Seven best first-round matches at the 2021 U.S. Open

Tennis: National Bank Open
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The 2021 United States Open begins on Monday from Flushing Meadows, NY. Here are the seven best first round matches.

7) (27)  Jelena Ostapenko–Latvia vs. Nadia Podoroska–Argentina–In this clay-court specialist matchup, Ostapenko won the French Open in 2017, while Podoroska reached the semifinals of the French Open in 2020. This is their first career meeting head-to-head.

6) (8) Casper Ruud–Norway vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga–France–In this intriguing first round match up, you have the rising Norwegian who has won four titles on clay in 2021, against Tsonga, the 2008 Australian Open finalist. This is their first head-to-head meeting. Tsonga has not won a match at a major since Wimbledon of 2019, but has dealt with an arm injury in 2021.

5) (2) Daniil Medvedev–Russia vs. Richard Gasquet–France–Medvedev, the two-time grand slam finalist (2019 United States Open, and 2021 Australian Open) is my pick to win his first grand slam title in his career. But first, he will have to get by Gasquet, the 2013 U.S. Open semifinalist, and the 2007 and 2015 Wimbledon semi-finalist. Head-to-head, they have beaten each other once. Gasquet beat Medvedev in the first round of the 2018 Open Sud de France in Montpellier, 6-0, 6-3, while Medvedev beat Gasquet in the first round of the 2020 St. Petersburg Open, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0.

4) (4) Alexander Zverev–Germany vs. Sam Querrey–United States–Zverev, the 2020 United States Open finalist and Olympic champion from Tokyo, will be playing despite a series of domestic assault allegations against him which are making the headlines. Querrey has had success in majors in the past, and reached as high as the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2017. Zverev  has won both prior matches. His first win came at the 2017 Laver Cup, and the second win came in the quarterfinals of Beijing in 2019.

3) (1) Ashleigh Barty–Australia vs. Vera Zvonareva–Russia–Barty, the two-time grand slam champion (2019 French Open and 2021 Wimbledon) will face Zvonareva, the two-time grand slam finalist (2010 Wimbledon and 2010 United States Open). This is their first meeting head-to-head.

2) (3) Steafnos Tsitsipas–Greece vs. Andy Murray–Great Britain–Murray, the three-time grand slam champion (2012 United States Open, and 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon) is up against Tsitsipas, the higher seed, and 2021 French Open finalist. Head-to-head, this is their first meeting.

1) Sloane Stephens–United States vs. Madison Keys–United States–In this rematch of the 2017 U.S. Open final, which was won by Stephens, 6-3, 6-0, Stephens has the 4-2 advantage all-time in this juicy first round matchup.  Stephens’ win over Keys at the U.S. Open in 2017, was their only prior match at a major.

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