Despite having a slow start in 2017, little by little Romania's No. 1 Simona Halep got herself in the zone once the action shifted to clay. A solid run that put her inches away from reaching the world No. 1 spot for the first time in her career. She went on missing those chances both at the French Open and then Wimbledon but her chances are still there as the season slides into the North American hard swing.

Currently ranked second in the world, Halep has some serious burden to defend, but the same can be said about her counterparts too. Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber are in the same pot as Halep with thousands of points to defend in a matter of weeks.

For Halep, things are not that dark as she made constant runs on this surface in the previous seasons too.

Can Halep reach the top at the US Open?

Over the past two seasons, the 25-year-old found some decent inspiration while competing in North America. The warm-up for US Open ended up being a successful one as she reached the higher stages two years in a row. Back in 2015, she was the runner-up both in Canada as well as in Cincinnati. Last year, she made one step further in Canada winning the title while in Cincinnati lost in the semis to Angelique Kerber.

The last Grand Slam of the season saw Halep reaching at least the last eight stages two years in a row. Last year, she went on losing to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals at the end of a thrilling three sets encounter.

Back in 2013, the year of Halep's breakthrough, it seemed only a matter of time to win a Grand Slam. Four years later, she is yet to get the job done even though she had two French Open finals under her belt. Losing to Jelena Ostapenko earlier this year could've been a critical moment, but Halep delivered some strong mental material later as she bounced back for the grass season.

The danger of unseeded WTA stars

Her level of composure is now entirely different compared to earlier this year in Miami. And that's a foundation that can sustain great results. US Open will be just another testing ground. A high ranking status may increase her odds at Flushing Meadows even though there are plenty of high-calibre unseeded names in the jar.

Whether we talk about Maria Sharapova or Victoria Azarenka, the argument will reach the same conclusion- these are the most dangerous unseeded players. Halpe and Azarenka were on a collision course at Wimbledon with Halep prevailing in their clash. On the other side, Sharapova is yet to lose a match to Halep. With Serena off the table, things should've been easier for the Romanian. But, the WTA Tour is far from having a balance of its own.