Sunday, August 30, 2015

Accidents waiting to happen

Every major features "popcorn" first rounds, but the 2015 U.S. Open probably requires popcorn, beer and a shot. Here are some of the match-ups to watch:

CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Sloane Stephens (29): Stephens is the favorite here, not just by virtue of ranking, but also by virtue of her recent form. Nevertheless, Vandeweghe is somewhat of a slugger, and if the two get into it, it could be entertaining.

Kiki Mladenovic vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova: Mladenovic is now officially dangerous on any surface, but Kuznetsova is a former (2004) U.S. Open champion who--when she is in form--is brilliant.

Oceane Dodin vs. Jelena Jankovic: JJ is the clear favorite, but Dodin is capable of giving her a hard time.

Genie Bouchard vs. Alison Riske: Given Bouchard's current troubles, she could do better than starting her U.S. Open campaign against Riske.

Dominika Cibulkoa vs. Ana Ivanovic: The popcorn match. Cibulkova has been very nicely making her way back after a long injury/surgery/rehab break, and these two could provide the best first-round match of the draw.

Andrea Petkovic vs. Caroline Garcia: Two players who frequently fight themselves more than they fight their opponents. Anything could happen.

Timea Babos vs. Sam Stosur: Why not?

Lucie Safarova vs. Lesia Tsurenko: Safarova just beat her in the New Haven semifinals. Will Tsurenko's desire for revenge and Safarova's possible fatigue cause an upset?

Timea Bacsinszky vs. Barbora Strycova: Both are in a bit of a slump; either could turn her late season around.

One of the the first matches to watch was scheduled to be the one between Maria Sharapova and Daria Gavrilova (Gavrilova took Sharapova out of Miami), but Sharapova has withdrawn from the U.S. Open, so that one won't take place.

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