The top seeds look to have easy assignments ahead of them on Wednesday at the U.S. Open. The 33-year-old Serena Williams will clash with 23-year-old Kiki Bertens. The two women have never played each other before, but Bertens has won 11 of her last 12 singles matches.
None of those matches have come against elite players and on Wednesday, Bertens will be face to face with the best in the world. It won't end well for the young woman from the Netherlands. Expect a systematic rout by Williams as she marches closer to another Grand Slam final.
Perhaps no one can stop Serena from attaining her goal of the calendar Grand Slam sweep. It certainly sounds as if Williams' contemporary Mirjana Lucic-Baroni feels that way. Per Harold Gutman of ESPNW.com, Lucic-Baroni says:
It's sort of impossible to be No. 1 for how many years now and start when she started and still be here dominating. I mean, no one can beat her. OK, she can have an off day here and there, but what she has done in the last decade or even more, it's incredible effort. Especially in today's tennis -- it's so physical and she's so above and beyond stronger and bigger than everybody -- and obviously mentally tough to last that long.
Novak Djokovic tangles with Andreas Haider-Maurer, and this one should also be one-sided. Djokovic and Haider-Maurer have met once before. The match took place in April in Monte Carlo, and Djokovic won 6-4, 6-0.
Haider-Maurer had no answer for Djokovic then, and it's likely he won't have found a solution on Wednesday. Here's a look at predictions for the rest of the day's ranked singles schedule:
Click here to see the full schedule of play for Wednesday.
Matches to Watch
No. 23 Venus Williams vs. Irina Falconi at 7 p.m. on ESPN
We could be headed toward another Williams sister clash in the quarterfinals. If both Serena and Venus Williams do their part, the two future Hall of Famers will meet once again in the quarterfinals.
Venus has to take care of Irina Falconi on Wednesday.
This match isn't the open-and-shut case it might have been if Williams were in top form and a bit younger, but Falconi isn't an especially strong hard-court player. Her record on the surface is just 17-24.
Because of that, Williams' serve should play well and help her to move closer to another Grand Slam meeting with her sister.
No. 8 Rafael Nadal vs. Diego Schwartzman at 11 a.m.
Here's another matchup that would have been viewed as an easy win were it taking place a few years ago. Rafael Nadal's game has fallen off considerably over the last two years. The King of Clay failed to win at the French Open this year for the first time since 2009.
If Nadal is no longer a lock at Roland Garros, there will surely be doubts about his chances at other Grand Slam events.
Despite his recent struggles, Nadal knocked off 18-year-old prospect Borna Coric in the first round 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Devang Desai, a writer for Toronto FC's official site, thought Nadal played great. He tweeted:
This is the best Rafa has played in months. Amazing ball striking.— Devang Desai (@DesaiDevang) September 1, 2015
Nadal has faced Diego Schwartzman, his opponent on Wednesday, once before. The former took a straight-sets win (6-2, 6-2) over the latter in 2013. Based on Nadal's recharged demeanor in the first round, he gets the edge in this match. The true test will come when he faces his first ranked opponent.
That could happen in the third round in a matchup with No. 32 Fabio Fognini, if both men win on Wednesday.
All stats per Wettpoint.com.