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As we embark on the fourth and final major tournament on the tennis calendar in 2022, 13 Australians will feature in US Open main draw action at Flushing Meadows, hoping to kick off the back end of their respective seasons in strong form.

There will be ten Aussie men in action. Let's take a look at the matchups, starting with the one that everyone will be watching:

[23] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) VS Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)

There is no doubt that this is the match of the opening round of the US Open. It features two Australians, close friends, Australian Open doubles champions - but on Monday, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis will be opponents.

The pair have met twice on the professional tour, once in 2013 and once in 2014 - both at ATP Challenger level, with Kyrgios winning both encounters. They also met in the 2013 Australian Open Boy’s Singles Final, Kyrgios winning on that occasion as well.

“I like the US Open. I like hard courts. I’d say it’s the closest thing to the Australian Open as far as energy and atmosphere go,” Kokkinakis told Tennis Australia.

“I made a junior final here once, in 2013. Same year I played Nick in the junior Aussie finals. So good memories here. Always love coming back. The atmosphere is electric here.

“It will be interesting; obviously he’s got an unbelievable serve and he’s playing some great tennis right now, but I know on my day I can match it with anyone.

“It’s gonna be fireworks hopefully… and we’ll have some good fun.”

“It’s definitely a different feeling. It was a bit of an uneasy feeling when you saw the draw, just because we practise all the time with each other and we know each other so well, and we try and always lift each other up playing doubles,” Kokkinakis said.

“When one of us wins or loses, we always send messages of support to each other.”

Both Kyrgios and Kokkinakis have enjoyed respective career-best years on the tour in 2022, but the higher ranked Kyrgios has reached greater heights, and will come into this match heavy favourite. But if anyone knows the Kyrgios game and mind inside out, it’s Thanasi Kokkinakis. Whilst Kyrgios ‘should’ win, get the popcorn out, this one’s going to be a cracking contest.

[18] Alex de Minaur (AUS) VS Filip Kraijnovic (SRB)

Australia’s No. 1 ranked player in the men’s game - Alex de Minaur has achieved his best results at a major at the US Open when he reached the quarterfinals in 2020.

The Demon comes into the fourth major of the season in relatively solid form and will be itching to kick off his campaign with a win. The Aussie won the pairs only previous meeting which came in Cincinnati last year.

“I’ve always ended up playing some of my best tennis here, so it’s always good to come back,” De Minaur told Tennis Australia.

“He’s a quality opponent, he can play some great tennis. He’s beaten some very top players, so it’s going to be a very tough first round."

“Ultimately that is what we are here for, for these types of matches. So I’ll be prepared. I’m playing well, I’m happy with where my level is at, so hopefully I can play some good tennis for five sets and be ready for an absolute battle out there.”

Krajinovic can be a tricky customer, but if de Minaur is going to forge a run in New York, he shouldn’t have too many issues moving into the second round.

James Duckworth (AUS) VS Christopher O’Connell (AUS)

It’s always a shame when two Australians have to do battle in the opening round of a major, especially when looking at these two - who could both desperately do with a win.

James Duckworth enjoyed a breakout year on the tour last year, which saw him reach the top 50 in the rankings, but hip surgery early this year saw the Duckmeister sidelined for several months and has since struggled to rediscover his best form on the tour. However, a win over Thanasi Kokkinakis last week in Winston-Salem should boost his confidence.

“I really like playing here,” Duckworth told Tennis Australia.

“Usually the courts are pretty fast and it’s hot. I feel like it suits an aggressive game style, that’s the way I like to play.”

Christopher O’Connell has enjoyed a career-best year on the tour, cracking the worlds top 100 for the first time, which sees him enter the main draw of the US Open without requiring a wildcard.

The pair have met just once on the professional tour - at the Burnie Challenger in 2015, where Duckworth won in straight sets.

This match is destined for four or five sets and will be a flip of a coin to see who advances. If I had to pick a winner, I’d back Duckworth.

Jordan Thompson (AUS) VS Lorenzo Sonego (ITA)

2022 has been a disappointing season for Australian Jordan Thompson, who finds himself ranked outside of the top 100 for the first time since 2018 and is at risk of finishing a season ranked outside the top 100 for the first time since 2015.

So to put it lightly, it’s extremely important for Thommo that he makes a run in New York to secure himself a spot back inside the top 100 in the rankings.

The 28-year-old will meet Italian Lorenzo Sonego for the first time in the opening round at Flushing Meadows. I expect this battle to go to five sets - just as Thommo’s two matches did at the US Open last year. Let’s hope he’s on the winning side of this one.

John Milllman (AUS) VS [WC] Emilio Nava (USA)

This years US Open marks four years since 33-year-old John Millman’s astonishing run to the US Open quarterfinals back in 2018.

The Aussie has endured a difficult season on the tour in 2022, and finds himself ranked just outside the top 100 for the first time since 2018. With a stack of ranking points to defend in the back end of the season, it’s imperative Millman banks an early win in New York against World No. 203 Emilio Nava.

Alexei Popyrin (AUS) VS Chun-Hsin Tseng (TPE)

23-year-old Australian Alexei Popyrin has endured an out of sorts type of season in 2022, and will be coming into the US Open hoping he can kick off the back end of his season with a bang.

Popyrin takes on highly-rated rising star Chun-Hsin Tseng in the first round, in what is undoubtedly going to be a tight battle.

The Aussie is known to bring his best level to the majors, and he will need to if he is going to kick off his US Open campaign with a win.

“I love playing here,” Popyrin told Tennis Australia.

“I have special memories at the US Open. I’ve had lots of good matches, made the third round the two times I’ve played here. That’s my best results at Slams.

“Hopefully I can take it one step further, but I’m going to take it one match at a time.”

If Popyrin’s serve is on and he can rediscover his x-factor which has won him so many matches, he should advance, but we haven’t seen his best level in a while, so let’s hope he can bring it to Flushing Meadows.

Jason Kubler (AUS) VS Mikael Ymer (SWE)

Queenslander Jason Kubler comes into the US Open in outstanding form, and will need to bring that level to Flushing Meadows when he takes on a difficult opponent in Sweden’s Mikael Ymer.

This will be just the second time that 29-year-old Kubler competes in the US Open main draw, but looking for some inspiration, he will certainly be reflecting on his only other appearance at Flushing Meadows which came back in 2018 - where he took down the seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round.

Expect a plethora of extended rallies in this baseline battle. Kubler is a real chance here to claim another great scalp to add to his resume in 2022.

[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) VS [2] Rafael Nadal (ESP)

21-year-old, Rinky Hijikata is a name that not many tennis people, especially outside of Australia, would’ve heard of, but I don’t believe that will be the case for much longer.

The rising Aussie star will take to the courts of Flushing Meadows to compete in his maiden major main draw match, against none other than Rafael Nadal.

Realistically, Nadal should be winning this match, but with an abdominal injury hanging over his head, it’s a wait and see to see what shape Nadal will be in, in New York.

Whilst I do believe this might be a task somewhat out of reach for Hijikata, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he clinches a set and turns this into an exciting contest under the lights in New York.

Now, let's take a look at the women's side of things, starting with who I believe is our best hope - Daria Saville.

Daria Saville (AUS) VS Elena-Gabriela Ruse (ROU)

Daria Saville's rise up the rankings in 2022 has been nothing short of remarkable. The Aussie has struggled with ongoing Achilles injuries for several years now, and started the season ranked outside the top 600. But after an incredibly strong and consistent return to the tour this year, coming off a final in Granby, she finds herself ranked at 58 in the WTA singles rankings.

Dasha's been as high as 20 in the singles rankings, and is a serious chance to get back to those areas if she finishes the season strongly. That all starts this week in New York, when she faces Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse for the first time in the opening round.

Coming off a final in Granby, Dasha has little time to recover and reset for the US Open, which could present some issues, but I still see her getting through this match if she finds her groove.

Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) VS Karolina Muchova (CZE)

Australia's No. 1 ranked player in the WTA singles rankings - Ajla Tomljanovic, will come up against a difficult opponent in Karolina Muchova, in the opening round in New York.

“She’s definitely up there with the ones that I’m going to have to bring my best and I’m excited,” Tomljanovic told Tennis Australia.

“I’m feeling good,” Tomljanovic said. “And you know, what I can control, I’m going to do that and on the day, we’ll see what happens.”

Injury has kept Muchova on the sidelines for the better part of the season and sees her ranked outside the top 200, but there is no doubting her quality, and she is going to be tough to beat.

Tomljanovic enjoyed her best run in New York last year when she reached the third round, and will be hoping to replicate that form this week. I expect this to be a tight battle which goes the distance.

[WC] Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) VS [Q] Yue Yuan (CHN)

22-year-old Victorian, Jaimee Fourlis has enjoyed a career-best year on the tour in 2022, and has been rewarded for her form with a wildcard into the US Open.

Injuries have halted the young star’s career in recent years, but a clear run at it in 2022 has allowed Fourlis to put on display her immense talent, as she closes in on the top 100 in the WTA Rankings.

“I think the courts suit me pretty well here. The heat, as well. It’s just like back at home in Australia, so I think there are some similarities that play a part in why I do so well,” Fourlis told Tennis Australia.

“I’ve had a lot thrown at me as well, so just to be here and playing the US Open main draw, it’s a pretty cool experience.”

Her opponent - Yue Yuan proved her quality by qualifying for the main draw in Flushing Meadows and I see her as a very difficult first round opponent for Fourlis. This should be a tight match, but a winnable one for Forulis if she brings her best tennis to the court.


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