• Serena Williams has won the Cincinnati Open twice
  • Cincinnati Open 2022 is set to begin on Aug. 13
  • Williams is chasing a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title

Serena Williams on Wednesday was added to the entry list of Cincinnati Masters ahead of the US Open 2022. She entered the tournament using her protected ranking.

Williams, along with current World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, will headline a star-studded draw at the Western & Southern Open, the WTA confirmed in an official release.

The WTA 1000 tournament will take place from Aug. 13 to Aug. 21 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. This is the second tournament Williams has been confirmed to be a part of in the lead-up to the calendar year's final major event, the US Open – her home Grand Slam.

It has been reported that Williams is also scheduled to play the National Bank Open in Toronto, Canada, which will take place a week prior to the Cincinnati Open.

A two-time champion at Cincinnati Open, Williams last played in the tournament back in 2020. She suffered a third-round exit at the time. Following her triumphs in 2014 and 2015 at the Western & Southern Open, Williams chose to miss four out of the next six editions of the Cincinnati tournament.

Williams, who is chasing a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam, will look to make it title No. 3 in Cincinnati as it would boost her form ahead of the US Open.

Serena Williams returned to tennis at Eastbourne after a year away
Serena Williams returned to tennis at Eastbourne after a year away AFP / Glyn KIRK

This year's Cincinnati entry list includes five former champions: two-time champion Victoria Azarenka (2020, 2013), Madison Keys (2019), Garbiñe Muguruza (2017) and Karolina Pliskova (2016), apart from Williams.

Meanwhile, the women's singles draw features a total of 13 Grand Slam champions. Apart from Swiatek, Williams, Azarenka and Muguruza, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, four-time major champion Naomi Osaka, defending US Open champion Emma Raducanu, Simona Halep, Bianca Andreescu, Jelena Ostapenko, Barbora Krejcikova, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova will also travel to the Queen City.

In the men's singles category, Novak Djokovic's name has been included but it is still uncertain if he'll be allowed to play in Cincinnati as he is not vaccinated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, all non-U.S. citizens must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to travel to the country by air.