The 2014 U.S. Open is underway with a packed slate of first-round affairs on Day 1 that may leave you glued to the television all Monday long.
The draw can be welcoming for some and brutal for others. Even some of the top seeds in both the men's and women's draws can be uprooted by the right opponent at the right time.
Could early upsets for elite tennis players in Grand Slams earlier this year have set the stage for more this week in Flushing Meadows?
Let's find out if that's been the case so far, and take a look forward at Monday night's matches.
|Nick Kyrgios def. No. 21 Mikhail Youzhny||7-5, 7-6, 2-6, 7-6|
|No. 23 Leonardo Mayer def. Albert Montanes||6-2, 3-0 (retired)|
|Matthew Ebden def. Tobias Kamke||6-4, 6-3, 7-6|
|Matthias Bachinger def. Radek Stepanek||6-3, 6-2, 6-2|
|Andreas Seppi def. Sergiy Stakhovsky||6-3, 6-1, 6-4|
|No. 2 Simona Halep def. Danielle Rose Collins||6-7, 6-1, 6-2|
|No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska def. Sharon Fichman||6-1, 6-0|
|No. 6 Angelique Kerber def. Ksenia Pervak||6-2, 3-6, 7-5|
|No. 18 Andrea Petkovic def. Ons Jabeur||7-6, 1-6, 6-3|
|No. 31 Kurumi Nara def. Aleksandra Wozniak||6-2, 6-1|
|No. 14 Lucie Safarova def. Timea Babos||6-4, 7-5|
|Saisai Zheng def. Stefanie Voegele||1-6, 6-2, 6-2|
|Belinda Bencic def. Yanina Wickmayer||6-3, 6-2|
|Jana Cepelova def. Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor||2-6, 7-5, 6-1|
|Shuai Peng def. Jie Zheng||6-3, 6-3|
|Tsvetana Pironkova def. Karin Knapp||6-4, 6-3|
|Monica Puig def. Tereza Smitkova||3-6, 6-3, 6-3|
USOpen.org (all scores current as of 3 p.m. ET, Aug. 25)
Note: Scores updated as of 3 p.m. ET on Aug. 25. Up-to-date scores can be found at USOpen.org.
Day 1 Evening Schedule
|Aug. 25||7 p.m.||No. 5 Maria Sharapova vs. Maria Kirilenko||ESPN2|
|Aug. 25||9 p.m.||No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. Diego Schwartzman||ESPN2|
ESPN coverage starts at 6 p.m. ET
No. 5 Maria Sharapova vs. Maria Kirilenko: 7 p.m. ET
Maria Sharapova's 2014 season has been one of her best in recent memory, and she'll look to begin her quest for her second U.S. Open under the lights against a fellow Russian.
The No. 5 seed will join Novak Djokovic as notable tennis standouts to follow the opening ceremony on Monday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium, facing Maria Kirilenko in the first of two nighttime matches.
It will be a return to New York for Sharapova after missing last year's event. She struggled down the stretch in 2013, losing to Sloane Stephens in Cincinnati before withdrawing from the U.S. Open to close out the year.
This time around, she's feeling much better about her chances.
"I feel much more refreshed than I did sitting in this chair a year ago," she told USOpen.org's Sandra Harwitt. "I feel much more excited to be back and to be playing healthy rather than going on a court and worrying whether I’d be worse or whether [playing] was the right decision."
The 27-year-old broke her major drought at this year's French Open, but it was still just her second Grand Slam in six years—both of which came on the Roland Garros clay courts. She hasn't won a U.S. Open since her first and only crown in 2006, when Sharapova was under 20 years old and still peaking.
Kirilenko has the experience needed to defeat Sharapova but is just 2-5 all-time against the fellow Russian and hasn't defeated her since 2010—a first-round upset at the Australian Open.
It remains to be seen if the Russian star will be able to handle the likes of Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber or Serena Williams, but Sharapova should have no problem posting a resounding win to open up play at Flushing Meadows.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. Diego Schwartzman: 9 p.m. ET
Fans piling into Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night will have a chance to see the top men's seed in action as Novak Djokovic will look to start his quest for a third straight Grand Slam final appearance.
The opponent will be Diego Schwartzman, a player Djokovic has not yet faced in the professional circuit.
Although the Serbian sensation is coming off a Wimbledon title and a French Open final appearance, his best tennis has eluded him ever since re-claiming the world No. 1 spot. He looked far from his best competing in two ATP events, losing early at the Rogers Cup and even earlier in Cincinnati—which took place just before heading to New York.
Djokovic admitted that after Grand Slam success this year, getting married and expecting a child, he's been focusing on much more than tennis, per New York Times' Ben Rothenberg:
“But without a doubt, life changes,” he said. “You know, priorities change. My priorities, my family, my wife, my future kid. Tennis is definitely not No. 1 anymore.”
Still, the Djoker has been training hard in Flushing Meadows to be ready for the opener under the lights, per Caro Paquin of BATennisWorld.com:
Not surprised that Djokovic i hitting with Ferrer. Best practice partner, imo, when facing Schwartzman (similar game style).— Caro Paquin (@caropaquin80) August 24, 2014
Though Djokovic has plenty more on his plate entering the year's final Grand Slam, no player can turn the switch back on better than him at this point. With no true weaknesses to his game, his health and focus will be enough to get him into the final stages of the tournament.
Ousting Federer in the final may prove too tough to overcome, and perhaps a late-round opponent could eliminate him. But there's little doubt that Djokovic will start out with a resounding victory in Round 1.