US Open Tennis 2018: TV Schedule, Picks for Monday Afternoon Draw

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23:  Rafael Nadal (R) of Spain and Sloane Stephens (L) of the United States smile alongside the US Open men's and women's singles trophies after the US Open Live Draw Unveiling at the US Open Experience at Brookfield Place on August 23, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for USTA)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The final Grand Slam of the 2018 tennis calendar is upon us, with Rafael Nadal and Sloane Stephens beginning the defence of their U.S. Open titles at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Both will be in action on the opening day of the tournament as they take on David Ferrer and Evgeniya Rodina, respectively.

Six-time U.S. Open champion Serena Williams, world No. 1 Simona Halep and former winners Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka will also feature on what should prove to be to be a thrilling first taste of action in New York.

The full order of play can be found at the tournament's official website.

In the United States, ESPN will be providing full coverage from noon ET, and the action can also be seen on ESPN3, ESPN+ and the Tennis Channel, with live-streaming available at WatchESPN.

For viewers in the UK, Amazon Prime will be showing the tournament exclusively, and its coverage will begin at 4 p.m. BST each day.

                         

Grigor Dimitrov to Suffer a First-Round Exit

Grigor Dimitrov and 2016 champion Wawrinka will kick off the action at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.

The latter was unable to defend his title last year as he missed the tournament because of knee surgery, and his recovery from that has seen him endure a difficult year. He's still ranked outside the top 100, but he beat eighth seed Dimitrov in the first round at Wimbledon earlier this year.

The Bulgarian won't be happy to have drawn him again, particularly as he's now further along in his recovery and returning to form.

Wawrinka reached the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters earlier this month, and tennis commentator David Law and writer Jose Morgado were pleased to see a strong showing from him:

Dimitrov still holds a 4-3 head-to-head record with the Swiss star, but with Wawrinka getting back to his best, it could end the same way as their meeting at the All England Club.

                                             

Opening Wins For Murray, Stephens

Murray will be making his first Grand Slam appearance in 13 months after his own lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury and recovering from surgery.

As a result of his absence, the Scot isn't anticipating a repeat of his 2012 victory here. 

"This one feels slightly different because, for the last 10, 11 years, I have been preparing to try and win the event. I don't think that is realistic for me this year," he said, per the Guardian's Kevin Mitchell.

The Times' Stuart Fraser was impressed with him in practice ahead of the tournament, though:

Murray's honest self-assessment will likely prove accurate given where he's at in his comeback, but in terms of progressing through the first round, he has been handed a kind draw, per BBC Sport's Russell Fuller:

Murray may only be 382nd in the rankings after his absence, but he's still 66 places higher than opponent James Duckworth, who has already had five surgeries during his career by the age of 26.

The pair have never met in competition, but Murray should be capable of getting through this match with a win.

For Stephens, it has almost been a case of all-or-nothing this year in the Grand Slams. She made the French Open final, but lost in the first round at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

The American is eager to defend her first major title on home soil, though:

Stephens warmed up for the U.S. Open with a run to the final of the Rogers Cup earlier this month. She was defeated in three sets by Simona Halep, but the tournament offered a reminder of how difficult to stop she can be when she gets going.

Rodina may not be an easy opponent after she produced her strongest Grand Slam performance at Wimbledon earlier this summer by making the fourth round, but Stephens should progress here.

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