US Open Day 3: Wozniacki lights up our Three to See

By Jake Davies

  • The three matches you must not miss on Day 3 of the US Open
  • Caroline Wozniacki vs Svetlana Kuznetsova [9]
  • Andrea Petkovic vs Belinda Bencic [24]
  • Novak Djokovic [1] vs Jiri Vesely
NEW YORK, USA – We pick Caroline Wozniacki to lead our Three to See, but of course all eyes again will turn to defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic to see if he can overcome some of his injury fears.

 

 

Caroline Wozniacki vs Svetlana Kuznetsova [9]

On Day 3 of the US Open, Wozniacki will meet Kuznetsova on Arthur Ashe stadium. An enticing match between two players that have enjoyed success in these grounds in previous years – Kuznetsova won the title in 2004, while Wozniacki made two finals here in 2009 and 2014.

Wozniacki and Kuznetsova are currently tied at 6-6, with four of their previous meetings coming at Grand Slam level. The two times they have played at the US Open, Wozniacki has gone on to win on both occasions – a statistic that the two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova will aim to improve tomorrow.

Wozniacki finished the 2015 season with her worst year-end ranking since 2007, as she concluded 2015 at No.17 in the world. Now in 2016, she currently sits at World No.74, which further illustrates the massive slump in form, the lack of consistency in results and the result of a long injury lay off due to a freak ankle injury.

Also the lack of stability that Wozniacki has had with her coaching set up is also another contributing reason to some poor form in 2016.

In this match up, Wozniacki will strive to make the match as uncomfortable for Kuznetsova as possible. The Dane’s relentlessness in covering all dimensions of the court with her superior footwork is something she will have to rely on in order to get the victory against Kuznetsova.

Wozniacki may be unbeaten against Kuznetsova in this tournament, but Kuznetsova is feeling much better about her tennis and should come through in straight sets.

Prediction: Kuznetsova in 2 sets.

 

Andrea Petkovic vs Belinda Bencic [24]

These two competitors are both working their way back up the WTA rankings due to an accumulation of injury after injury. Bencic has achieved a tremendous amount in a short space of time at the tender age of 19 years old, but has experienced misfortunate combination of back and thigh injuries that plagued the middle of her 2016 season.

Bencic is one of the exceptions that have ascended up the WTA rankings after a very successful junior career – winning two junior grand slams in 2013.

The tenacious competitor Petkovic is also adjusting to life outside the Top 20. Over the years, Petkovic has had long term bouts with injuries, including a nasty ankle injury during a match in Stuttgart of 2012. The fact that Petkovic is still plugging away after so many setbacks is testament to her undying determination and application to being as good as she can be under the circumstances.

Petkovic has had more preparation on the hard courts. She featured at the Rio Olympics for her country, whereas Bencic pulled out of that event because she was nursing a wrist injury that she sustained at Wimbledon.

The Swiss 19-year-old already has a win under her belt over Petkovic in 2016 and I expect her to add to that tally in the second round of the US Open.

Prediction: Bencic in 3 sets.

 

Novak Djokovic [1] vs Jiri Vesely

Vesely is one of just five men that have beaten the World No.1 Djokovic this year. Vesely shocked Djokovic by claiming victory in Monte Carlo – Djokovic was 28-1 in 2016 going into that Monte Carlo match.

It was a rare shock triumph for the left-handed Vesely. The win against Djokovic represented his first ever win over a Top 10 player, as he was 0-8 vs Top 10 opponents before that match. Vesely has notched another win against Top 10 opponents this year after beating Dominic Thiem at Wimbledon.

So does Vesely’s shock Monte Carlo win mean a lot for this match at the US Open? It means that Vesely knows what it takes to come out the victor against the very best, which not many players can truly say in recent years.

The match on Arthur Ashe stadium will be a very different experience for the Czech in truth. You have to take into consideration that Djokovic is a very different opponent on a hard court. His footwork on that surface is as good as anyone on tour, which to a certain extent, separates him from the rest of the field.

Furthermore, Vesely will discover that the challenge of facing Djokovic in a Best of 5 match at a Grand Slam is very different to prevailing victorious in a Best of Three format. Djokovic has shown over the years just how hard it is to win a war of a attrition against the Serbian – even the likes of Andy Murray and Roger Federer have struggled.

Djokovic was very subdued and underwhelming in his first round win over Jerzy Janowicz. The World No.1 has remained coy and non-committal in regards to a possible right elbow injury – something that continues to be bothering him during this campaign.

I think Djokovic could drop a set again, but still has enough to find a way to win against Vesely.

Prediction: Djokovic in 4 sets.

 

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