The U.S. Open marks the end of the Grand Slam tennis season, and there is plenty of drama as the tournament gets underway in Queens, New York.
One of the key issues is the health of top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams and their ability to string victories together and win their respective titles.
Djokovic, who plays his first match at 7 p.m. ET Monday night against unseeded Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, has been battling a left wrist injury.
Djokovic lost in the third round to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon earlier this summer, and Juan Martin del Potro beat him in the Olympics before he could reach the medal rounds.
“The wrist hasn't been in an ideal state for the last three-and-a-half weeks,” Djokovic told reporters in a pre-U.S. Open media session, according to Simon Briggs of The Telegraph. “But I'm doing everything in my power with the medical team to make sure that I'm as close to 100 percent as possible.”
|U.S. Open: Monday's Prominent Late Matches|
|Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Jerzy Janowicz||Arthur Ashe Stadium||Djokovic|
|Milos Raonic (5) vs. Dustin Brown||Court 17||Raonic|
|Rafael Nadal (4) vs. Denis Istomin||Arthur Ashe Stadium||Nadal|
|Jack Sock (26) vs.Taylor Fritz||Louis Armstrong Stadium||Sock|
|Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (9) vs.Guido Andreozzi||Grandstand||Tsonga|
|Madison Keys (8) vs. Alison Riske||Arthur Ashe Stadium||Keys|
|Barbora Strycova (18) vs.Monica Niculescu||Court 5||Strycova|
|Johanna Konta (13) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands||Grandstand||Konta|
|Garbine Muguruza (3) vs. Elise Mertens||Louis Armstrong Stadium||Muguruza|
|USOpen.org; Silverman selections|
Williams will play her first-round match Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Ekaterina Makarova. The No. 1 seed has been battling shoulder problems since securing a victory at Wimbledon earlier this summer, and if she is not 100 percent at the U.S. Open, it will likely impact her powerful serve.
"I have not played a lot, I haven’t practiced a lot, but I’m just now starting to feel a little better,” Williams said in preparation for the U.S. Open, per Tom Perrotta of the Wall Street Journal. “Hopefully just every day I will keep going higher.”
Djokovic's top challenger is second-seeded Andy Murray, which puts him in the lower half of the draw. Murray wouldn't meet Djokovic until the championship match and is not taking any comfort from the Serb's wrist problems. The same holds for fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal, who is also in Djokovic's half of the draw.
"To be honest, Novak and Rafa, they're both in the top half," Murray told PA Sport (h/t ESPN.co.uk). "Them having wrist problems doesn't affect my chances of getting to the final, as I wouldn't have to play them in that stage anyway."
In addition to Djokovic, Monday's other key men's late matchups include the fourth-seeded Nadal vs. Denis Istomin, fifth-seeded Milos Raonic vs. Dustin Brown, 26th-seeded Jack Sock vs. Taylor Fritz (will not start before 5:30 p.m.) and ninth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Guido Andreozzi.
On the women's side, eighth-seeded Madison Keys will meet Alison Riske in a night match. Other notable late matchups include 18th-seeded Barbora Strycova vs. Monica Niculescu, 13th-seeded Johanna Konta vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and third-seeded Garbine Muguruza vs. Elise Mertens.
Specific times for the first-round matches are not available, since multiple matches take place at each court throughout the day. The only matches that are specifically listed for 7 p.m. start times or later are Djokovic vs. Janowicz and Keys vs. Riske.
ESPN2 will televise Monday night's first-round matches from 6 p.m. through 11 p.m., and the Tennis Channel will review the first round from 11 p.m. until midnight.