We are at T-minus a few hours until the first round of the 2015 US Open draw starts. As most folks would know by now Serena Williams, the No. 1 seed and defender faces a murderers row of potential losses on her way to tying Steffi Graf's record of 22 Majors, but also in her quest to complete the Grand Slam for the first time since Graf did so way back in 1988.
If you have not seen the draw already, you can do so here. The Spin, along with her fellow podcasters broke down the Draw, Game of Thrones style and you can listen to us here.
First Quarter - Top Half
The first quarter of the top half of the Draw is a veritable Who's Who in US women's tennis right now. There is Serena, Sloane, Madison, Venus, Coco. The list just goes on. Thrown into that mix are some players who have seen their best days and some who are so dangerous that you just wonder whether they can make a serious run at a Major.
Serena, if she wants to defend this particular title, will have to be ready from day 1 as her opening round opponent is no stranger to big matches and big stadiums. Diatchenko is a hard hitting Russian with a big game and much like her opening round match against Gasparyan at Wimbledon, Serena will need to be ready for this big serving Russian. She will not trouble Serena much as she tends to be inconsistent, but if the World No. 1 is not focused, she could have a rough time of it.
First round matches to watch: Coco v. Sloane; Bencic v. Karantcheva; Williams v. Puig
Quarter-Finalists - Serena/Bencic
Second Quarter - Top Half
In all the time that Sharapova has been on Tour I believe this is the first time that she has been drawn to play Serena in New York (folks can correct me if I am wrong). Sharapova is in the bottom section of the top half and her draw, while filled with complicated players, is not something that should trouble the hard-hitting Russian. What could trouble her is the lack of match play as she has not played since losing to Serena at Wimbledon. She opens up against Gavrilova, a player who has beaten her in the past. If Sharapova starts slow and is not moving well, Gavrilova, if she is able could pull the upset of all upsets.
First round matches to watch: Cibulkova v. Ivanovic*; Sharapova v. Gavrilova; Serena v. Diatchenko
Quarter-Finalist - Svitolina/Vinci
Third Quarter - Bottom Half
After what can only be considered a really poor hard court season, Kvitova rallied after dropping the first set to defend her title at New Haven by beating fellow Czech, Lucie Safarova. What will that mean for Kvitova's chances in New York? To be honest not much. Look for Kvitova to go out early, possibly to Schmiedlova who has been playing very good tennis on the hard courts this summer.
First round matches to watch: Schmiedlova/Georges; Petkovic v. Garcia*; Robson v. Vesnina
Fourth Quarter - Bottom Half
Simona Halep can rest easy. Lucic-Baroni is someone else's problem for a change. The diminutive Romanian has had a rough go of it this year, but seems to have steadied herself during the US Open Series by making back to back finals. A leg injury in Toronto does not seem to have hindered her much in Cincy and her draw, while filled with dangerous opponents, should not cause the No. 2 seed many problems. She opens against the hard serving but erratic Erakovic, and unless Halep is really off, I don't see anyone in her side of the draw causing her too many problems until the quarter-final, where she is slated to face 2 time finalist at this event, Victoria Azarenka. Also in Halep's side of the draw is the ever dangerous Camila Giorgi and Angelique Kerber.
First round match to watch: Begu v. Govortsova*; Cornet v. Nara; Tomljanovic v. Knapp
Serena v. Svitolina
Halep v. Muguruza
Final: Serena v. Halep