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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday August 25, 2022


The US Open draw is out and first-round popcorn is everywhere! We’ve already told you about the men’s singles draw here, and the women’s singles draw here – now we’re going to give you 7 first-rounders to watch during Monday and Tuesday in New York.

Tennis Express

Andy Murray v [24] Francisco Cerundolo

If the performance of Argentine’s Cerundolo at Wimbledon, where he pushed Nadal to four sets in the first round, is any indication, the 24-year-old is capable of upsetting Murray. In fact, it wouldn’t even be an upset. Murray is unseeded and ranked 49; Cerundolo, 20-14 on the season with a title in Bastad, is seeded 24th.

This one has five sets written all over it.

[11] Emma Raducanu v Alizé Cornet

All eyes will be on defending champion Raducanu as she plays what is just her sixth Grand Slam main draw.

And the British star will certainly have her hands full with the legit giant killer also known as Alizé Cornet, the woman who has won her last six matches against Top-20 opposition at the Slams. Add to that the fact that Cornet is in the midst of her best Grand Slam season, and this matchup spells trouble (the kind of trouble we love watching). Cornet, who reached her maiden quarterfinal at the Australian Open, always brings the drama.

Raducanu hasn’t had a great season by any means, but the British No.1 looked great at Cincinnati last week, and seems to be blossoming a bit under new coach Dmitry Tursunov. This will be a great test of her mettle.

Serena Williams vs Danka Kovinic

Nobody will want to miss what could be the last Grand Slam match of the legendary Serena Williams. Thanks to the draw gods, Serena enters this contest with a good chance of advancing. Kovinic is a talent and a great ball-striker, but she’s short on big-match prowess and Serena will have a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium willing her forward on Monday night in New York.

No matter what happens, it will be incredible.

[23] Nick Kyrgios v Thanasi Kokkinakis

This is as brutal as it is brilliant. A first-time meeting between two players who would prefer playing on the same side of the net far more than they do the opposite...

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, this year’s doubles champions at the Australian Open and fast friends since the beginning of their tennis journeys, will play for a spot in the second round. They’ve never played before and while Kyrgios will be the favorite based on his brilliant form this summer, and the confidence gained from reaching the Wimbledon final, the talented Kokkinakis is sure to make this an excellent contest.

Kokkinakis is in the midst of his best season as a professional as well – he won his maiden title on home soil in Adelaide and is ranked one spot shy of his career-high ranking of 69.

Naomi Osaka v [19] Danielle Collins

Two-time US Open champion Naomi Osaka hasn’t been able to hit her stride on the hard courts this summer, and it comes as a bit of a surprise. It’s her best surface and she showed signs of a resurgence this spring when she reached the final in Miami. But she enteres New York toting a three-match losing streak... go figure. Facing the 19th-seeded Collins is certainly a difficult task, but Collins isn’t in form either – she has missed the whole of the hard court swing with a neck injury. Add to that the fact that Osaka has dominated the pair’s head to head (3-0 and just ten games dropped) and we have a clear opportunity for the four-time Slam champ to hit the ground running in NYC.

[12] Pablo Carreno Busta v Dominic Thiem

Let’s be frank… this is a terrible draw for 2020 champion Dominic Thiem, who is working his way back to top form and has yet to show that he’s ready for top-flight competition like two-time semifinalist Carreno Busta. The Spaniard comes in hot as well – he won his maiden Masters 1000 title two weeks ago in Montreal. Nevertheless, a good litmus test for Thiem to see where he his level really stands five months into his comeback from wrist and hand injuries.

Bianca Andreescu v [WC] Harmony Tan

Harmony Tan, the Frenchwoman who spoiled Serena Williams’ Wimbledon farewell and parlayed that win into a fourth-round appearance at SW19, is hoping to prove that her performance in London was no fluke. She’ll be up against it in the first round as fellow shapeshifter Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion, is her next opponent.

Andreescu, 10-1 lifetime in New York, has been solid in 2022 – just not great. But it feels like that higher level is coming for the Canadian, maybe now is the time for her to remind us of her otherworldly talents.

 

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