Louis Armstrong Stadium | 7 p.m.
Grigor Dimitrov vs. Tommy Paul
Grigor Dimitrov, the 14th seed, reached the semifinals at last year’s U.S. Open after struggling with a shoulder injury earlier in 2019. Dimitrov faces a similar situation, having contracted Covid-19 during an exhibition tournament in June. Dimitrov has been outspoken about his struggles with returning to fitness even after recovering, and he has stressed that people need to understand the risks associated with the disease. It will be interesting to see if Dimitrov has the stamina to compete in the Grand Slam’s best-of-five set format.
Tommy Paul, an unseeded American ranked 58th in singles, is no stranger to Dimitrov, or five-setters. In the second round of this year’s Australian Open, Paul, 23, upset Dimitrov in a fifth set super-tiebreaker. It was an exceptional performance from Paul, one in which his usual weaknesses — like a backhand that even to the uninitiated seems mechanical — were put on hold and every shot fell where he directed it, allowing him to pressure Dimitrov into the corners of the court.
If Dimitrov is to get his revenge, he’ll need to be at the top of his game and put pressure on the young American by approaching the net with aggressive strokes aimed at his backhand.
Court 11 | 7 p.m.
Kim Clijsters vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova
Kim Clijsters, returning from her second retirement, has won the U.S. Open singles title three times. Although she was retired for seven years, from the few matches she has played this year, it has been impressive to see that she can still rise to the level of the pro tour. Although she has lost both of her matches on the WTA tour this year, they were close contests against Garbiñe Muguruza and Johanna Konta, the 10th and ninth seeds at the Open. Clijsters, who has grown somewhat accustomed to competing after a lengthy break, may have a potent advantage through her experience and mental strength.
Ekaterina Alexandrova, the 21st seed, was doing quite well before the interruption of play. Within the last year, she had reached the third round of a Grand Slam twice, at the Australian Open and Roland Garros. Since returning from pandemic-forced hiatus, she has struggled to find her rhythm, winning only two of her last five matches. In her second-round loss at the Western and Southern Open, she struggled to unlock her opponent’s serve, and broke only once. These consistency issues will be difficult for Alexandrova to overcome against an experienced player like Clijsters.
Here’s this fan’s game plan for juggling the matches.
Starting at 11 a.m. Eastern on ESPN+, I will be watching Jannik Sinner and the 11th-seeded Karen Khachanov on Court 8. These young players have never met in competition, and both possess incredibly powerful two-handed backhands. It’s sure to feel like a shot of espresso to start off the second day of the tournament.
No matter how exciting my morning coffee is, I’ll need to move on to Arthur Ashe Stadium at noon. Viewers on ESPN will most likely be sent there at the beginning of coverage, as Andy Murray returns to Grand Slam competition. Although the match might be a grind, it would just feel incorrect not to watch Murray angrily berate himself throughout a tough match, motivating himself and pulling off feats that seem nearly physically impossible.