Two weeks ago, on Venus Williams's frequently updated and always insightful YouTube channel, the former World No.1 revisited one of the most pivotal US Open matches of her career.
In 1999, Williams fell 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 to Martina Hingis in the semifinals, a loss she said "fuelled me to change my life and change my approach to the game of tennis." Williams admits that the occasion, and her desire to win a Grand Slam, had been too big for her at that point.
"There's such a thing as wanting it too much," Williams said. "In the sense that if you just want it, but you're not willing to do what it takes to get it, it's just called wanting it. I wanted it, but I was not willing to do what it took. My biggest mistake in this match was hoping my opponent would miss, and hoping that somehow, she would give me the win. What's the right thing to do? You gotta go for it, you gotta take it, you gotta do the work ... Then you get it, because you deserve it."
Twenty-four years on, at the age of 43, Williams is still doing the work. These days, much of it has involved managing various injuries -- this month, she joked that she felt like a "professional rehabber" -- but it's still paying off. Her 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(6) win over Camila Giorgi in Birmingham was one of the year's most exciting contests; and in Cincinnati, she scored her first Top 20 win in four years 6-4, 7-5 over Veronika Kudermetova.
Williams's first test will come against No.97-ranked qualifier Greet Minnen, who has been having a quietly resurgent season. The former World No.69 had fallen out of the Top 200 at the end of 2022, but has compiled a 48-15 record this year. A run to the Kozerki WTA 125 final two weeks ago saw her re-enter the Top 100.
Looking back on her loss to Hingis, Williams said that a key lesson she took from the result -- and from watching younger sister Serena defeat Hingis to win her first Grand Slam days later -- was that she "needed more heart." Nearly quarter of a century later, Williams's ongoing career is evidence that she's still got plenty of that quality to give. Fittingly, she will open Day 2's night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Three more to watch on Day 2
Camila Giorgi (ITA) vs.  Jessica Pegula (USA)
Like doubles partner Coco Gauff, Pegula has arguably levelled up this summer. A second WTA 1000 title in Montreal was highlighted by a 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-4 upset of Iga Swiatek in the semifinals, and the American comes into her home major with a real shot at breaking through the quarterfinal barrier, a stage at which she has lost in six Grand Slams to date.
Pegula faces a familiar foe to start. She first played the ever-dangerous hard hitter Camila Giorgi in an ITF W25 event in 2011, and this will be their 11th meeting in total. Pegula leads the head-to-head 8-2, including the last five in a row, but those numbers are slightly deceptive: she needed to save match point in both their 2022 encounters, and her win at Roland Garros this year came via retirement.
 Ons Jabeur (TUN) vs. Camila Osorio (COL)
Where next for Jabeur after her devastating Wimbledon final loss to Marketa Vondrousova? The Tunisian has only played two completed matches since, falling to Aryna Sabalenka in the Cincinnati quarterfinals, and said ahead of the US Open that the Wimbledon result "still hurts."
She'll need to be sharp against No.68-ranked Osorio. The 21-year-old Colombian is a renowned battler, particularly with her back to the wall, and as capable of producing crowd-pleasing hot shots as Jabeur. Still, their previous meeting -- also at the US Open -- bodes well for last year's finalist. Jabeur was a runaway 6-0, 6-1 victor in the 2021 second round.
 Caroline Garcia (FRA) vs. [Q] Wang Yafan (CHN)
This time last year, Garcia was in the middle of a hot streak that saw her reach her first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open, in between claiming the Cincinnati and WTA Finals crowns. Things look a little different 12 months on. The Frenchwoman racked up a four-match losing streak this summer after losing her openers in Washington, Montreal and Cincinnati. Though she snapped it after taking a last-minute wild card into Cleveland last week, a 6-4, 6-1 quarterfinal loss there to Zhu Lin was hardly a confidence boost.
Moreover, Garcia has drawn one of the most dangerous qualifiers in the first round here. Former World No.47 Wang was sidelined for seven months in 2022, but has rocketed back up the rankings from No.696 in March to her current No.114 after compiling a 56-10 overall record. The 29-year-old is also on a 10-match winning streak, having claimed the Stanford WTA 125 title two weeks ago and then raced through qualifying for the loss of just 10 games in three matches.
Garcia and Wang have split two previous meetings, with Garcia winning 7-6(10), 6-7(4), 6-3 in the 2018 Beijing first round and Wang avenging the result 6-4, 6-2 in the 2019 Tianjin second round.
Also in action
Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova faces qualifier Han Na-Lae in a matchup between two creative left-handers. Han, 31, navigated Grand Slam qualifying successfully for the first time in 18 attempts last week to become the first South Korean woman in the US Open main draw since Cho Yoon-Jeong in 2007.
For the third major in a row, Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka has the opportunity to seize the World No.1 ranking for the first time. She starts against Belgium's Maryna Zanevska, who is playing the final tournament of her career.
Elina Svitolina's comeback from maternity leave was a highlight of both Roland Garros, where she reached the quarterfinals, and Wimbledon, where she went all the way to the last four. Already ranked back at No.26, the 2019 semifinalist starts against Anna-Lena Friedsam in a first-time encounter.
Cleveland finalist Ekaterina Alexandrova takes on 2021 runner-up Leylah Fernandez. The pair have split two previous meetings, both on hard courts in 2022.
An intriguing stylistic contrast finds No.13 seed Daria Kasatkina's indefatigable defence going up against the big-hitting American Alycia Parks, whose formidable serve saw her win her first title in Lyon in February and rise into the Top 50 this year.
Throwback Tuesday, part one: qualifier Vera Zvonareva, the 2010 runner-up, faces 33-year-old lucky loser Yanina Wickmayer, the 2009 semifinalist. Zvonareva, 38, first played the US Open 21 years ago, reaching the 2002 third round on her debut. The pair first played each other in 2009 and are all square at two wins apiece.
Throwback Tuesday, part two: Kaia Kanepi, 38, first contested US Open qualifying in 2002 and Barbora Strycova, 37, debuted a year later. The pair will play each other for just the second time in what will be Strycova's final US Open. Strycova was a 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 victor in 2019 Cincinnati qualifying.