Ashleigh Barty begins her U.S. Open journey on Tuesday against a 2010 Open finalist, Vera Zvonareva.
Barty, the top woman in tennis, has fewer ghosts to wrestle than Novak Djokovic but also has less experience with playing her best in New York. Barty has never reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open in her five appearances, though she has played the event only once since winning her first major tournament at the 2019 French Open.
But though she also suffered Olympic disappointment, losing in the first round, Barty bounced back with a dominant run to the Western & Southern Open title near Cincinnati this month, not dropping a set along the way.
Because of Australian travel restrictions, she has not been home for months, but said her nomadic year, one in which she won her first Wimbledon title, has become one of her best.
“It’s become such a beautiful story for me this year; it’s become such a beautiful year on the tennis court,” Barty said last week. “All of those distractions, experiences, everything that’s come with it has made it all the better.”
How to watch: From noon to 6 p.m. Eastern on ESPN; 7 to 11 p.m. on ESPN2; and streaming on the ESPN app. In Canada on TSN from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and streaming on TSN.ca and the TSN app.
Matches to keep an eye on.
Because of the number of matches cycling through courts, the times for individual matchups are estimates and may fluctuate based on when earlier play is completed. All times are Eastern.
Court 10 | 11 a.m.
Maria Sakkari vs. Marta Kostyuk
Maria Sakkari, the 17th seed, reached the semifinals of the French Open in June but has struggled on grass and hardcourts since then. Sakkari reached the round of 16 at last year’s U.S. Open, but faces a tough draw from the start here.
Marta Kostyuk, 19, boldly declared herself at the French Open by reaching the round of 16, and propelling herself to a career-high ranking of 55th in the world. She is quite capable of upsetting opponents who have more experience, and will provide a serious test for Sakkari on the faster surface at Flushing Meadows.
ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM | 3 p.m.
Ashleigh Barty vs. Vera Zvonareva
Ashleigh Barty, the world No. 1, retired from the French Open in the second round, and was forced to skip the preparatory grass tournaments earlier in the summer. Since then, she has won 12 straight matches, including her second major title at Wimbledon.
Vera Zvonareva, a former world No. 2, has not been past the second round of a major tournament since 2014, after a shoulder surgery in 2013 necessitated multiple periods away from the tour. Zvonareva’s experience is likely to be overshadowed by Barty’s current dominance.
ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM | 7 p.m.
Novak Djokovic vs. Holger Rune
Novak Djokovic comes into the U.S. Open looking to complete a Grand Slam. After two losses at the Olympics left Djokovic without a medal, he will be looking to bounce back and win a record-setting 21st career Grand Slam title. Djokovic will first face Holger Rune, an 18-year-old from Denmark who is a first-time major qualifier ranked No. 145. Although Rune won the Junior French Open title in 2019, it is highly unlikely that he will present much opposition.
Louis Armstrong STADIUM | 9 p.m.
Taylor Fritz vs. Alex de Minuar
Alex de Minuar, the 14th seed, will face off against Taylor Fritz, an American who is struggling with his form. Fritz has lost his last four matches on hardcourts, usually his best surface. De Minuar lost in the first round at Wimbledon in June, and has won only one match since then. As the two look to climb in the world rankings, the match is likely to hinge more on mental strength than on the physical aspects that have powered their careers.
Sleeper match of the day.
Court 4 | 6 p.m.
Jenson Brooksby vs. Mikael Ymer
Jenson Brooksby and Mikael Ymer are two exciting young talents on the ATP Tour. Ymer, a 22-year-old Swede, reached the third round of two major tournaments this year, upsetting players like Gael Monfils and Hubert Hurckaz along the way. Brooksby, a 20-year-old American, recently broke into the world top 100 after a run to the semifinals at the Citi Open, beating Frances Tiafoe and Felix Auger-Aliassime. Both can be aggressive at the baseline, which makes for exciting tennis.