Coco, Venus, Kim: The top 10 first-round matches at the 2020 US Open

Coco, Venus, Kim: The top 10 first-round matches at the 2020 US Open

Three of the biggest names in women's tennis—Venus Williams, Coco Gauff and Kim Clijsters—all play seeded players in the first round.

The draws were revealed for the 2020 US Open on Thursday afternoon, and there were a lot of first-round matches that jumped out at us. Here are 10 of the most intriguing opening clashes:


Anastasija Sevastova (31) vs. Coco Gauff [First Meeting]

In what could be the most-anticipated first-round match on the women’s side, American phenom Gauff will take on No. 31 seed Sevastova, who’s had the best results of her entire career at the US Open. She reached her first two Grand Slam quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows in 2016 and 2017 before going one step further to her first major semifinal here in 2019. They’ll clash on Armstrong on Monday afternoon.


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Alexander Zverev (5) vs. Kevin Anderson [Zverev leads 5-0]

Could the No. 5 seed be on upset alert in the first round? Zverev dropped his opening match at the relocated Cincinnati event this past week to one of the most dangerous unseeded players in the draw, Andy Murray—and now has a similar situation at the US Open with Anderson, a former No. 5 and two-time Grand Slam finalist, including here in 2017. The head-to-head is on Zverev’s side, though.


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Grigor Dimitrov (14) vs. Tommy Paul [Paul leads 1-0]

Dimitrov is by far the more accomplished player of the two—a Masters 1000 champion, an ATP Finals champion, a former No. 3 and a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist, including right here at the US Open a year ago. But the only time these two played, Paul rose to the occasion, ousting the Bulgarian in the second round of the Australian Open earlier this year, 6-4, 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3).


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Ekaterina Alexandrova (21) vs. Kim Clijsters (WC) [First Meeting]

Clijsters’ comeback to the tour was paused after two tournaments in February, but the three-time US Open champion’s game is perfectly suited for these courts, and she won six of seven matches in World TeamTennis. Can she get the first win of her comeback?


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Serena Williams (3) vs. Kristie Ahn [First Meeting]

On the surface, this doesn’t look like a tricky one for the world No. 9—Ahn is No. 97 and she’s never beaten a Top 10 player before. But she did have the best tournament of her career on these courts a year ago, making it all the way to the fourth round, taking out major champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Ostapenko en route. And how will Serena rebound from her strange loss to Maria Sakkari?


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David Goffin (7) vs. Reilly Opelka [Tied 1-1]

The big-serving, 6’ 11” American had an abbreviated lead-up week at the Western & Southern Open, having to retire in the first set of his quarterfinal against Stefanos Tsitsipas due to a right knee injury. But if healthy, he’s always dangerous to the top players—he’s 4-4 against Top 10 players in his career, and he also won his last meeting with Goffin.


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Karen Khachanov (11) vs. Jannik Sinner [First Meeting]

Sinner is being touted as one of the most promising future stars of the men’s game, but doing very well right now. He's soared into the Top 100 in 2019, and he’s already recorded his first three Top 20 wins, over Gael Monfils and Alex de Minaur last year, and Goffin this year. The Italian just turned 19 two weeks ago—how will he do against the No. 16-ranked Khachanov in his opener?


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Karolina Muchova (20) vs. Venus Williams [First Meeting]

Venus will be playing the US Open for the 22nd time—a new women’s record for most US Opens played in the Open Era—but getting out of the first round won’t be easy, as she drew one of the most talented young rising stars in the game in Muchova. The Czech has an all-court game that took her all the way to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon last year, in her Wimbledon debut.


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Sofia Kenin (2) vs. Yanina Wickmayer [Wickmayer leads 1-0]

It wasn’t a winning return to the tour for Kenin this past week, falling to one of the biggest giant-killers, Alize Cornet, in her opening match at the Western & Southern Open. And her first hurdle at the US Open could be a high one too—not only is Wickmayer a former No. 12 and a US Open semifinalist in 2009, she also won their only previous meeting at a WTA 125K Series event in 2018.


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John Isner (16) vs. Steve Johnson [Johnson leads 5-4]

Isner may have the beefier resume—a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2018 and a two-time US Open quarterfinalist, in 2011 and 2018—but Johnson has won five of their nine meetings, and their last four meetings in a row: Washington DC in 2016, Auckland and Acapulco in 2017 and Houston in 2018.


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