US Open Tennis 2021: TV Schedule, Picks for Monday Afternoon Draw

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 30, 2021

US Open Tennis 2021: TV Schedule, Picks for Monday Afternoon Draw

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andy Murray will go head-to-head for the first time Monday to kick off U.S. Open men's singles play at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

    Tsitsipas is the No. 3 seed and is on the same side of the bracket as the second-seeded Daniil Medvedev.

    The Greek starts his tournament with a tough draw against a three-time major champion. If he gets past Murray and goes on a run in New York, he will have to overcome Medvedev in the semifinals just to earn another shot at winning his first major crown.

    Murray and Tsitsipas will play the second match on the U.S. Open's showcase court. The opening match pits Madison Keys against Sloane Stephens. Four years ago, Stephens defeated Keys to win her lone major in New York. Both players are unseeded, but it should be a terrific battle between two experienced Americans.

    The full order of play for Monday can be found on the U.S. Open's official website. The marquee matches will be on ESPN. All of the outer court action will be streamed on the ESPN app and

No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Andy Murray

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Tsitsipas' rise up the ATP Tour rankings coincided with Murray's long injury layoff, so the two have not crossed paths at an official event.

    The Greek should be the heavy favorite in the match, but he has to be wary of what Murray brings to the court. The Brit won the 2012 U.S. Open, owns three major titles and will likely be the fan favorite inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday afternoon.

    Murray tuned up for the U.S. Open by playing two matches in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, going 1-1 at that tournament. The 34-year-old won the opening match at each of his past five ATP Tour appearances, including a first-round win at Wimbledon.

    Tsitsipas will receive Murray's best shot, but he can outwork him with stellar shot-making and his athleticism across the hard court. If the Greek keeps Murray off balance and makes him chase down shots across the court, he should wear down the veteran.

    Do not be surprised if Murray wins a set or two inside an emotionally charged stadium, but it is hard to see him moving past the first round given the No. 3 seed stands in his way.

    Tsitsipas advanced to the semifinals at the season's other hard-court major, the Australian Open, and he is looking to redeem himself after a shocking first-round exit on the grass at Wimbledon.

    Pick: Tsitsipas in four sets.

Madison Keys vs. Sloane Stephens

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    Alberto Pezzali/Associated Press

    Keys and Stephens are set to face off for the seventh time in their careers and the third time this season.

    Stephens was victorious in the first matchup in 2021 in the round of 32 in Charleston, South Carolina. Keys then won a three-set battle on the Rome clay.

    Stephens has a 4-2 edge over Keys, and she won both of their head-to-head clashes in major tournaments—in the 2017 U.S. Open final and the 2018 French Open semifinals.

    Neither player comes into New York in terrific form. Keys lost each of her three hard-court matches after Wimbledon, while Stephens went 2-3 in that span. Even though Stephens' recent record is not great, she should enter the U.S. Open with some confidence.

    Stephens pushed Aryna Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed in New York, to three sets in Montreal and went through a three-set battle in a loss to Caroline Garcia in Cincinnati.

    Keys has not won a set during her four-match losing streak. She had three straight-sets wins at Wimbledon before a fourth-round defeat to Viktorija Golubic triggered the poor run of form.

    Stephens' edge in the head-to-head series and her form should give her edge over Keys. The winner of Monday's center-court opener will likely take on American teenager Coco Gauff in the second round.

    Pick: Stephens in two sets.