By Ros Satar

  • Roger Federer [3] v Feliciano Lopez [31]
  • Jelena Ostapenko [12] v Daria Kasatkina
  • Agnieszka Radwanska [10] v Coco Vandeweghe [20]
NEW YORK, USA – Love or loathe the narrative but all eyes will be on Roger Federer once more as he tries to shake off the rust after a back injury.

 

Roger Federer [3] v Feliciano Lopez [31] – H2H: Federer leads 12-0

When you look at the head to head, you have to wonder why we would even bother putting a Roger Federer match as one of the three to see in the first part of a Slam. Yet the 19-time Grand Slam champion has not looked invincible this time around. When he returned in Australia people were curious as to what effect the long lay-off since Wimbledon the year before would have. He looked sprightly and outlasted many of the players that had since raised the bar in terms of fitness and stamina.

He skipped the clay court season, and came back imperious at Wimbledon, without dropping a set – and that is why his form comes under so much intense scrutiny this time around. Of course like all masters of disguise, he has deflected any questions on his back after a match where in all honesty he did look like one step shot of a crab with a leg missing when it come to moving from side to side.

As reported on USOpen.org, he told reporters: “This match wasn’t about the back, which is good. This is more just a grind. I felt different, completely different, the way it played and everything. But I’m really, really happy I got through.

“My preparation hasn’t been good at all here. I knew I was going to maybe struggle early on. Maybe I struggled more than I would have liked to. But I’m still in the draw, which gives me a chance. I still believe I’m going to pick up my game and become just more consistent because I’m not playing all that bad. It’s just that I’m going a bit up and down in waves throughout the match.

“So clearly I’m happy how I felt after the first round, because that was the scary bit. But that’s passed now. Now I can just look forward to play tennis. With a bit of fatigue, that’s okay. I’ve done that hundreds of times. That’s not something I’m too concerned about.”

His record over the Feliciano Lopez of course will give him a fair bit of confidence, but then he had a commanding head to head over Mikhail Youzhny, who took him to five sets. The Spaniard must think it is anybody’s chance. A lefty with a single-handed backhand, he will look to slice that more that whip the shot across the court, and he has a strong serve to back up solid baseline play. He is also nifty at the net so if he wants to push the Swiss, he will make him move.

Prediction: Federer in four sets.

 

Jelena Ostapenko v Daria Kasatkina H2H: Ostapenko leads 2-1

Jelena Ostapenko US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, New York

Photo by Rob Prange/REX/Shutterstock | Jelena Ostapenko US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, New York

The French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko gets a bigger stage to show off her aggressive style of play against another one of the WTA’s rising stars Daria Kasatkina. While the Latvian scaled the dizzy heights of beating an over-cautious Simona Halep for one of the biggest prizes in tennis, Kasatkina has also been lighting up scoreboard, claiming her first WTA title this year in Charleston.

The Russian actually has quite an intelligent game to her repertoire – she can slice, lift, scamper and can conduct the game quite well. What she has going for her in this match up is a win on her way to that clay court title where she lost just four games against the Latvian.

Ostapenko had a battle in her opener, eventually closing out comfortably under the roof of Ashe on a rainy first Tuesday at the US Open, but she looked a lot more settled against Sorana Cirstea. The new experience perhaps weighs a little more heavily on the side of Ostapenko, but Kasatkina will make her work for it.

Prediction: Ostapenko in three sets.

 

Agnieszka Radwanska [10] v Coco Vandeweghe – H2H: Radwanska leads 5-1

Agnieszka Radwanska US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, New York

Photo by Rob Prange/REX/Shutterstock | Agnieszka Radwanska US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, New York

Talk about contrasting years. Former Top Five regular Agnieszka Radwanska thankfully seems to have started to get back to some form having been troubled a lot this year with injuries and health. She seems to be picking up some form though, having advanced to the third round without dropping a set. She has a pleasingly solid lead over the kind of player she has to work hard to beat. Coco Vandeweghe has a simple power to her game, and she will try an take the ball early and flatten out any crafty shots that Radwanska will send her way.

She has worked hard on her fitness and movement, which in the past may have been a weakness, but if Radwanska is moving well, and back to her crafty best, then Vandeweghe’s US Open ends here.

Prediction: Radwanska in three sets.

Play begins on US Open Day Six at 11am (4pm BST).

Main Image: Mike Frey/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

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