One of the highlights of the US Open’s first round is Madison Keys v Sloane Stephens in a rematch of the 2017 final.
Keys has not won a game since Wimbledon, losing in the second round to San José after receiving a pass and falling in the first round to Montreal and Cincinnati.
Stephens is 4-4 in his last eight games, reaching the second round in Montreal, the highlight of his summer. She has played four consecutive matches in three sets.
Reunited for the seventh time, Stephens leads the head-to-head against Keys 4-2. This is their first hard game since they played in the league game four years ago.
This match will kick off the tournament at Arthur Ashe Stadium with the winner facing either Magda Linette or 21st seed Cori Gauff in the second round.
It will be a contrast in styles as Stephens will play a defensive game on all terrains and be aggressive when she needs it. Keys will want to dominate with his serve and groundstrokes, playing shorter rallies from the baseline.
Longer rallies will favor Stephens as she will likely be able to extract some errors from Keys. Both players will be looking to serve well to set up the style they want to play. Stephens has the advantage of movement as she is one of the most athletic players on the tour.
Now is a long way from when they faced each other for the championship in 2017, as they went from that to being one of them out of the tournament after just a few hours. the two players are far from the best, but it will be good to see one of them score a well-deserved victory.
Every time they play it seems Stephens is able to implement his style of play and force Keys to make enough mistakes to come out on top, but what will give the 2017 finalist confidence is to beat. Stephens on Charleston Clay.
Expect a top-down affair with plenty of twists and turns, but Stephens will win a close game.
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