After the long COVID-19 shut down of tennis the US Open is hours away.
There was a bit of a setback as France’s Benoit Paire tested positive for the virus and he has withdrawn from the tournament.
Ten Australians are competing in the singles event at the 2020 US Open after world no. 1 Ash Barty, Nick Kyrgios, Sam Stosur, Alexie Popyrin and Priscilla Hon decided not to take part.
Alex de Minaur is the top ranked Australian men’s player and is seeded at no. 21. He has an opening round match against Slovakia’s Andrej Martin the world no. 98. It is their first meeting.
Martin has two qualifying matches under his belt at this same venue last week for the Cincinnati Masters. de Minaur lost in his first round match to Jan-Lennard Struff.
This US Open is so hard to tip due to the COVID-19 shutdown and a lack of matches to base decisions on although de Minaur has just won the Cincinnati doubles title with Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta. I am tipping de Minaur.
John Millman who famously upset Roger Federer a few years ago at the US Open has a tough opening round match against world no. 30 Nikoloz Basilashvili from Georgia. I am tipping Millman to cause an upset.
The remaining Australians men’s players all have a decent shot at victory. Christopher O’Connell faces the toughest opponent with world no. 81 Laslo Djere from Serbia. The Serbian lost in straight sets in qualifying against USA’s Marcos Giron. O’Connell has some competitive tennis under his belt after playing in the UTR Pro Tennis Series in Australia.
Marc Polmans faces the USA’s world no. 96 Marcos Giron. Polmans has some match play recently after competing at the UTR series in Australia. Both players are inexperienced at the Grand Slam level with Polmans tasting victory just once and Giron is yet to win a match at this level. I am tipping Polmans.
In the women’s singles we see Ajla Tomljanovic taking on the 2016 US Open champion Angelique Kerber.
Tomljanovic had a bit of an injury scare last week with a thigh injury. In an interview on Facebook she said she has recovered and is ready to face the German. Kerber has not competed since the Australian Open where she had injury issues as well.
Kerber was mostly practicing on clay before making a decision to head to New York while Tomljanovic has had some matches in the USA at Team Tennis. This could go either way as it is unknown just how Kerber will play after a long layoff.
Maddison Inglis plays Poland’s Magda Linette. Normally you would favour the Polish player but these are not normal times. Inglis is a fighter and has been playing in the UTR Pro series in Australia. I am tipping Inglis in an upset .
Astra Sharma faces Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska the world no. 25. Yastremska played some good matches last week before losing to Naomi Osaka. That experience will be too much for Sharma.
Finally we see Lizette Cabrera against Danka Kovinic from Montenegro. Kovinic is ranked at no. 92 and Cabrera is the world no. 127. The Australian has had some match play during the UTR Pro Tennis Series in Australia, this could help give her the edge.
(21) Alex de Minaur v Andrej Martin SVK
John Millman v (22) Nikoloz Basilashvili GEO
Jordan Thompson v Stefano Travaglia ITA
James Duckworth v Salvatore Caruso ITA
Christopher O’Connell v Laslo Djere SRB
Marc Polmans v Marcos Giron USA
Luke Saville and Max Purcell v Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies GER
John Peers and Michael Venus NZL v N Lammons and Nick Monroe USA
Ajla Tomljanovic v (17) Angelique Kerber GER
Maddison Inglis v (24) Magda Linette POL
Astra Sharma v (19) Dayana Yastremska UKR
Lizette Cabrera v Danka Kovinić MNE
Ellen Perez and Storm Sanders v Victoria Azarenka BLR and Sofia Kenin USA