US Open Tennis 2021: TV Schedule, Start Times for Tuesday Night Draw

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2021

US Open Tennis 2021: TV Schedule, Start Times for Tuesday Night Draw

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    No one is facing more pressure at this year's U.S. Open than Novak Djokovic.

    The 34-year-old is looking to complete a rare calendar Grand Slam after winning the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year. He's also looking to claim his 21st major title, which would break a deadlock with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most of all time by a men's singles player.

    Djokovic's run toward history will begin in prime time on Tuesday night against Holger Rune in one of four matches in the late session.

    Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. All first-round matches can be live-streamed on or through the ESPN app.

    Here's a preview of the night matches.

No. 1 Novak Djkovic vs. Holger Rune

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    This a rude welcome to a Grand Slam tournament for Rune.

    The Danish teenager has to make his major debut against arguably the greatest player of all time, under the bright lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Its a tough spot, but he's going to try to enjoy it.

    "At the beginning, my heart was like, 'Whoa.' It was kind of crazy," the 18-year-old said about finding out he would play Djokovic, per's Andrew Eichenholz. "He's an incredible player, he's a legend, so it's going to be fun for me. I believe I have the level to play with everyone on Tour, so it's going to be a really interesting match for me."

    That's about as good an attitude as one can have stepping into Djokovic's path. The Serb is laser-focused on completing what will be his crowning achievement in tennis, and he welcomed the pressure that comes with chasing such greatness.

    "Pressure is a privilege, it truly is," he told reporters. "This is what you work for day in, day out, all your life, to put yourself in a unique position to win Grand Slams and to make history. At the end of the day I'm a big tennis fan, fan of history."

    Djokovic will join exclusive company if he can complete the calendar Grand Slam. Only five singles players have done it. Rod Laver was the last man to pull off the feat, and he did it twice, in 1962 and 1969. Steffi Graf is the most recent singles player to achieve a Grand Slam, winning all four major titles in 1988.

Viktorija Golubic vs. No. 6 Bianca Andreescu

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    Viktorija Golubic and No. 6 Bianca Andreescu will follow the Djokovic-Rune match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. For the latter, the courts at Flushing Meadows represent her greatest success as a professional.

    The Canadian rocketed to fame as a 19-year-old at the 2019 U.S. Open, when she defeated Serena Williams in straight sets to capture her first Grand Slam title.

    Unfortunately, she hasn't had much of a chance to build on that success. A knee injury and the coronavirus pandemic kept her out of all the Grand Slams in 2020. This year has been difficult in a different way, as she's suffered first-round exits at both the French Open and Wimbledon.

    Andreescu, now 21, is hoping to get back on track in New York. Her new coach, Sven Groeneveld, is helping her reach her full potential.

    "I see a huge difference in practice. That whole confidence thing, I’m just going to have to play matches. That’s all I can really say, play matches, continue to train hard, prepare well, prepare mentally," Andreescu told reporters

    Golubic has never made it past the first round at the U.S. Open, but she can't be overlooked.

    The 28-year-old from Switzerland made a surprise run to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. It was her best performance yet at a Grand Slam. If she can translate that play to the hard courts, she might have a shot at an upset.

Alison Riske vs. No. 14 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

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    It's a clash between tour veterans when No. 14 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova takes on unseeded American Alison Riske Tuesday night.

    Riske, 31, hasn't fared all that well at the U.S. Open. Her best showing was a fourth-round appearance in 2013. She typically does her best work on grass courts, so she'll need to dig deep to score an upset against her Russian opponent on the hard court at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

    Pavlyuchenkova will be relieved just to have made it to New York. She had to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open in August because of an issue with her U.S. visa. It appears the problems have been sorted out, and she will be ready to go for Tuesday's matchup.

    When it comes to form, the 30-year-old can look to her strong showing at the Summer Games in Tokyo. She beat three opponents before losing to eventual gold medalist Belinda Bencic 0-6, 6-3, 3-6 in the quarterfinal. She was also runner-up at the French Open, losing to Barbora Krejcikova in the final.

    Riske hasn't had as much success lately, suffering first-round losses in the Summer Games and the Canadian Open to go along with a second-round exit at the Western & Southern Open.

Taylor Fritz vs. No. 14 Alex de Minaur

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    Taylor Fritz is another American looking to score an upset Tuesday night when he faces No. 14 Alex de Minaur. 

    Fritz, 23, is a Southern California native and the son of former tennis pro Kathy May Fritz. He's ranked No. 42 in the world, a bit off from his career-high ranking of No. 24 earlier this year.

    That high point came shortly after he nearly scored an upset over Djokovic in the third round of the Australian Open. The Serb suffered an abdominal injury in the match, and Fritz took advantage and turned in an inspired performance before eventually falling in five sets, 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6. 

    Fast forward to August, and Fritz could use a little inspiration. He's lost four hard-court matches in a row coming into the U.S. Open. Luckily for him, his opponent is also in the doldrums.

    De Minaur is just 1-4 since winning the Viking International Eastbourne in June. That rough stretch includes a first-round exit at Wimbledon.

    Overall, the 22-year-old is 9-9 this year on hard courts, while Fritz is 14-10. This could end up being a tense battle between two young players desperate to get their seasons back in order.


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