Primte time at the US Open tonight features one of the most anticipated first-round matches of the women’s singles draw - world No. 1 and two-time defending champion Serena Williams against American wild card Taylor Townsend, a former world No. 1 junior now ranked No. 103 in the world.
The 18-year-old Townsend has jumped 250 spots in the rankings this year with outstanding results of reaching the French Open third round and winning two challengers on the USTA Pro Circuit. Williams has been full of praise for her opponent and said before the tournament that she would be treating this match “like a semifinal.”
But despite her promise, Townsend has only played 14 main draw matches at the WTA level. She’ll also be at a huge disadvantage in playing her first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium against an opponent who has played dozens of matches on that court. Williams is also highly motivated to end her year at the Grand Slams on a strong note after early exits at the year's first three Grand Slams.
In order for Townsend to have a shot at an upset, she has to get on the scoreboard early and keep things close against the No. 1 seed. When Williams gains momentum and confidence, she’s almost impossible to stop. But especially in the opening rounds, she’s prone to wearing her heart on her sleeve when things aren’t going well.
Unfortunately for Townsend, Williams maintains an unblemished 14-0 record in US Open first-round matches. But regardless of the score, expect a match with plenty of entertaining rallies and high-quality play.