Considering the goings on at the three preceding majors this season, it’s safe to say the 2018 US Open has a lot to live up to – and yet with the way the stage is set for this tournament, there’s every reason to believe it might.

Serena, Simona and Sloane are ready to go. So are Rafa, Roger and Nole. Then there’s Angie Kerber, Sascha Zverev, Petra Kvitova and Juan Martin Del Potro, among others. Hell, why not even Kiki Bertens or Nick Kyrgios? As good as the slams have been so far this year, this is undoubtedly the best field in prospect, and one fitting of the bright lights of New York City.

Each day throughout the tournament, check this space for a look at three can’t-miss matches. Whether they promise intrigue, competitiveness or sheer entertainment-factor, you can rest assured these matches will be well worth your time. Enjoy the tournament, and read on for a look at the three to see on day 1 in Flushing.

Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [8] – First on Arthur Ashe (12:00pm start)

It’s not often you get two players matching up in the first round at consecutive majors, and even rarer they’re of this stature, but that indeed is the fate that awaits Wawrinka and Dimitrov here. Recording a massive upset in what has been an injury-wracked season, Wawrinka took that last meeting at Wimbledon to record his first win over the Bulgarian in over five years, albeit with Dimitrov still leading their head-to-head 4-3 and probably a narrow favourite on the slower surface of Flushing. Of course, this is Grigor Dimitrov we’re talking about, and he’s as likely to dissect Wawrinka in three easy sets as he is to get blown off the court himself – either way, it’s unquestionably the biggest match of the day, and if simply for the artistry of their one-handed backhands, one you won’t want to miss.

Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) v Venus Williams (USA) [16] – Second on Arthur Ashe

Two former US Open champions, one of these women is going to feel as far removed from that triumph as they ever have after this match. A rivalry that stretches all the way back to 2003, Kuznetsova and Venus have split the spoils five wins apiece, and while the latter comes in considerably higher in the rankings, it’s the Russian who has had a better run of late, having won the title three weeks ago in Washington. Perhaps the crowd gets behind Venus and she’s able to make this a fairly comfortable encounter, but there’s serious danger Kuznetsova will blunt her power and pull off the upset – after all, it has been that type of year for the American.

Denis Shapovalov (CAN) [28] v Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) – Fourth on Grandstand (Not before 5:00pm)

Two players whose names we’ll probably be mispronouncing for the next ten years, Shapovalov v Auger-Aliassime is a first-rounder to savour while we still can. Both players are enormous talents, and while Auger-Aliassime isn’t quite as high rankings-wise (yet!), his familiarity with frequent practice partner Shapovalov should serve him well here. Expect them to waste no time getting right down to business, namely the business of trading in offensive-minded, side-to-side rallies that will constantly test the other’s ability to utilize every possible angle on the court. Give Shapovalov the edge considering his experience and larger pedigree, but don’t be surprised if Auger-Aliassime steals a set or two while making him use every weapon in his arsenal.


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