Round one at Flushing Meadows has some incredible line-ups but the attention will be on one meeting in-particular…
Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova
A rivalry continued. Since 2004 there have been 21 meetings. 22 if you count the walk-over at Roland Garros last year with Serena’s withdrawal.
The head to head was once led by Maria at 2-1 but 18 wins in a row leaves Serena with a 19-2 record against the Russian.
The tour domination these two are use to is no more. Both are in a state of finding their best. Serena has found a very good level but has lacked matches and challenges this year. There has been a struggle since she has returned against top players and that has been an issue going into latter stages of big events.
Maria? Since her comeback it has been an injury hell for her. Shoulder, elbow etc… it goes on.
Even when she has played it can be quite messy and it unravelled against Barty recently in Cincinnati.
This is going to be their first actually meeting (we hope) for just over three years and having met all over the world there have never met in New York until midnight on Monday.
Of course we do have some other treats in store for us during round one.
Denis Shapovalov who’s tennis is a bit up in the air at the moment and seems a little lost will meet fellow Canadian Felix Auger-Aliasisme in the first round.
This was a match last year in round one but Felix had to retire unwell. Shapovalov was ranked 28 last year, this year he is 38. Felix Auger-Aliassime on the other hand was ranked 117 last year and is number 19 this year.
Another big meeting between two youngsters. Stefanos Tsitsipas who was a semi-finalist in Melbourne has seen his season fizzle but someones who has come to life of late is Andrey Rublev.
Lucas Pouille who I am pleased to see found some form to lately has a tough opponent in Philip Kohlschreiber in round one and Herbert and De Minaur will also battle.
On the woman’s side of the draw we have an interesting match-up with Anastasia Potapova who shocked Angie Kerber at Wimbledon up against Coco Gauff.
An all Belarussian battle is on too as well as Sabalenka and Azarenka meet in round one and Nicole Gibbs who was diagnosed with cancer in the mouth has fought back and come through qualifying to play Wimbledon champion Simona Halep.