It's not exactly a redemption tour for women's No. 1 tennis player Serena Williams, but it is an opportunity for the queen of women's tennis to reassert her dominance.
Williams takes the court Tuesday night against Russian Ekaterina Makarova (7 p.m. ET, ESPN), and after failing to win last year's U.S. Open that would have given her the calendar year Grand Slam, she does have an opportunity to win her seventh national title at Forest Hills, New York.
It may not be an easy journey for Williams because she has been battling shoulder difficulties since winning at Wimbledon in July. Williams was shut out of the medal stand at the Olympic Games in Rio earlier this month, and the grind of the two-week, every-other-day match schedule could take its toll on her.
Andy Murray had no such difficulties in Brazil, where he came away with the gold medal about a month after he earned his second Wimbledon championship. The No. 2 seed is on the opposite side of the draw from Novak Djokovic nor will he have to battle Roger Federer, who is recovering from knee surgery and is not competing.
Murray will play in prime time Tuesday night against Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic (9 p.m. ET, ESPN). Murray believes Rosol is a capable player who could cause some problems if he is not at his best.
|U.S. Open: Tuesday's Prominent Late Matches|
|Dominic Thiem (8) vs. John Millman||Court 13||ESPN||Thiem|
|Nick Kyrgios (14) vs. Aljaz Bedene||Old Grandstand||ESPN||Bedene|
|Andy Murray (2) vs. Lukas Rosol||Arthur Ashe||ESPN||Murray|
|Karolina Pliskova (10) vs. Sofia Kenin||Court 17||ESPN||Pliskova|
|Agnieszka Radwanska (4) vs.Jessica Pegula||Louis Armstrong||ESPN||Radwanska|
|Serena Williams (1) vs. Ekaterina Makarova||Arthur Ashe||ESPN||Williams|
|USOpen.org; Silverman picks|
"He's a tough, tough opponent," Murray told BBC sports. "He's a big strong guy, goes for his shots, takes a lot of risks.
"He's caused upsets in the Slams before. Everyone will probably remember him beating Rafa [Nadal] at Wimbledon a few years ago."
However, there is some discomfort between the two players. They had a brief confrontation during a 2015 match in Munich when Rosol and Murray bumped into each other as they changed ends. Murray described the incident by saying Rosol "shoulder barged" him, per the BBC.
He also said the incident lasted only briefly, that the two players talked about it in the lockerroom and that it is no longer an issue.
Murray has one U.S. Open to his credit (2012), and he may be able to add to his total this year. Top-seeded Novak Djokovic does not appear to be at his best. Djokovic won his first-round match Monday night over unseeded Jerzy Janowicz of Poland by a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 score, but he had to take a timeout in the first set and have the trainer attend to a sore right shoulder.
Before the tournament started, Djokovic had problems with his left wrist, but there was no word of any shoulder issues.
However, once play got underway, his serve did not appear to have the steam it has had in previous tournaments.
Djokovic did not shed much light on the issue during an on-court interview. "I don’t think it’s necessary to talk about this now," Djokovic said (h/t Howard Fendrich of the Associated Press). "I'm through. I'm taking it day by day."
In addition to Serena Williams and Murray starting their tournament run, several other highly regarded players are scheduled to see action Tuesday night.
Eighth-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria will battle Australia's John Millman and 14th-seeded Nick Kyrgios, also from Australia, will compete against Great Britain's Aljaz Bedene.
On the women's side, fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland will meet American Jessica Pegula and 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic will take on American Sofia Kenin.