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U.S. Open 2020: Day 1 Schedule and What to Watch for

Court 17 | 4:30 p.m.

Danielle Collins, unseeded at this year’s U.S. Open, started 2019 with a breakout. She reached the semifinals at the Australian Open, but had a hard time following that success, reaching only the second round at the 2019 U.S. Open. At the beginning of 2020, she rebounded, beating Elina Svitolina, Sofia Kenin and Belinda Bencic during the Australian swing of the WTA season. Collins’s aggressive style is suited to the faster hardcourts, and her powerful baseline game transitions well to the net.

Her opponent, Anett Kontaveit, is built in a similar vein. Kontaveit became the first Estonian, male or female, to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal at this year’s Australian Open. Kontaveit, seeded No. 14, will be looking to replicate that success on a similar hardcourt surface in Flushing Meadows. Kontaveit’s main weapon, an incredibly varied serve, is particularly effective in forcing weak returns, which could make it difficult for Collins to establish her groundstrokes when returning.

Louis Armstrong Stadium | 1 p.m.

In his short career, Shapovalov, the No. 12 seed, has not been knocked out of the U.S. Open before the third round. Shapovalov, 21, possesses one of the best one-handed backhands in the game, with incredible shotmaking ability and power.

Korda, who received a wild card into the U.S. Open, is a promising young American player. He is the son of the Czech players Petr Korda, who won the Australian Open in 1998, and Regina Rajchrtova, who competed in the 1988 Olympics. In 2018, Sebastian Korda won the junior singles title at the Australian Open, but this U.S. Open will be his first appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam event. The tall, thin player is deceptively quick, and will need to be on the top of his game if he is to challenge his opponent.

Louis Armstrong Stadium | 3 p.m.

Gauff, just 16, is remarkably mature both on and off the court. After a breakout year in 2019, she has shown no signs of slowing her seemingly inevitable ascent into the top echelons of the tennis world. At the Australian Open, she defeated the defending champion, Naomi Osaka, in the third round before losing to the eventual champion, Sofia Kenin, in the fourth. In this draw, she faces yet another seeded player in the first round.

Sevastova, seeded No. 31, reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open in 2018. Her game is comparable to Gauff’s. Sevastova does not have one shot with which to overpower her opponents; she seeks weaknesses in them and craftily constructs points to exploit those weaknesses.

Their match should be a master class in tactical thinking, angled shots and stalwart footwork — unless one player decides her way to win is to lean away from her own strengths to disrupt her opponent. Either player is capable of making that decision and grinding away, if need be.

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