LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Matteo Berrettini of Italy reacts during his Round of 16 match against Andy Murray of Great Britain during Day 4 of The cinch Championships at The Queen's Club on June 17, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Tony O'Brien/Getty Images)
It’s been another outstanding season for Matteo Berrettini which started with reaching his first ever masters 1000 final in Madrid and since then has gone from strength to strength. The Italian tested Novak Djokovic to four set battles both at Roland Garros in the fourth round and then in the Wimbledon final. Now after a shoulder injury ruled him out of the Olympics, Berrettini is looking to find his rhythm again.
It won’t be easy though for Berrettini as he takes on Jeremy Chardy in his opening round in New York. The Frenchman has produced inconsistent form in 2021 but always proves to be a threat against the big players in big events. Chardy will be hoping reaching the quarter-finals at the Olympics will give him the confidence to achieve better results at bigger events.
Both players have big forehands and big serves with similar game styles that could see a couple of tiebreakers and really test Berrettini’s physicality in the early stages of the US Open. However the Italian should just have too much for Chardy as his consistency is expected to see him into the second round.
Prediction: Berrettini in four sets.
Bianca Andreescu  v Viktorija Golubic H2H & Match Fundamentals
It has been another tricky season for Bianca Andreescu with COVID and injuries seeing her being unable to realise her high potential that many people expected to see from her. The Canadian will hope returning to the scene of her 2019 triumph will give her the spark needed to return to her peak form. Glimpses of brilliance in Miami means that it would take a bold person to underestimate her especially on the big stage.
However Andreescu will have to get past an in-form Viktorija Golubic who has had a career-best season in 2021. The Swiss star has won 40+ matches this season including reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, her best grand slam result and an Olympic silver medal in the doubles with Belinda Bencic. However only one US Open series win heading into the US Open has seen her reach a dip in form.
This will be a tough test for Andreescu especially in a first round match and there is no reason to see why she can’t lose this match given her form and shaky tennis. An aggressive Golubic could have too much for the Canadian but a win for Andreesu could spark her season into life.
After a tricky start to the season, Alex De Minaur has brought his best tennis recently especially on the grass courts with a semi-final at Queen’s Club was backed up by an ATP title in Eastbourne. The Australian has failed to consistently find his form with injuries severely effecting his development however returning to the scene of some of his best slam results could provide the spark needed for a big grand slam result here.
As for Taylor Fritz it has been another solid season with the American able to record back-to-back wins on all surfaces. The American has proved he can beat those around him with Reilly Opelka, Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans all losing to Fritz this season however the American now needs to put those wins all together in one tournament. Can the US Open be the tournament he starts to show his capabilities.
Expect long rallies and a gruelling contest that will test both players capabilities in this tough opening round. After five sets it should be De Minaur’s defensive abilities that should have too much for Fritz.
Prediction: De Minaur in five sets.
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