam tournament. Ninety-nine of the top 100 women in this week’s WTA rankings were decided direct entry Wednesday into the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 30. The missing one is No. 12 Justine Henin, a two-time Open champion, who withdrew after injuring her right elbow at Wimbledon.
Williams is improving from deep cuts to her right foot and pulled out of three future hard-court tuneups for the Open. Her status for the Open is not identified.The additional Open champions on Wednesday’s entry list are Williams’ older sister Venus, 2009 winner Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova.