The 18-year-old American faces the two-time defending champ under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday night. It will be just her third Grand Slam tournament. In her first, she made the third round at this year’s French Open.
Knocking on the door of the top 100 in the rankings, Townsend got into the U.S. Open on a wild card. Williams said she’s jealous that the former top-ranked junior is a lefty. Turns out that the No. 1 player in the world has always dreamed of having the sort of spin that left-handers get on their groundstrokes.
Other things to watch Tuesday on the second day of the U.S. Open:
YOUNG AMERICANS: Townsend is part of a wave of up-and-coming U.S. women showing promise that they could someday emulate the Williams sisters’ success.
Another teen, Madison Keys, is seeded 27th. She plays Tuesday against Jarmila Gajdosova at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Four other Americans ranked in the top 50 also start their tournaments Tuesday.
Alison Riske opens the day on Ashe against eighth-seeded Ana Ivanovic. Lauren Davis faces 24th-seeded Samantha Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champ. Christina McHale plays Chanelle Scheepers, and CoCo Vandeweghe meets Donna Vekic.
KVITOVA’S QUEST: Wimbledon, with its white tennis outfits and strawberries and cream, gives off a refined air that makes Petra Kvitova feel comfortable.
The rowdy crowds in New York? Not so much.
The Czech lefty has won two titles at the All England Club but has never made the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open, which she says doesn’t quite fit her quiet personality.
After her first Wimbledon championship in 2011, she lost in the first round in New York. Coming off her second, she hopes to finally break through this time around. The third-seeded Kvitova rides the momentum of a hard-court title in New Haven on Saturday.
She opens against France’s Kristina Mladenovic in Ashe on Tuesday.
BOUCHARD’S LETDOWN: Eugenie Bouchard can’t yet shake that post-Wimbledon hangover.
The 20-year-old made history at Wimbledon as the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam final. Then she was routed 6-3, 6-0 by Kvitova, and things haven’t gone much better since.
Bouchard was 1-3 in three hard-court tuneups, including an upset loss in her first match in her home tournament in Montreal.
Still, she’s the only woman to reach the semifinals at each of the year’s first three Grand Slam events. The seventh-seeded Bouchard faces Olga Govortsova in the first round Tuesday.
FEDERER’S STREAKS: Roger Federer is playing his 60th straight Grand Slam tournament, extending his own record. He hasn’t lost in the first round since the 2003 French Open.
The second-seeded Federer opens the night session Tuesday against Marinko Matosevic of Austria. Federer won 6-1, 6-1 on the hard court in Brisbane earlier this year in their only meeting.