US Open Tennis 2020: TV Schedule and Predictions for Event's Biggest Stars

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 24, 2020

Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball during an exhibition tournament in Zadar, Croatia, Sunday, June 21, 2020. Tennis player Grigor Dimitrov says he has tested positive for COVID-19 and his announcement led to the cancellation of an exhibition event in Croatia where Novak Djokovic was scheduled to play on Sunday. (AP Photo/Zvonko Kucelin)
Zvonko Kucelin/Associated Press

The 2020 U.S. Open will be one of the more unique events since the resumption of sports across the world. 

Unlike other sports, not all of the top athletes on the men's and women's tennis tours will be participating in the event that starts August 31. 

Novak Djokovic is the only one of the top three Grand Slam winners expected to be in the men's field, which could lead to him being the heavy favorite among a collection of players in search of their first major. 

Serena Williams headlines the women's field, but it will be without Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and defending champion Bianca Andreescu, among others. 

Karolina Pliskova and Sofia Kenin will be among the candidates for the favorite tag before the tournament, but they will both enter the U.S. Open off losses at the Western & Southern Open, which is serving as the tune-up event in New York. 


2020 U.S. Open Information

Dates: Monday, August 31-Sunday, September 13

TV: All matches can be found on ESPN and ESPN2

Live Stream: All matches will be live-streamed on Watch ESPN or ESPN app.


Predictions for Biggest Stars

Top-Seeded Women Fail to Reach Final

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

If the opening matches of the Western & Southern Open are indicators for what we will see at the U.S. Open, the draw could be wide open.

Pliskova and Kenin, the top two seeds in the warm-up tournament, were eliminated after straight-set losses in their first matches. 

Four other seeded women fell in the first round, which leaves 10 of the 16 seeded players in the field before everyone plays their second-round matches. 

Kenin was a bit stunned by her exit because she thought she played well in the buildup to the Western & Southern Open, per Tennis.com's Ed McGrogan.

"I didn't feel like I had any rhythm," Kenin said. "I literally couldn't put the ball [in play] for two sets. I don't even know how I came back to be honest. I played well this whole time, I literally don't know what happened."

The unpredictability could carry over into the U.S. Open, where two of the top eight seeds advanced to the quarterfinal round in 2019.

Of the top women expected to play in New York, only Williams achieved two-week success a year ago, as she reached the championship match. 

If more seeded players follow Pliskova and Kenin out of the Western & Southern Open early, it could take away valuable competitive action for the top players who have not played on a consistent basis in quite some time.


Novak Djokovic Wins Men's Draw

Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

Djokovic carries the largest advantage of any player in either draw. 

The Serb has 17 major championships to his name, while the majority of the other top contenders enter New York without a Grand Slam title on their resumes. 

Djokovic won the U.S. Open on three occasions, with the most recent one coming in 2018 over Juan Martin del Potro. However, the 33-year-old pulled out of the doubles tournament at the Western & Southern Open on Sunday with a neck injury before his singles campaign commenced. Depending on the severity of the problem, it could put his status for the U.S. Open at risk. 

Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev, who could be the top threats to Djokovic, have reached major finals, but both lost those matches. 

Thiem had a 2-1 lead on Djokovic in the 2020 Australian Open final, but he lost his lead and allowed the Serb to rally back to win his 17th Grand Slam. 

Djokovic's experience in gritting out wins in long matches, plus the mental edge of knowing how to approach a final properly, should give him the front-runner title. 

Based off his recent history in New York, Djokovic should be able to get on a roll before he faces tougher opponents. 

In his last four U.S. Open appearances, the Serb reached the final on three occasions and lost in the semifinal in the other. 

With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal not participating, the path could be clear for Djokovic to claim his 18th Grand Slam title.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from ATPTour.com and WTATennis.com