NEW YORK — All eyes will be on Serena Williams on Tuesday night as she takes on 18-year-old Taylor Townsend. Williams was ousted in the third round last month at Wimbledon and she and sister Venus retired from their doubles match there because Serena was barely able to lift her racket. She later said she was battling a viral illness. She came back to win in smaller tournaments at Stanford and Mason, Ohio, but this will be her first test at the U.S. Open.
Williams held the No. 1 ranking for 76 weeks and she is looking to start her bid for a third straight U.S. Open title. If she wins here, she’ll tie Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert with 18 Grand Slam titles. She tends to dominate in Flushing Meadows, often knocking off American prospects in the process. This year, she’ll have to start by defeating the woman she’s called the “future of American tennis.”
Fans have been trying for more than a decade to name the Williams sisters’ successor. In 2013, fellow young American Sloane Stephens upset Williams at the Australian Open. Fans thought they were seeing the passing of the torch, but Williams quickly responded by winning at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open. With a win tonight, Townsend will be named alongside Stephens in the debate.
On Monday, when asked if she’d spoken to Townsend, Stephens responded that she had not. She also refused to play favorites.
“It’s unfortunate they have to play each other. Two Americans playing in the U.S. Open is a bummer,” she said. “I wish them both the best of luck.”
Before Williams and Townsend take the court, fellow Americans Marcos Giron and John Isner will face off in the afternoon match. In 2009, Isner shocked the crowd in New York as he upset fan-favorite Andy Roddick. That was his third U.S. Open, but at the time, the University of Georgia graduate was better known for his towering height than his serve. This time, Isner comes in as the veteran, the only American in the sport’s top 20. Giron is making his U.S. Open debut. Is it Giron’s match to take?
There are an additional 18 Americans playing in second round singles today, as well as several in men’s doubles:
Women’s Singles (American listed first)
• Alison Riske takes on No. 8 Ana Ivanovic (Ivanovic wins 6-3, 6-0)
• Lauren Davis vs. No. 24 Samantha Stosur (Stosur wins 6-1, 6-4)
• Grace Min vs. No. 17 Ekaterina Makarova
• No. 27 Madison Keys vs. Jarmila Gajdosova
• Nicole Gibbs vs. Caroline GarciaVania King v. Francesca Schiavone
• Coco Vandeweghe vs. Donna Vekic
• Christina McHale vs. Chanelle Scheepers
• Catherine Bellis vs. No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova
• Varvara Lepchenko vs. Alison Van Uytvanck
• Shelby Rogers vs. Maryna Zanevska
Wayne Odesnik vs. No. 10 Kei Nishikori
• Sam Querrey faces Maximo Gonzalez
• Jack Sock vs. Pablo Andujar
• Tom Smyczek vs. Filip Krajinovic
• Jared Donaldson vs. No. 20 Gael Monfils
• Noah Rubin vs. Federico Delbonis
Men’s Doubles Teams in action
• Chase Buchanan and Tennys Sandgren
• Eric Butorac is playing with South African Raven Klaasen
• Nichola Monroe and Donald Young
• Peter Kobelt and Hunter Reese