Schedule of play:
Kirsten Flipkens vs. Venus Williams
A rematch of Toronto, Venus Williams will try to finish what she couldn't finish in Canada. She bagelled Kirsten, only to run out of energy in the 2nd and 3rd set. In USA, she will enjoy the support of the home crowd, and everyone loves an underdog. Even though she hasn't been in this position for the longest time, Venus will definitely need every single cheer she gets. A very winnable match for the American.
Pick: Williams in 3 sets
Serena Williams vs. Francesca Schiavone
Francesca has the rotten luck of drawing Serena Williams for her opening match, but she is a former Grand Slam champion and can trouble the great American. Serena will need to get her game going from the get-go, as Francesca's wily game can throw her off. Even though Schiavone can make things interesting, a win is almost assured for Serena. Her aura of invincibility is incredible and it's not something the fading tennis player in Schiavone can interrupt.
Jelena Jankovic vs. Madison Keys
Even though Jankovic is seeded high at number 9, she draws the ever dangerous Madison Keys. The teenager possesses one of the biggest serves on tour, and is primed to be the next big thing. Playing in the US will only boost her confidence, spelling trouble for the Serbian. Jankovic needs to put her running shoes on if she wants to avoid the upset. Just keep making Keys hit that extra ball and that unforced error. If she commits the error by doing too much, she might be the highest seed to fall in day 1.
Pick: Keys in 3 sets
Virginie Razzano vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Pavlyuchenkova's pattern of bombing out in big events might very well continue here in New York. Razzano is a dangerous player and had some decent results recently. Even though Anastasia did well in New Haven, I doubt she is truly back to her confident self. She just needs to commit herself to fitness, or else she will be like a poor man's Kvitova, a player whose full potential is not fully realised.
Pick: Razzano in 3 sets
Petra Cetkovska vs. Sofia Arvidsson
Sofia Arvidsson is just a walking bye these days. Cetkovska has the good luck of drawing the formless Swede, who has won 3 main draw matches for the whole of this year and has slid down to 91. Cetkovska will make the hefty Swede move and pay with her lacklustre movement. It is almost a safe bet that Sofia will be going home after the first day.
Pick: Cetkovska in 2 sets
Sure win bets: Marina Erakovic, Urszula Radwanska, Magdalena Rybarikova, Monica Puig, Coco Vandeweghe
Upset alert: Kirsten Flipkens, Laura Robson, Sorana Cirstea, Alexandra Cadantu, Sofia Arvidsson