And just like that, the final Grand Slam of the calendar is upon us!
The 139th edition of the US Open will shortly spin into action at Flushing Meadows as Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka set about defending their respective titles.
As ever, though, a series of sub-plots and histrionics bubble under the hard surface of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. None more so than…
The First Round face-off everybody is talking about.
Get the popcorn out coz this is going to be tasty!
In a never-seen-before opening round duel at FM, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will face-off – quite literally, you could say.
These two have serious beef with each other stretching back a long way, spilling over into off-court matters too. You just don’t wanna go there!
On the court, the rivalry has been one-sided to say the least. Of their 22 head-to-head match-ups, Grand Slam Queen, Williams, one title shy of Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24, has got the better of Sharapova a whopping nineteen times.
Tennis’ “It” girl once upon a time, Sharapova, has regularly succumb to her arch-enemy and is not expected to stop six-time US champ, Williams, from powering through to the second round.
But the pressure of chasing that record is clearly getting to Serena as her recent temper tantrums show. More popcorn may be needed if its Sharapova to send her home on day one.
Should you fancy a punt on the Russian to cause an opening day upset (+275) and claim a rare win over the heavily fancied Williams (-350).
Novak knows what’s required
He’s coming for ya, Roger!
Yep, having won four of the last five Grand Slams, Novak Djokovic is closing in on the GOAT leaderboard, which has the Serbian just three behind Federer’s haul of 20.
It’s a race that has drawn closer since their epic encounter at Wimbledon just last month, the third occasion Djokovic has beaten his great rival at the All England Club.
The duo are on course to meet again, here, in a potential mouthwatering semi-final likely to change the dynamic of the quest for immortality once more.
But he’ll have to do what no player has achieved since Roger in ’08 and that’s successfully retain a title at Flushing Meadows.
Novak himself (twice), Nadal (three time), Murray (once) have all, during the last decade, failed to win this slam in successive years, going to show the size of the task at hand for Djokovic.
Can the King of hardcourts and reigning champ win number 18?
All go for Coco
What were you doing at fifteen years old?
Bet you weren’t winning games of tennis at Wimbledon? (PlayStation doesn’t count!)
But this was real life for Cori “Coco” Gauff just last month as she shot to fame overnight after becoming the youngest player to receive a wild-card qualifying entry at SW19, beating five-time champ Venus Williams and reaching the fourth round.
“Cocomania” is now an everyday event for the teenager. On top of trying to be a normal kid and taking her high school exams of course.
Granted another wild card on the back of her summer success, she’ll be backed to the hilt by the home crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium as the prodigy faces fellow teen, Russian Anastasia Potapova in round one.
Will the talented teen wow us all again?
Kyrgios on course to make the semis
Ok, hear us out!
After been cleared to compete following his latest meltdown in the Cincinnati Masters, Nick Kyrgios, should he behave himself, has the chance to make the headlines for the right reasons by going deep in this tournament.
The Australian has a fairly clear path to the semi-finals with world no.4, Dominic Thiem, the biggest name he can come up against in the quarters.
As we well know though, Kyrgios getting his head down to play a straightforward game of tennis is a rare occurrence and easier said than done.
Volleying verbals at umpires (quite literally say some), destroying rackets, throwing chairs and acting like a general all-round menace is about a day’s work for Kyrgios.
BUT, if – a big one I know – Kyrgios can keep his temper in check, maybe just maybe, we’ll witness a career best Slam from the 24-year-old.