Both defending champions, Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu, chose not to attempt a repeat. Roger Federer has ended his season due to injury. Fan favorite Gael Monfils, is, like the crowd that adores him, also absent. Six of the top 10 women are missing, including No.1 Ashleigh Barty and No.2 Simona Halep, leaving No.3 Karolina Pliskova as seed.
With the lack of a qualifying draw this year, the entry limit for this year’s women’s singles was around 50 points lower than last year, in terms of ranking. There are still many quality players in both singles tournaments, but their distribution is less even than usual due to absences.
Here are some games to keep an eye on.
Due to the number of matches spanning the fields, the times for individual matches are a guess at best and will certainly fluctuate based on the completion time of the previous game. All times are oriental.
Arthur Ashe Stadium | 1 pm at the earliest
Kevin Anderson versus Alexander Zverev
Kevin Anderson, a finalist at the US Open in 2017, missed last year’s competition as part of a long fight against injuries. Anderson finished fifth in the world at the peak of his career in 2018, but is now ranked outside the top 100. Last week, at the Western & Southern Open, Anderson beat world number 44 Kyle Edmund in three shots. match before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round. Even though Anderson has slipped from his peak, his powerful serves and bottom strikes can still be used as a club to allow him to press towards the net and checkpoints.
Fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev has beaten Anderson all five times he has played, including three times on hard courts in the US in the summer. The one major differentiator in this match may be the consistency of serve, which Zverev has struggled with over the past year. Zverev lost to Andy Murray last week and committed a double foul three times while serving for the match in the third set.
Court 17 | 16:30
Anett Kontaveit vs. Danielle Collins
Danielle Collins, unseeded at this year’s US Open, started 2019 with a breakout. She reached the semifinals at the Australian Open, but had a hard time following that success, only reaching round two at the 2019 US Open. In early 2020, she rebounded, beating Elina Svitolina, Sofia Kenin and Belinda Bencic during the Australian swing of the WTA season. Collins’ aggressive style is suited to the fastest hard courts and his powerful base play passes well on the net.
His opponent, Anett Kontaveit, has a similar structure. Kontaveit became the first Estonian, male or female, to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final at this year’s Australian Open. Kontaveit, seeded number 14, will look to replicate that success on a hard surface similar to Flushing Meadows. Kontaveit’s primary weapon, an incredibly varied serve, is particularly effective at forcing weak returns, which could make it difficult for Collins to establish his backstrokes on the return.