US Open Day 1 Preview
Published August 26, 2012 11:43
NEW YORK, NY, USA - First round action gets underway at Flushing Meadows on Monday, with several intriguing matches on offer, including a tricky opener for defending champion Samantha Stosur.
Monday, First Round
Arthur Ashe Stadium
Petra Martic (CRO #64) vs.  Samantha Stosur (AUS #7)
Head-to-head: Stosur leads 1-0
With Victoria Azarenka, Kim Clijsters and Li Na all in her quarter, Samantha Stosur certainly drew the short straw in terms of the draw. However, before she can cast her mind to the challenges that lie ahead she must first negotiate a potential first round banana skin in the form of Petra Martic.
The only previous career meeting between the pair came in Madrid earlier this year, where Martic gave Stosur a real scare before losing out in a final set tie-break. The Croatian has a well-rounded game and showed at Roland Garros that she also has the temperament for the big occasion, defeating Marion Bartoli during a run to the fourth round.
Sorana Cirstea (ROU # 38) vs.  Sabine Lisicki (GER #23)
Head-to-head: Cirstea leads 3-0
Surprisingly, considering their respective rankings, Sabine Lisicki has lost all three of her career meetings with Sorana Cirstea. Two of these have gone the distance, though, and after a promising, if erratic, summer on the grass and hard, Lisicki will be confident of finally getting over the winning line against the Romanian in New York.
After suffering first round exits on her past two visits to the US Open, Cirstea will be equally keen for the win and, as their head-to-head suggests, her high-risk game has the ability to disrupt Lisicki's rhythm on serve and from the back of the court. Cirstea will also be buoyed by her recent Slam record against seeds, with wins in 2012 over Samantha Stosur and Li Na proving she is unlikely to be overawed by the occasion.
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK #41) vs.  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS #20)
Head-to-head: Pavlyuchenkova leads 4-1
After a difficult start to the year, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has quietly gone about playing herself into form over the summer hardcourt season. Impressive showings in Washington and Cincinnati have served as a timely confidence booster ahead of the year's final Slam, where she reached the quarterfinals 12 months ago.
Meeting her first up is another former quarterfinalist, Daniela Hantuchova. Although Hantuchova's last eight appearance came a decade ago, she remains one of the WTA's cleanest ball strikers and proved she is far from a spent force with a win over Li Na at the Olympics. Pavlyuchenkova leads the head-to-head 4-1, although all four of her wins have been tight affairs, with the most recent coming more than two years ago.
Around the grounds...
World No.1 Victoria Azarenka kicks off her quest for a maiden US Open crown against Alexandra Panova on Louis Armstrong, while other potential title challengers in action include Maria Sharapova, Li Na and Kim Clijsters.