By Ros Satar
- Garbiñe Muguruza v Ying-Ying Duan – First Meeting
- Sloane Stephens v Dominika Cibulkova  – Stephens leads 2-1
- Timea Babos v Maria Sharapova
NEW YORK, USA – In amongst the rain-delayed round one matches are a few gems of round two matches with a few storylines to follow.
Garbiñe Muguruza v Ying-Ying Duan – First Meeting
After a tumultuous couple of days at the US Open, not least punctuated with the pitter-patter of rain, we look to two-time Slam champion and current favourite, Garbiñe Muguruza to make it three to get our Three-to-See off in style. Of course, there are a few dangers in playing someone for the first time. Although Ying-Ying Duan is ranked just inside the Top 100, and was pretty much battered off the court this year at the Australian Open by eventual finalist Venus Williams, she is capable of a bit of a canter. She made the quarter-finals in Sydney (from qualifying), the third round in Melbourne and the quarter-final in Kuala Lumpur, so her aggressive style of play does get results.
She did nothing much to speak of in Roland Garros or Wimbledon and to be honest it would be a shock if she troubled Muguruza, but this is worth watching more to see the Spaniard handle the mantle of favourite impressively well. Ironically Muguruza will be bidding to reach the third round in New York for the first time – but something indicates that this will be a breeze.
Prediction: Muguruza in straight sets.
Sloane Stephens v Dominika Cibulkova  – Stephens leads 2-1
This has all the makings of being a far more scrappy battle. Sloane Stephens has impressed since her comeback to the tour, especially with back to back semi-finals in Toronto and Cincinnati.
Dominika Cibulkova has done well to pick up a consistent looking season after a wrist injury at the sart of the clay court season, and finished her preparations for the US Open with a run to the final in New Haven.
Talking with Cibulkova ahead of her match against Johanna Konta in Cincinnati, she admitted that she has to use her speed and agility to combat tall girls with big serves, and Stephens can belt the ball with some oomph, but it is coupled with good movement, and the American has shown that she is back to full strength in that department.
Their last fight last year in the Acapulco final was their closest fight, and it looks like this one could be no different. The edge in terms of match play might just have to go to Cibulkova, but really this is anyone’s win.
Prediction: Cibulkova in three sets.
Timea Babos v Maria Sharapova – First meeting
The question is – can Maria Sharapova back up her win over World No. 2 Simona Halep and make some progress at the US Open? Next up for her is a first time clash with Timea Babos. The Hungarian reached the third round at a Slam for the first time here last year, and never having faced Sharapova, there is unlikely to be much in the way of needle for this match.
Sharapova was no doubt emotional after her Grand Slam win since her suspension, and the fact that she had such a dominant record over Halep, and what had been on the line for the Romanian with the win added spice to the match.
What remains to be seen is whether the same drive and determination will be there or whether she will be just a little flat. Her experience should carry her past the Hungarian with ease, but we saw a mid-match wobble against Halep where she most definitely is still working through a little rust.
Prediction: Sharapova in three sets.
Play begins on US Open Day Three at 11am (4pm BST)
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