Steffi Graf was the defending champion, and successfully defended her title, defeating Monica Seles 7–5, 6–4 in the final to win the Women's Singles tennis title at the 1996 US Open. It was a rematch of the 1995 US Open final, where Graf defeated Seles in three sets. It also marked the final time Seles and Graf would play each other at the US Open. Graf did not drop a set throughout the entire tournament.
This was the final Grand Slam appearance for 1990 US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini, as she retired later that year. It was also the final Grand Slam singles appearance for 1990 Wimbledon runner-up, fifteen time Grand Slam quarterfinalist and former world No. 4 Zina Garrison.
The seeded players are listed below. Steffi Graf is the champion; others show the round in which they were eliminated.
Click on the seed number of a player to go to their draw section.
Chanda Rubin pulled out before the tournament began and her position in the draw was taken over by seventeenth-seeded Karina Habšudová, Rubin was replaced by lucky loser Annabel Ellwood; Mary Joe Fernández, who withdrew on the first day of the tournament, was replaced by lucky loser Tina Križan.