There are always a bevy of interesting matches to look for at any given tennis tournament; however, this US Open offers some very intriguing ones that require special attention.
Early round matches have by tradition been a bit more stressful for players, especially the higher ranked players. Serena Williams will want to be careful against her 86th ranked opponent, Vitalia Diatchenko. Somehow, players miraculously find their game when it comes to the Majors or when they compete against the number one ranked player.
Rafael Nadal has been the number one ranked player; yet, a combination of medical and mental issues have ravaged his form since the end of last season. His first round opponent is none other than the “2014 ATP Star of Tomorrow”, 35th ranked, Borna Coric. Nadal lost their only encounter in 2014. Nadal will be seeking some revenge; however, the question on the mind of all his fans, will Nadal regain his form in time for the US Open?
Steve Johnson has a first round date with Fabio Fognini. They met earlier this year, on clay, and Johnson lost in straight sets. He will be looking to change the outcome of this encounter.
Two Germans will battle for a berth in the second round. They too have met each other earlier this year, on clay. Unfortunately for Alexander Zverev, he came out on the losing end in straight sets. He will also want to change the outcome of this encounter against Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez versus Janko Tipsarevic. Garcia Lopez has won both encounters; however, like Tipsarevic, he is trying to find his form following injury/surgery. It will be interesting to see if Garcia-Lopez continues his dominance over Tipsarevic.
Although Roger Federer won their only encounter, Leonardo Mayer was in a winning position. Federer will need to be sharp right out of the blocks if he wants to avoid the first round upset bug.
They have played against each other three times and Sloane Stephens won their last encounter, on clay. Coco Vandeweghe won both hard court encounters; however, they are both much improved players since then. There will be some powerful strokes on display.
Maria Sharapova gets Daria Gavrilova, another first round match that may be tricky for a top ten ranked player. In their two previous encounters this year, they are tied at 1:1. Does first round jitters work against Sharapova?
Kristina Mladenovic versus the two-time US Open Champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova. Their first meeting, but Kuznetsova’s game has been a tad erratic lately.
One that I am particularly curious about, Alison Riske versus Eugenie Bouchard. Bouchard leads their head-to-head, 4:1; however, she has been struggling to find her form. This could be an opportunity for Riske.
The evil draw genie was also at work in the women’s draw. Lucie Safarova versus Lesia Tsurenko. Tsurenko just lost to Safarova on Friday in the semifinal of the Connecticut Open and that was her second loss to Safarova.