Eight round one matches to watch at the US Open

Across two draws it will begin with 256 players and as time goes by it will whittle down to 2 eventual champions. As ever there are notable round one matches but who should we watch out for?

Novak Djokovic 🇷🇸 vs Holger Rune 🇩🇰

The chase for history begins with an historic opening battle with the world number one taking on a former junior number one making his Grand Slam main draw debut.

Holger came through qualifying to set up a meeting with Djokovic who is seven wins away from becoming the first male player to win 21 Grand Slam titles taking over Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who he is currently level with on 20.

It will be a big baptism of fire for Rune on Arthur Ashe night session against one of the sports greatest!

Sloane Stephens 🇺🇸 vs Madison Keys 🇺🇸

It wasn’t that long ago that this was a US Open final and Sloane Stephens walked away with the trophy but a lot has changed since 2017.

It has been a difficult couple of years for both who on their day are unplayable however results have not been consistent enough. Madison Keys has won 18 of her last 35 matches and 19 of her last 34.

Sloane herself has had what I can only imagine as a heartbreaking year having lost 3 family members to COVID with a matter a weeks towards the end of last year and my thoughts go out to her!

I hope for a good match, If Madison can get those served and ground strokes firing and Sloane’s backhand when it’s on song is quite exceptional.

Camila Giorgi 🇮🇹 vs Simona Halep 🇷🇴

After winning in Montreal I said this is one player you don’t want to face in round one at the US Open as a seeded player.

Now the draw has taken place I can say this is a player Simona Halep will not want to face if she isn’t fit. That is the question, how fit is Simona Halep? Simona hasn’t played much since her calf tear and this abductor issue brought her time in Cincinnati to a short end.

We saw Giorgi hit players off the court in Montreal and this will be a massive early test for Halep who has just won one of her last three matches in New York.

Could an early upset be on the cards?

Casper Ruud 🇳🇴 vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 🇫🇷

During this hard court season I have said a couple of times that Casper Ruud needs some big wins and this provides a test for him.

He has played well on the hard courts since his hat-trick on clay but will want to get to Turin and continue to end this season on a high. We all know Jo’s experience on the tour and that this may be one of the last majors but over five sets I will be surprised if Casper doesn’t win.

Karolina Pliskova 🇨🇿 vs Catherine McNally 🇺🇸

I’m not convinced by Pliskova’s chances of winning the US Open and this will be an early test. It hasn’t happened yet for the American who has had some good results but has lacked consistency.

In front of a home crowd I hope she can do something special, her performance against Serena a couple of years back was impressive and hopefully we will see that again.

Andy Murray 🇬🇧 vs Stefanos Tsitsipas 🇬🇷

What an opening match! 2012 champion vs the man on the hunt for his first major!

It will be an interesting watch but is soo typical for Murray who has been building up matches to be hit with an early test.

I think that is the right way to look at it, it’s going to be tough but will be a good place to see where Murray’s game is it. It is also a big test for Stefanos, he always strikes me as a player who likes a test and I cannot imagine he would turn up to round one without that set intensity.

Angie Kerber 🇩🇪 vs Dayana Yastremska 🇺🇦

Interesting match up, Angie is one of my six to watch. She has been in good form of late but faces an opponent who has had a difficult 9-12 months but will want to bounce back and make an impact.

Dayana was suspended for a period of time due to a doping violation. It’s always a tricky return because it’s like you have to prove yourself over again and I think this would be a great marker to start with!

At the same time I would be gutted if Angie lost here having been in great form since Bad Homburg.

Roberto Bautista Agut 🇪🇸 vs Nick Kyrgios 🇦🇺

The Spaniard must have looked at his draw and thought… great!

Roberto plays with rhythm and Nick is exceptional at breaking up the rhythm and injecting some flair and chaos to the match! Not to discredit the Spaniard at all as we know he can dig deep and frustrate players and he will want to keep that going!

It will be fascinating, I do think that the Aussie will come through. He performs on the big stages however no one digs in as much as Roberto…

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