(Reuters) – Angelique Kerber arrived at the U.S. Open short of match practice but the former world number one is banking on her Grand Slam experience to mount another title charge over the next two weeks.
Playing in her first tournament since January, the three-times Grand Slam champion overcame a shaky start to beat Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets on Monday.
Kerber, who will face fellow German Anna-Lena Friedsam in Wednesday’s second-round match, has been tipped as a dark horse heading into the tournament but she was keen to play down expectations.
“I played my last match at the Australian Open, and now few months later we are here in New York,” she said. “I think right now, for me, it’s important not really looking too much back.
“It’s more like to being now in the moment here and trying to also taking all the experience from all the years that I have already on my belt.”
Also in the second round, Czech top seed Karolina Pliskova will have to be wary of Caroline Garcia having lost three of her previous six meetings against the Frenchwoman.
“She’s not seeded now,” Pliskova said of Garcia. “I think she should be or maybe in the future she’s going to be.
“But very dangerous player I think. Especially on these fast courts.”
In the men’s draw, world number one Novak Djokovic will look to extend his winning streak to 25 matches this year when he takes on Briton Kyle Edmund.
Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas faces an unknown quantity in 23-year-old American Maxime Cressy, who is making his Grand Slam main draw debut this week.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)