The final Grand Slam of the tennis season and the lone of its ilk on American soil is set to take the globe by storm when the top names descend upon USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the 2014 U.S. Open.
Like the 133 iterations before it, this year's tournament features dominant players and plenty of opportunity for lesser-known names to shock the globe, meaning it will provide must-see action from the opening gun right down to the final point.
While a few major names such as Rafael Nadal and Li Na will not be in attendance in Flushing, New York, that is a gift and a curse—the former suggesting that the final major of the year is yet another opportunity for top seeds to struggle as the parity in the sport continues to expand.
Here is a look at the full day-by-day schedule, with a few notes to ponder after the jump.
2014 U.S. Open TV Schedule
|August 25||11 a.m.- 7 p.m.(Tennis Channel); 1 p.m.-7 p.m. (ESPN)||First Round|
|August 26||11 a.m.- 7 p.m.(Tennis Channel); 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (ESPN)||First Round|
|August 27||11 a.m.- 7 p.m.(Tennis Channel); 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (ESPN)||Men's First Round; Women's Second Round|
|August 28||11 a.m.- 7 p.m.(Tennis Channel); 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (ESPN)||Second Round|
|August 29||11 a.m.- 7 p.m.(Tennis Channel); 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (ESPN)||Men's Second Round; Women's Third Round|
|August 30||11 a.m.-6 p.m. (CBS); 7 p.m.-11 p.m. (Tennis Channel)||Third Round|
|August 31||11 a.m.-6 p.m. (CBS); 7 p.m.-11 p.m. (Tennis Channel)||Men's Third Round; Women's Round of 16|
|September 1||11 a.m.-6 p.m. (CBS)||Round of 16|
|September 2||11 a.m.-7 p.m. (ESPN)||Men's Round of 16; Women's Quarterfinals|
|September 3||Noon-6 p.m. (ESPN)||Quarterfinals|
|September 4||Noon-6 p.m. (ESPN)||Men's Quarterfinals|
|September 5||12:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS)||Women's Semifinals|
|September 6||Noon-6 p.m. (CBS)||Men's Semifinals|
|September 7||12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (ESPN2); 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. (CBS)||Men's Doubles Final; Women's Final|
|September 8||5 p.m.-8 p.m. (CBS)||Men's Final|
Storylines to Watch
John Isner's Plight
American players are rightfully thrust into the spotlight this time of year at the lone major on their home turf, yet recent years have been anything but kind to the group as a whole.
In fact, Andy Roddick is the last American to win the U.S. Open—back in 2003.
The top-ranked American at this point is John Isner (No. 15), who has had anything but a smooth path to New York this year. After cruising through the first few rounds at the Winston-Salem Open, he was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury.
"I can't risk further injury with the U.S. Open right around the corner," Isner said during a news conference at the Wake Forest Tennis Center, per the Associated Press (via ESPN). "It was pretty uncomfortable doing even minimal stretching on it. I didn't see the benefit of taking the court."
Isner is likely to give it a go in New York, but it is a horrific way to start. Instead of a momentum boost as the No. 1 seed against a rather weak field, he had to place himself on the shelf.
While the event is the site of Isner's best Grand Slam finish thanks to a quarterfinals appearance in 2011, things are already bleak with expectations high once again. A field sans Nadal was a bit open to interpretation from his standpoint, but the task just took a step up in difficulty.
The Curious Case of Serena Williams
Predictably, Serena Williams is the No. 1 seed and a rather large favorite to win the tournament, which would give her three in a row.
But that outlooks suggests things have been business as usual for the star, which is downright not the case.
In fact, this season has been the strangest of Williams' career, and the event in New York is perhaps her final chance to salvage it, especially after registering her earliest exit (a third-round loss to Alize Cornet) from Wimbledon since 2005.
A win at the Western & Southern Open does little to inspire confidence in her outlook in the coming weeks when she has walked into several tournaments this year the favorite only to crash and burn in a sporadic manner.
In tandem with a rather potent field, Williams might just be a letdown once more.
Simona Halep is in great form and the No. 2 seed. Maria Sharapova is seeded fifth, which may set up an epic quarterfinal bout with Williams. Victoria Azarenka is No. 16, but only because of an injury-derailed campaign she is on the hunt to put behind her. Venus Williams is No. 19 but upended Serena in the semifinals in Montreal earlier this month.
Then again, she could rediscover her form and go on a dominant tear and win it all. It has just been one of those seasons, which makes each of Williams' matchups even more pertinent to watch than usual.
Novak Djokovic's Opportunity
As far as recent momentum goes, No. 1 Novak Djokovic may be the biggest loser of all.
While he was able to reclaim the top rank and a win at Wimbledon, Djokovic lost at the Rogers Cup and the Western & Southern Open, the latter to a No. 16 seed (Tommy Robredo), no less.
The draw is brutal for Djokovic. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took him down at the Rogers Cup and certainly has the ability to do so again, given his current form. The two might just meet in the quarterfinals. 2012 champion Andy Murray might be in the cards, too.
If anyone understands how much he needs to turn things around, though, it is the man himself, as he told Josh Meiseles of ATPWorldTour.com:
I don’t underestimate any tournament. I, of course, wanted to do well, but I couldn’t. I was aware of the fact that I need to recharge, regroup and get myself on the right path for the US Open. It’s the last Grand Slam of the season. I’ve been spending a lot of hours on the court and trying to get my game to where I want it to be.
If Djokovic is where he wants to be, great. But that does not change a ridiculously tough draw and set of participants overall. Even if he makes it through to the final, a rematch of their five-set classic at Wimbledon may be in the cards against Roger Federer.
Some will argue that with Nadal out of the way, the door is wide open for Djokovic. It is not a horrible thing to point out, but this opportunity in particular on the final major stage is a trying one, even for the No. 1 player in the world.