2020 US OPEN – R1 preview + prediction: ??
?? (31) Anastasija Sevastova vs. ?? Cori Gauff
One of the most intriguing opening round match-ups at the 2020 US Open sees the 31st seeded Anastasija Sevastova take on the much-hyped Cori Gauff. This will be the first career meeting between Sevastova and Gauff, who will prevail?
Anastasija Sevastova has a brilliant recent record at the US Open. The Latvian reached the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows in 2016 and 2017, followed by her best ever result at a major in 2018 when she reached the semi-finals. The 30-year-old will be hoping that a return to her favourite tournament can see her reverse her poor recent form. Sevastova has lost her first few matches since the tour restart, a straight set loss to Irina-Camelia Begu in Prague, followed by a straight set loss to Kristina Mladenovic at the Western & Southern Open, not the type of form she wanted to bring into the US Open.
The rise of Cori Gauff was one of the biggest stories of the 2019 WTA season. Gauff has shown signs of her promise in 2020 despite limited opportunities to grow. The 16-year-old reached the semi-finals in Lexington a few weeks ago in her first official event back, a run which included impressive wins over Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur. More recently, a reality check was served to Gauff at the Western & Southern Open with an opening round loss, easily beaten by Maria Sakkari with just 4 games won.
I’m going to give Sevastova the benefit of the doubt here. Granted, Sevastova’s recent form isn’t good. However, her record at the US can’t be ignored. Sevastova loves the conditions in New York and will produce an improved performance for this match. Gauff remains very inconsistent and will not have things easy here against a tricky opponent. I think Sevastova will handle the occasion better, Gauff thrives on intensity, she won’t get that in an empty stadium against a streaky opponent. Look for Sevastova to spoil the party.