All-ESPN US Open Starts Monday: Nadal, Kerber Headline Afternoon Matches; Djokovic, Keys in Prime Time

Tennis

All-ESPN US Open Starts Monday: Nadal, Kerber Headline Afternoon Matches; Djokovic, Keys in Prime Time

·         Serena Starts Quest for Major No. 23 Tuesday vs. Makarova who beat Williams in 2012 Australian Open
·         Monday Daytime Action Starts with Isner-Tiafoe on New Grandstand Court, also includes Vinci, Muguruza, Tsonga, Wozniacki-Townsend and Sock-Fritz   
·         Tuesday:  Serena, Murray under the Lights; Daytime: Venus, Stan, Simona, Aga, JMDP and Americans Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey
·         First Ball to Last Ball, Exclusive to ESPN – Action First Week Begins at 11 a.m. ET on WatchESPN
·         Phil Collins Performs Opening Night including Duet with “Hamilton” Star Leslie Odom, Jr.

The all-ESPN US Open starts Monday, Aug. 29 – rain or shine thanks to the new retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium – with a slate full of intriguing first-round matchups, highlighted by a prime-time doubleheader headlined by top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic and highly regarded American No. 8 Madison Keys at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2:

  • Defending champion Novak Djokovic who completed a career Grand Slam with a French Open victory in June will face 6’8” Jerzy Janowicz; they have never played. The 25-year old from Poland reached the 2013 Wimbledon semifinals and was soon ranked No. 14 in the world but hasn’t played a top-level ATP event since losing in the first round of the Australian Open in January because of on-going knee issues.
  • Two American women will square off – 21-year old Madison Keys and 26-year old Alison Riske. Keys is seeded No. 8 and recently cracked the top 10 in rankings for the first time.  Originally from Illinois, her best New York finish was reaching the fourth round a year ago.  Riske, originally from Pittsburgh, enjoyed her best Major result ever at the US Open in 2013, reaching the fourth round.

The top half of the men’s draw and the bottom half of the women’s field will play Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Sunday; the other halves play Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday-Labor Day Monday.

Phil Collins and Leslie Odom, Jr.

ESPN2’s live coverage of the opening Monday night will include the traditional Opening Night ceremony, highlighted by a performance from Arthur Ashe Stadium by the legendary Phil Collins in his first major public appearance in six years.  For the ceremony, the Oscar winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will perform his debut solo single, “In the Air Tonight,” which is the opening track on his forthcoming album, “The Singles,” to be released in October along with the publication of his autobiography, “Not Dead Yet.”  Collins will also be joined by “Hamilton” star and Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr. for a duet.  The Broadway star, a native of Queens, N.Y., will sing the national anthem.

Monday Daytime Highlighted by Two All-American Men’s Matches, Kerber, Nadal and Puig

Play begins at 11 a.m. on WatchESPN where fans can choose what match they see, with three intriguing first-rounders among them:

  • Last year’s finalist (and Serena-conqueror) No. 7 Roberta Vinci vs. Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany (on Ashe)
  • 2014 US Open champ No. 7 Marin Cilic vs. Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil (on Armstrong)
  • Two-time US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki vs. Taylor Townsend, the 20-year old lefty from Chicago (on Grandstand)

When ESPN comes on the air at 1 p.m., the new Grandstand Court will be in the spotlight with an intriguing battle of American men:  31-year old, 6’10 John Isner vs. Frances Tiafoe of College Park, Md., at 18 the youngest player in the draw.  In another all-Amercan matchup later (not before 5 p.m. on Armstrong), No. 26 Jack Sock, a Nebraska native who came home from Rio with a bronze medal in Men’s Doubles and a Gold Medal in Mixed Doubles plays Californian Taylor Fritz.  In February in his first ATP match, the 18-year old defeated Steve Johnson, currently the top-ranked American.

Monday’s other top matches:

  • Australian Open champ No. 2 Angelique Kerber vs. Polona Hercog
  • 28 Coco Vandeweghe of the U.S. vs. Naomi Osaka of Japan
  • 17-year old CC Bellis of California who won a match at the US Open two years ago vs. Viktorija Golubic
  • 14-time Major champion (4) Rafael Nadal (ESP) Denis Istomin
  • French Open winner (3) Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Elise Mertens
  • Olympic Gold Medal-winning No. 32 Monica Puig of Puerto Rico vs. Saisai Zheng of China

WatchESPN’s 12-court offering – plus a feed with three windows showing Ashe/Armstrong/Grandstand, and one with whip-around coverage of the first two hours of play – starts at 11 a.m. ET.  ESPN’s coverage starts at 1 p.m., transitioning to ESPN2 at 6 p.m.  ESPN’s extensive daily coverage will continue through the Women’s Championship on Saturday, Sept. 10, and the Men’s Championship on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Looking Ahead to Tuesday; Serena Begins Her Quest for Major No. 23; Red-Hot Murray under the Lights

The remaining first-round matches will be played Tuesday.  At 1 p.m. on Ashe two-time Major champion No. 3 Stan Wawrinka will play Fernando Verdasco, followed by No. 6 Venus Williams against Kateryna Kozlova, a 22-year old from Ukraine.  The 36-year old Williams, who counts two US Open trophies among the seven Majors on her shelf. will break the record for Major appearances with her 72nd (currently tied at 71 with Amy Frazier).

The 7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open doubleheader will be headlined by Serena Williams and No. 2 Andy Murray:

  • Top seed and six-time champion Serena Williams starts her quest for her 23rd Major title, an Open era record, with a tough match: Ekaterina Makarova, once the No. 8-ranked player in the world.  The American holds a 4-1 career mark against the Moscow native, including a victory in the 2014 US Open semifinals; the one win for Makarova came in the fourth round of the 2012 Australian Open.  Williams has a lot on the line in these two weeks in New York:  she can surpass Steffi Graf for the Open Era record for career Major titles (each with 22, Margaret Court has 24 including many before 1968); she can break the tie for US Open titles (six) she shares with ESPN’s Chrissie Evert; and she could break Graf’s record of 186 consecutive weeks ranked No. 1 ranking (she will tie the record during the US Open), depending on how far she and No. 2 Angelique Kerber advance.  Williams has been atop the standings since February 2013.  It is also mathematical possible for No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza or No. 4 Aga Radwanska to leave New York the world’s No. 1 player.
  • 2012 US Open champ Andy Murray comes to New York the hottest player in the game, having won Wimbledon and a Gold Medal in Rio. Having also reached the finals of the Australian and French Opens, he would become only the fourth man to reach the final at all four Majors in a year in the Open Era (Rod Laver, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic).  The No. 2 seed will face 31-year old Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic.  Four times he has reached as far as the third round of a Major.  He is best known for shocking Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012.

Other top players in action Tuesday include Simona Halep, Aga Radwanska, Nick Kyrgios, Kei Nishikori, Juan Martin del Potro, Ana Ivanovic and Americans Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey

ESPN has televised the US Open since 2009. An 11-year agreement with the USTA for exclusivity starting in 2015 was announced in May 2013.  Last year’s first-ever all-ESPN US Open was a tremendous success on television and on WatchESPN.

ESPN & the 2016 US Open

Date Time (ET) Event Network(s)
Mon Aug 29 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open First Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open First Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN2
Tue Aug 30 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open First Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN
Wed Aug 31 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Second Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open Second Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Second Round ESPN2
Thur Sep 1 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Second Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open Second Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Second Round ESPN2
Fri Sep 2 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Third Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open Third Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2
Sat Sep 3 11 a.m.

 

US Open Third Round ESPN2

WatchESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2
Sun Sep 4 11 a.m. US Open Round of 16 ESPN2

WatchESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Round of 16 ESPN2
Mon Sep 5 11 a.m.

 

US Open Round of 16 ESPN2

WatchESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Round of 16 ESPN2
Tue Sep 6 11 a.m.

Noon

US Open Quarterfinals WatchESPN

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN
Wed Sep 7 11 a.m.

Noon

US Open Quarterfinals WatchESPN

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN2
Thur Sep 8 Noon

7 p.m.

US Open Doubles Matches

US Open Women’s Semifinals

WatchESPN

ESPN / ESPN Deportes

Fri Sep 9 Noon US Open Mixed Doubles Championship ESPN2
  3 p.m. US Open Men’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sat Sep 10 Noon US Open Men’s Doubles Championship WatchESPN
  4 p.m. US Open Women’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sun Sep 11 Noon US Open Women’s Doubles Championship WatchESPN
  3:30 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship Preview Special ESPN
  4 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes

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Dave Nagle

It was 32 years at ESPN for me as of November 2018 (the only job I’ve ever had) after joining merely to help with the America’s Cup for three months at a robust $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals and Indy 500; Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, in addition to overseeing the Fan Relations, Archives and ESPNPressRoom.com, my main areas are tennis, ratings, and corporate communications documents, including ESPN’s history and growth.
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