2012 US Open Day 2: Five Matches To Watch

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Five To Watch:

[WC] Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) vs Venus Williams (USA) Arthur Ashe Stadium (H2H Venus Williams 3-0)

After being beset by injuries the last year, it has been tough for Mattek-Sands as she has been trying to regain the form that once saw her a top 40 player. Handed a wildcard by the tournament organisers, she will be keen to prove them right after four of the American wildcards lost yesterday. Meanwhile, Venus looked inspired in her run to the semi finals in Cincinnati and a repeat of that form could see her go deep here (if she can navigate the expected second round vs Angelique Kerber). The pair have met three times but Williams has won each time, including here at the US Open in 2o09.

[22] Francesca Schiavone (ITA) vs Sloane Stephens (USA) Louis Armstrong Stadium (H2H Francesca Schiavone 1-0)

In the women’s draw, there is a number of seeds that many would consider weak on this surface and thought to be very beatable. It has to be said that Francesca Schiavone is far more comfortable on the clay and her 6-8 record on the year for hard courts reflects that. Her grinding style has begun to look less effective and she was very poor in losing to her young compatriot Camila Giorgi in Cincinnati. Meanwhile Stephens looks to be one of the top prospects in American tennis and her ability is not in doubt. She took second sets off Agnieszka Radwanska and Marion Bartoli in recent weeks but came up short in the third both times. Her best performances often come in slams, having made the fourth round at the French and third rounds at Wimbledon and here in the past year. A big question mark over Stephens’ head is that of her mental strength, she often fails to put away players and she may not be able to afford to do that against someone as experienced as Schiavone.

David Goffin (BEL) vs [6] Tomas Berdych Louis Armstrong Stadium

Tomas Berdych had been suffering somewhat of a dip in form recently until making the final in Winston Salem where he missed match points against John Isner. His grass season had been a write-off with first round exits in Wimbledon and the Olympics to Gulbis and Darcis and it looked like his US Open preparations would be going the same way with third round exits to Richard Gasquet and Milos Raonic. Berdych will be hoping that he doesn’t have as tough a time with Goffin as he did with the last Belgian he faced in Steve Darcis. Goffin received many plaudits after taking a set off Federer in France but has since dropped off in form a bit, although he did make the quarter final of Winston Salem where he was also a victim of winner John Isner.

[11] Nicolas Almagro (SPA) vs Radek Stepanek (CZE) Court 17 (H2H Radek Stepanek 2-0)

With wins over Juan Monaco, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Juan Martin Del Potro in recent weeks, Stepanek will likely be in good spirits as he takes on another top 20 player. Although there were question marks over the latter two’s health, these three wins are still very impressive. Having not played since London, Almagro could well be rusty and cannot afford to start slowly otherwise he may well be on the way to a third consecutive loss by his Czech opponent. A pleasant draw gives Almagro his best chance of making the fourth round for the first time here but it definitely won’t be easy.

Vania King (USA) vs Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) Court 11

This match sees the two times doubles champions and very good friends reunite for the first time on court since the pair split to concentrate on the Olympics. Unfortunately for them, they are on opposite sides of the court. With the Williams’ and the other up and comers in American tennis, King rarely gets a mention but is still a capable player, as shown by making the third round in three of her last four attempts at grand slams. Shvedova has been the surprise at the last two slams, with a quarter final and fourth round appearance. With the draw here, she is more than capable of repeating those results if she keeps up her current form. The pair will be teaming up again in the doubles though this year hoping to repeat their 2010 heroics that saw them take the title here.

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