• What should be the last Slam of the year is the second, and the extended mix of entrants due to withdrawals gives some intriguing first rounds
  • Kevin Anderson v Alexander Zverev [5]
  • Danielle Collins v Anett Kontaveit [14]
  • Coco Gauff v Anastasija Sevastova [31]
NEW YORK, USA – It is the first day of a very new look US Open, and there could be a few shocks in the offing with many high-profile withdrawals, as we pick three to see for Day 1.

 

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Kevin Anderson v Alexander Zverev [5] | H2H: Zverev leads 5-0 (*Includes Laver Cup)

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On paper there would be no discussion – the No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev will face a returning Kevin Anderson who had just five tournament in 2019 before undergoing knee surgery in September, and then had to undergo another surgery in February this year.

On the restart though, he handed Kyle Edmund a timely reminder to not write him off, and although he has just a smattering of wins this year, he is a dangerous name to come up in the draw.

Anderson showed amazing sticking power to a match-fit British No. 2 who still came off worse, so for Zverev, who lost to Andy Murray in ATP Cincinnati, with every flaw in his game on show.

Zverev has just linked up with David Ferrer, but the issues with his game cannot be fixed overnight. He needs to find consistency but against a player who really has nothing to lose as he tests out his knee, you have to feel that Zverev will be put through the wringer.

Prediction: Anderson in four sets.

READ MORE | Tennis | US Open 2020 | Men’s Draw Breakdown, Top Seeds’ Paths to the Final

 

Danielle Collins v Anett Kontaveit [14] | First Meeting

Anett Kontaveit in the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart 2019

Anett Kontaveit in the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart 2019 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Although picking a seed as an outsider has a hollow ring to it, if we are looking at the US Open 2020 as somewhere where a new face could shine, you could do worse than consider Anett Kontaveit as a potential to cause a few upsets deep in the tournament.

She reached the quarter-final on the restart in Palermo and took a set off Naomi Osaka in the precursor to the tournament, and has just been quietly and efficiently going about her business, and the No. 14 seed could well punch above her weight in a Slam with some pretty key withdrawals.

Opposite her on Day 1 will be Danielle Collins, who generally cannot be accused of being quiet about anything. Feisty and totally unapologetic about usurping big names, Collins landed in hot water as the restrictions started to be eased by leaving the World Team Tennis campus, earning an unceremonious boot-out of the tournament, despite believing that the protocols in place to protect players and staff did not include being confined to the bubble.

As it was her whole World Team Tennis experience up to that point had been pretty woeful with three losses and a first round exit in faux Cincinnati. Kontaveit has a quiet confidence that ought to see her through to the second round.

Prediction: Kontaveit in straight sets.

READ MORE | Tennis | US Open 2020 | Women’s Draw Breakdown, Top Seeds’ Paths to the Final

 

Coco Gauff v Anastasija Sevastova | First Meeting

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Last year, when Coco Gauff was taken resolutely to the hearts of the Wimbledon crowd, there were high expectations of what she could achieve at the US Open. With a run at SW19 that took her from the qualifying rounds to the fourth round, where she lost to eventual champion Simona Halep, she managed just the third round to Naomi Osaka and one of the most heart-warming on-court moments that year.

Now showing a maturity far beyond her 16 years, she has used the lockdown to use her platform to speak out about racial inequality and social injustice with an eloquence few adults possess, let alone a tennis-playing teen.

She starts off against the No. 31 seed Anastasija Sevastova in their first meeting on the tour. With the exception of the Bett Aces exhibition, and Fed Cup, Sevastova has yet to turn in a win this year and will face a match-tight Gauff who reached the semi-finals in Lexington.

It will be interesting to see how the Americans perform without the home-crowd advantage on some of the cavernous courts, but Gauff could well send a seed packing early.

Prediction: Gauff in straight sets.

Play starts on Day 1 of the US Open at 11am (4pm BST).

 

How to Watch the US Open 2020

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