Each day during the US Open, we'll preview and predict three must-see matches.
Roger Federer vs. Mikhail Youzhny
After Federer’s shaky first-round display, against Frances Tiafoe, I wrote that there was no point in looking ahead for him. If his back remains an issue, he’ll have to take this tournament one match at a time. Fortunately for Federer, the opponent in the first of those matches is Youzhny. Federer is 16-0 against the Russian, who is 35 years old and will have to play without a day’s rest. That said, judging by the way Federer began against Frances Tiafoe, this may be the best chance Youzhny has ever had of getting on the board against him. Winner: Federer
Dominic Thiem vs. Taylor Fritz
This mid-afternoon matchup on Armstrong may be of interest primarily to American fans, who can use it to gauge where one of their top young prospects stands against an Austrian player who was in a similar situation not long ago. Thiem and Fritz have never played, but I’m guessing this will be a learning experience for the American. And he’ll be reminded that he still has a lot to learn. Winner: Thiem
Rafael Nadal vs. Taro Daniel
US Open officials were probably hoping to see Rafa face young American Tommy Paul in this might-match showcase. But Paul lost in five to Daniel, a 24-year-old from Japan ranked No. 114. He and Nadal have never played, but even in Rafa’s current state of playing-level flux, this should be straightforward. Winner: Nadal
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