US Open Day 2 Preview

The top seed and two former champions are in action in New York on Tuesday.

Published August 31, 2009 10:38

US Open Day 2 Preview
Jelena Jankovic

NEW YORK, NY, USA - It was relatively plain sailing for the seeds in the bottom half of the draw on Monday; will fortune also favor the favorites on Tuesday, as players in the top half take to the courts?

Arthur Ashe

[1] Dinara Safina (RUS) vs. [WC] Olivia Rogowska (AUS)
First meeting
Over the past year 18-year-old Rogowska has improved her ranking by 502 places (she now stands at No.167) but does she have the game to hurt Safina? She's beaten a seeded Russian in a Grand Slam before - her victim was Maria Kirilenko, at Roland Garros - but of course the world No.1 will be a very different prospect. Among players with at least 10 match victories in 2009, Safina arrives at Flushing Meadows with the best main draw match winning percentage on the Tour (0.813, 52-12) and she is one of four players to have captured three titles this season. But she must be feeling the pressure to bag a major, and, as the 17 double faults she served during her loss to Aravane Rezai at Toronto showed, the stress can tell. While that might be Rogowska's best hope, she'll have her own issues to contend with on the biggest stage she's encountered so far.

Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) vs. [29] Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Sharapova leads 1-0
Sharapova hasn't had it easy since her return to action in May; 12 of her 29 matches have been decided in three sets, and to her credit she has toughed out 10 of those. Five of her seven losses have been against Top 20-ranked players, and she has reached the quarterfinals or better in six of seven tournaments played. In that context, a good showing in New York seems like a natural next step - she's a big match player, and she's been all the way to the title here before. The last time these two played was at Istanbul two years ago, and it was a tight two-setter, but Pironkova - who upset Venus Williams in the first round at the Australian Open in 2006 - hasn't kept her trajectory since then. Now at No.98 in the rankings compared to Sharapova's No.29-with-a-bullet, the Bulgarian will do well not to be dazzled under the lights.

Louis Armstrong

Roberta Vinci (ITA) vs. [5] Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
Jankovic leads 2-0
Both previous matches between these two gritty campaigners have been decided in a third set tie-break, so another closely-fought tussle would come as no real surprise. That said, with her win at Cincinnati - which ensured she finished third on the Olympus US Open Series points standings - Jankovic appears to have signed a new lease on life. This time a year ago she had just had her first brief taste of life as No.1, and within weeks of the US Open had secured the top ranking for the rest of the year. After achieving her dream, the first half of 2009 must have felt like a nightmare at times for the Serb, but she is looking sharp and may well flourish under lowered expectations this fortnight. Vinci has only ever advanced past the first round of the US Open once, and she may find her rival is doubly keen to show a difference in class today.


[4] Elena Dementieva (RUS) vs. (Q) Camille Pin (FRA)
Dementieva leads 1-0
Whichever way you look at it, Dementieva is one of the best players yet to win a Grand Slam. She's been to two major finals - at Roland Garros and here at Flushing Meadows - and won Olympic gold, and indeed is one of just four active players with more than 100 career victories in Grand Slam main draws to her credit (the others being both Williams sisters and Amélie Mauresmo). In short, the 27-year-old has paid her dues, and what's more, arrives in New York as the winner of the Olympus US Open Series. But is it all going to come together this fortnight? Last year, exhausted after the excitement of Beijing, the Russian almost went out in the first round, but there should be no such hiccup today. Sure, Pin is an experienced campaigner who is match tough after winning her way through qualifying. However, eight years after she last tackled Dementieva, she won't find things any easier.

More to watch...
Five years after she lifted the trophy here, 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova opens proceedings on Arthur Ashe, against Julia Goerges of Germany. Ninth-seeded New Haven champion Caroline Wozniacki is first up against Galina Voskoboeva on Louis Armstrong, while in the evening, No.11 seed Ana Ivanovic plays Kateryna Bondarenko on the Grandstand. No.32 seed Sabine Lisicki of Germany faces Aravane Rezai of France on Court 10; No.32 seed Agnes Szavay and Shahar Peer will do battle on Court 13, as will No.16 seed Virginie Razzano and Yanina Wickmayer.

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