Sharapova to knock out a Brit for second grand slam in succession
Maria Sharapova faces Heather Watson in the opening round of the US Open
Two of the top three women’s seeds are in action on the first day of the US Open and undoubtedly the stand-out clash is Heather Watson facing Maria Sharapova.
Sharapova arrives at Flushing Meadow in top form having beaten Jelena Jankovic in the final of the Cincinnati Open and has never previously lost in the first round of the US Open.
It is 1/50 in the US Open tennis odds that Sharapova beats Watson, which would mean eliminating a British player for the second grand slam in succession.
Sharapova overcame an early scare to beat Laura Robson in the second round at Wimbledon.
For Watson, this is undoubtedly the biggest match of her career and is a fine reward after a season of solid progress up the tennis ranks.
The British number three has to believe that she can pull off a major shock and is 10/1 to reach the second round.
Sharapova will want to make an early statement to the rest of the draw that she means business and she should progress comfortably past Watson in straight sets, which can be backed at 1/10.
Elsewhere, number two seed Vera Zvonareva is also in action and is also 1/50 to win her opener against Stephanie Foretz-Gacon.
Zvonareva won comfortably on their only previous meeting at the 2008 French Open is also 1/10 to progress 2-0.
Foretz-Gacon won three qualifying matches just to make the first round of the US Open, which included a tense three-set win over Britain’s Naomi Broady.
There are three British representatives still in the women’s draw and Robson is also in first-round action against Ayumi Morita.
Morita is ranked over 100 places higher than Robson but comes into the US Open on the back of a four-match losing streak.
The Japanese player is still the 4/7 favourite in the tennis betting, but Robson is not without hope and can be backed at 5/4 to triumph.