Third on Louis Armstrong Stadium (Midnight BST Time)
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After reaching the Australian Open final earlier in the year, Stefanos Tsitsipas has failed to elevate his game when it really matters as he continues to lose to his rivals. The seventh seed will be hoping that a lack of expectation and pressure on his shoulders means a reversal in fortunes. Tsitsipas’ US Open preparations saw him win the Los Cabos title but followed that up with early exits in Canada and Cincinnati. Now Tsitsipas will look to regain the momentum at the US Open as he looks for a first Grand Slam title.
Confidence will be hard to build especially when you play a player like Milos Raonic in the first round. The Canadian is only playing his second Grand Slam tournament since 2021 as he continues his potentially short return to the tour. Raonic has already scored some big wins including one over Frances Tiafoe in Toronto as the Canadian’s serve and athleticism is still as effective as it was. Now Raonic will look to cause a shock in the early rounds of the US Open to a player he has never lost to.
Tsitsipas will look to start the match aggressively and return smartly as he looks to use the block return and slice to extend the rallies as he looks to force errors from Raonic’s game. Meanwhile the Canadian will look to be consistent from the baseline especially with his forehand as he looks to be aggressive on serve and test Tsitsipas’ confidence in big points. This is an intriguing match with both players have strengths and weaknesses but in the end Tsitsipas’ lack of confidence could cost him against an effective server like Raonic.
Prediction: Raonic in four sets.
Elena Rybakina  v Marta Kostyuk H2H & Match Fundamentals
The US Open is Elena Rybakina’s worst Grand Slam on paper but the Kazakh is at her most dangerous when not talked about as the favourite for the title. The former Wimbledon champion has had to struggle her way through recent victories but will know that her effortless power is more than capable of shining on the biggest stages. Now the 24 year-old looks to win a Grand Slam title for a second year in a row after narrowly missing out at the start of the year at the Australian Open.
However a tough test awaits Rybakina in the opening round as she takes on talented Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in her opening round match. Kostyuk is a threat on her day with her big-hitting style capable of beating any player. However recently Kostyuk hasn’t matched her potential having only won back-to-back matches twice since winning the title in Austin in March. Now Kostyuk will look to rebuild her confidence by achieving her biggest win of the season so far.
Rybakina will look to make a high percentage of first serves as she looks to dictate the tempo of the rallies. Meanwhile Kostyuk will look to use a variety of slice and power to force errors from Rybakina’s game and set up effective winners from the baseline. This will be a tough test for Rybakina as Kostyuk has beaten some big players in recent weeks but the Kazakh should have enough quality in the big moments to prevail.
Prediction: Rybakina in three sets.
Alexander Bublik  v Dominic Thiem H2H & Match Fundamentals
After a great grass court season, Alexander Bublik has failed to capitalize on the momentum in North America after two early exits in Toronto and Cincinnati. The Kazakh’s unique style of attack has troubled many players and the 25th seed will hope a similar fate awaits his opposition in New York as he looks for a deep run at the US Open.
Standing in Bublik’s way is Dominic Thiem who returns to the scene of his first and only Grand Slam title when he won it in 2020. However three years is a long time in tennis with the Austrian struggling to recreate the type of tennis that won him his maiden Grand Slam title. A run to the final in KItzbuhel will give Thiem optimism that his game is there but is now looking for consistency with the 29 year-old hoping that the US Open can kickstart his form again.
Bublik will look to keep the rallies short as he looks to use his power and variety to catch Thiem off-guard. Meanwhile Thiem will look to use the angles from his forehand to move Bublik around the court and make the Kazakh uncomfortable on the court. This will be a big test for Bublik especially if Thiem can be aggressive early on in the match however Bublik’s power and craft should be too much for the former champion.
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