Monday, August 26 kicks off the opening day of tennis' final Grand Slam of the year in Flushing Meadows, NY. While defending men's champion Andy Murray doesn't kick off his title defense until Tuesday, defending women's champion Serena Williams will begin her charge to repeat on opening day. Here are some matches to watch on opening day at the US Open:
Serena Williams vs. Francesca Schiavone: The defending champion and top player in the world enters the US Open having made the finals in her last three tournaments; all on hard courts. Williams did lose her last match to rival Vika Azarenka and should be able to take out the frustrations of that loss on the clay court specialist Schiavone.
Ryan Harrison vs. Rafael Nadal: The most in form player in men's tennis Rafael Nadal looks to win his 2nd US Open as he opens up against American Ryan Harrison. Nadal has won two straight tournaments (including a win over Novak Djokovic in the process) and has yet to lose a match on hard courts this year. One of those wins was over Harrison at Indian Wells. Harrison played Nadal well in the first set losing in a tiebreak prior to succumbing to Nadal's relentless pressure in the second set. Can the American give Nadal a scare in New York?
Kirsten Flipkens vs. Venus Williams: The top matchup of Day 1 pits 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens against two time US Open Champion Venus Williams. This is a battle of styles as Williams is a power player while Flipkens is a crafty player who uses a lot of slices. Flipkens beat Williams early this summer in Toronto in a 3 set match. However, it needs to be noted that Williams has never lost in the opening round of the US Open in 14 previous appearances.
Jelena Jankovic vs. Madison Keys: Former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic has had a solid summer losing in her last two tournaments to eventual finalists in Sorana Cirstea (Toronto) and Vika Azarenka (Cincinnati). Jankovic is a good hard court player having made the finals here in 2007 and has made the semifinals in two of the biggest tournaments on the calendar (Indian Wells and Cincinnati) this year. Keys, an 18-year-old American, has struggled this summer with injuries and has been unable to get into a rhythm and string together consecutive victories. Keys has big time power and if her game is on could make for a competitive match. Otherwise, Jankovic will outclass her in straight sets.