U.S. Open 2016 Day 1 matches to watch: A mix of old and new for tournament's start
The final Grand Slam of the season gets underway on Monday in New York, with the top half of the men’s draw and the bottom half of the women’s draw in action. Play begins at 11 a.m. ET and coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN. The full television and broadcast schedule can be found here. Full order of play for Monday can be found here.
Arthur Ashe lineup: Last year’s runner-up Robert Vinci will open play on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday against Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam. Will the Italian be able to find the magic again or will her 22-year-old opponent get the first upset of the tournament?
After missing a chance to supplant Serena Williams as WTA No. 1 last week in Cincinnati, Angelique Kerber comes into the U.S. Open as the No. 2 seed. She’ll open against Polona Hercog as she aims to win her second Grand Slam title of the year. No. 4 Rafael Nadal, who is coming off a gold medal in doubles in Rio, will close out the day session on Ashe against Denis Istomin.
After the 2016 U.S. Open opening ceremony, No. 1 Novak Djokovic will start off the night session against Jerzy Janowicz, followed by an all-American match-up between No. 8-seed Madison Keys and Alison Riske.
All-American battles: No. 20-seed and veteran John Isner will face 18-year-old rising American star Frances Tiafoe (second match, new Grandstand) to kick off a series of all-USA matches taking place on Day 1. No. 26-seed and recent mixed doubles gold medalist Jack Sock will face 18-year-old Taylor Fritz (fourth match, Louis Armstrong) in another must-see match. An upset could be in the making: Fritz is a promising young talent and has jumped up the rankings this year to his current spot at No. 53.
The new Grandstand debuts: After a season plagued with injuries and a drop in rankings to No. 51 in the world, Caroline Wozniacki is looking to regain her form at the U.S. Open, where she is a two-time semifinalist and two-time finalist, most recently losing to Serena Williams in 2014. She’ll face American Taylor Townsend on Monday (first match, Grandstand) in what should be a good battle in a must-win match for both players.
The old Grandstand returns: After hosting what was thought to be its final U.S. Open match last year, the old Grandstand stadium went into retirement as a new structure was built to replace it. But U.S. Open organizers confirmed that after some discussion, it made sense to continue using the court for schedule matches instead of just practice. The old Grandstand’s marquee match of the day is a big one between Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig and Saisai Zheng (third match). Puig—who was bumped up to be the No. 32-seed after Sloane Stephens withdrew last week—will look to build on her gold medal at the Rio Olympics earlier this month.
Rogers looks to rebound: After making headlines at the French Open, South Carolina-native Shelby Rogers had a difficult summer with lackluster results. (You can read more about her life post-Paris here.) She’ll start off against No. 27-seed Sara Errani (second match, Court 12) after No. 14-seed and recent New Haven runner-up Petra Kvitova starts off her U.S. Open campaign against Jelena Ostapenko.
2014 flashback: American Catherine “CiCi” Bellis is back on the grounds of the U.S. Open after making a splash in New York in 2014 when the then-15-year-old beat Dominika Cibulkova in the first round. Bellis, now 17, missed out on the U.S. Open last year after losing in qualifying, but this year the No. 158-ranked American earned a spot in the main draw. She’ll face Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic (first match, Court 6) on Monday.
More matches to watch: American Samantha Crawford will start off against 19-year-old Belinda Bencic, who has only played two matches after pulling out of Wimbledon with a wrist injury (first match, Court 17).
No. 10-seed Gael Monfils is always a player to circle on the draw sheet. The Frenchman starts off against Gilles Muller (second match, Court 17).
No. 13-seed Johanna Konta will play wildcard and recent mixed doubles gold medalist Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Monday (fourth match, new Grandstand).