After starting the season by reaching the Australian Open final, Danielle Collins’ form has fallen and the American hasn’t played many tournaments due to concerns over her health. However Collins is a dangerous player on her day as she proved in Melbourne in January and will look to use her confidence and self-belief to notch up more wins and make another deep run at a Grand Slam. The question is will Collins’ body be ready for another Grand Slam run in New York?
Collins’ first opponent is someone who knows what it takes to win a Grand Slam in the form of Naomi Osaka. Osaka has won the US Open twice and is looking to rediscover the form that saw her dominate the tour in 2020-2021. That is easier said than done though with Osaka’s mental and physical frailties limiting her process with the Japanese star not winning back-to-back matches at a tournament since Miami. Now Osaka hopes past glories in New York will inspire a fairy-tale run at the last Grand Slam of the year.
The serve is so important for both players and that will be the true sign of progress in this match. Given both players are out of form and haven’t been active on the tour, there will be a lot of errors and rust during this match. Whoever can win this match will have a big foundation to build on for the rest of the tournament and Osaka’s head-to-head record mixed with bigger strengths sees her with the slight edge heading into this blockbuster opening round.
Prediction: Osaka in three sets.
Grigor Dimitrov  v Steve Johnson H2H & Match Fundamentals
It is Grigor Dimitrov’s lack of consistent stamina that has let the Bulgarian down in recent weeks with Dimitrov once again retiring in Winston-Salem last week. Dimitrov hasn’t won back-to-back matches since Roland Garros and the 17th seed will be hoping he can put an end to that in New York but he will know that it will take a monumental improvement in form for that to happen.
Next for Dimitrov is another player that he retired against this year in the form of Steve Johnson. The American has showed decent form in recent months which has seen him on the brink of the world’s top 100 against. Johnson’s serve and slice combination has caused many problems to some of the world’s top players and now the American looks to continue his consistent form at his home grand slam.
Dimitrov will need to be aggressive from the start while working within his physical limitations while Johnson will look to force the errors from Dimitrov’s racket with his slice. This will be a tough test for Dimitrov and a defeat here would leave him in troubling form. Johnson’s quality from the baseline and net could see him score a surprise victory in front of his home crowd especially given the longer format.
It has been a breakthrough season for Amanda Anisimova as her consistent season has seen her become one of the biggest threats on the tour. The only thing missing from the American’s season so far is a deep Grand Slam run and Anisimova will look to achieve that in New York in front of her home fans.
First up for Anisimova is Yulia Putintseva who is still proving to be a threat on the WTA tour with a run to the quarter-finals in Toronto clear evidence of that. The Kazakh has a feisty personality mixed with a game full of variety as she still has the tours to pull of upsets on a consistent basis. Now Putintseva will look to use her bag of tricks to force another deep run at a Grand Slam.
This will be a good first test for Anisimova to test her consistent power and her ability to deal with different slices. Putintseva will look to be consistent from the baseline and try different things to disrupt Anisimova’s rhythm but in the end the American should edge to victory.
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