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Tennis: Potential first-round US Open upsets

The final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, always produces shocks, with the unseeded Emma Raducanu winning last year's women's tournament.

The 19-year-old faces a tough opening match and isn't the only seed who could struggle over the opening days in the Big Apple.

A former semi-finalist also features in our list of potential first-round upsets, while an up-and-coming Czech star could be this year's one to watch.

Grigor Dimitrov vs Steve Johnson - Johnson to win @ 13/8

WhatGrigor Dimitrov vs Steve Johnson
WhereUSTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, New York
When16:00, Tuesday 30th August
OddsDimitrov 1/2, Johnson 13/8

Talent has never been an issue for Grigor Dimitrov, but consistency and, latterly, injuries have prevented him from living up to his nickname of 'Baby Fed'.

The Bulgarian is seeded 17th at Flushing Meadows, but arrives in the Big Apple in limited form, having won just two of his five matches during the North American summer hardcourt season, most recently going out in the first round in Cincinnati.

That defeat in Ohio came in straight sets to Denis Shapovalov and his US Open record doesn't exactly stand up, having failed to make it past the fourth round, barring his one trip to the semi-finals in 2019.

First-round opponent Steve Johnson is a solid pro who doesn't give his opponents a rest.

He also won the pair's most recent meeting, with Dimitrov retiring when they met in the opening round of Wimbledon. He was a set up but 5-2 down in the second and the match looked Johnson's to take.

A recent quarter-final showing in Los Cabos shows the 32-year-old is in decent form and he will be hopeful of making the second round for the fifth time in six years.

Marie Bouzkova vs Linda Noskova - Noskova to win @ 5/2

WhatMarie Bouzkova vs Linda Noskova
WhereUSTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, New York
When16:00, Tuesday 30th August
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming
Odds:Bouzkova 3/10, Noskova 5/2

Victories for Bianca Andreescu and Radacanu in 2019 and 2021, respectively, showed that nothing is impossible in the women's draw and this year's surprise package could be Linda Noskova.

The Czech beat 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard in qualifying and seems to play her best tennis on the hard courts.

Despite being just 17, Noskova has six ITF circuit wins to her name but her trip to New York appears a big step up, with her sole Grand Slam outing coming at this year's French Open, where she went out in the first round to Raducanu.

She took the opening set in that match and will have learned from the experience of becoming the youngest debutant in the main draw in Paris since 2009.

Her first-round opponent at the US Open is compatriot Marie Bouzkova, a quarter-finalist here last year and the winner of her home tournament in Prague in July 2022.

However, she fell in the first round in Toronto before withdrawing from her second-round match in Cincinnati, having done the same from the previous week's doubles in Canada.

While Bouzkova won the pair's meeting in Prague, Noskova looks to have come on from then and could cause an upset.

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US Open - Tennis: All you need to know

Emma Raducanu vs Alize Cornet - Cornet to win @ 8/13

WhatEmma Raducanu vs Alize Cornet
WhereUSTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, New York
When16:00, Tuesday 30th August
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming
Odds:Raducanu 8/13, Cornet 13/10

Emma Raducanu has admitted that it has been a tough year since she stunned the world by winning the US Open last September.

Being seeded 11 doesn't quite reflect her form, with Raducanu forecast to drop out of the top 32 in the world if she falls in the first round to Alize Cornet.

This tournament carries extra significance for the French player, as she makes her 63rd consecutive major appearance, going one better than the previous all-time record held by Japan's Ai Sugiyama.

Cornet made the fourth round in New York in 2020 and has enjoyed her best year in the Slams. She reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, before making the third round of the French Open and the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Having crashed out to Camila Giorgi in Cincinnati, Raducanu beat both Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka in Toronto before losing to Jessica Pegula.

The Brit has reached just three quarter-finals since her breakthrough win last year in New York and, having admitted that she is looking forward to moving on from being the US Open champion, could be vulnerable in the first round against a player experiencing a career renaissance.

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