Iga Swiatek begins US Open defence wary of Aryna Sabalenka threat | US Open tennis

new balance

Iga Swiatek will open up Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open this year as she faces Rebecca Peterson of Sweden at midday on Monday, marking her first challenge as she attempts to defend both her title and her No 1 ranking from the looming threat of Aryna Sabalenka, the second seed.

Swiatek’s dominance on the WTA tour over the past 18 months presented her with a rare opportunity to equal a feat achieved by the imperious Steffi Graf. The Pole will look to become the first woman since Graf in 1996 to defend both Roland Garros and US Open titles in the same year. For Swiatek, there is a fine balance between taking confidence from last year’s performance and starting the event with a fresh slate.

“On one hand you always want to kind of take experience from last year, find all these positive things that happened, take strength from that,” Swiatek said. “On the other hand you have to remember that it’s a totally different story. A lot can happen during these 12 months. So I try to take everything step by step, not really go forward with my thoughts, think that I need to do something more because last year I won.”

See also  Coco Gauff claims biggest title of her career by defeating Karolina Muchova | Tennis

Elsewhere, Caroline Wozniacki will make her return to the US Open as she continues her comeback from retirement. The Dane, a wildcard, faces the qualifier Tatiana Prozorova as the second match on Louis Armstrong Stadium. Fresh off her first WTA 1000 title in Cincinnati, Coco Gauff will headline the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium against the qualifier Laura Siegemund.

Some of the most interesting first-round draws include Elena Rybakina, the fourth seed, who will begin her campaign against Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine and the clash between Sloane Stephens, the 2017 champion here, and the 19th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia.

In the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic will return to competition at the US Open late on Monday night as he faces Alexandre Müller in the second match of the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium. After missing last year’s edition because unvaccinated visitors were not allowed to enter the US borders, it will be Djokovic’s first match at the US Open since falling at the last hurdle of his grand slam attempt in 2021, where he lost in the final against Daniil Medvedev.

See also  Rafael Nadal is set to be out for FIVE MORE months after surgery on his left hip
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic missed last year’s US Open as he was unvaccinated against Covid. Photograph: Larry Marano/Shutterstock

“It was last year during the Open that I felt it’s a pity that I’m not there,” Djokovic said. “I felt sad for not being able to participate. But this year, I mean, is this year. I don’t think about what happened in the last year or last couple of years. Just focusing my attention to this year’s tournament.”

There are numerous interesting first-round matches to come. Stefanos Tsitsipas, the seventh seed, will begin his tournament with a tough match against Milos Raonic, one of the biggest servers of all time. The Canadian, who reached No 3 in 2016, is on the comeback trail after missing nearly two years of competition with various injuries.

See also  Martina Navratilova reveals she is ‘cancer-free’ after throat and breast diagnoses | Martina Navratilova

Dominic Thiem, the 2020 champion, continues his own comeback as he faces Alexander Bublik, the 25th seed, in the first round. Also in action is Holger Rune, the fourth seed, who did not seem ecstatic to be playing his first match against Roberto Carballes Baeba out on Court 5. After learning of his court assignment, Rune helpfully posted a site map of the US Open grounds on X (formerly Twitter). “In case you can find court 5,” he wrote.

new balance

Source link