Following her breakout performance at last year's French Open, Amanda Anisimova has struggled with a minor back injury and a series of underwhelming results. As she gets ready to take the court in New York, the young American would be hoping to get back the sort of form that saw her sail to a first WTA title last April and reach the last four in Paris just a month later.
A return to winning ways will, however, not come easy for Anisimova. The 18-year-old faces an uphill task against compatriot Alison Riske, her opening round opponent at the 2020 Western & Southern Open.
Riske has had a very different looking season since the last year's French Open. She won a second career title in the Netherlands, beat World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty en-route to her first Major quarterfinal at Wimbledon, and reached a career-high ranking of No. 18.
The older American will be looking to continue her great run and rake in a few good results heading into the US Open. In the Cincinnati draw, she has landed in a section featuring a slew of talented American youngsters - against whom she has traditionally done well.
Riske also has a game that's well-suited to the relatively quick American hard-courts. The 30-year-old enjoys calling the shots and staying aggressive in the points; she doesn't have the most explosive game, but hits an unusually flat ball that often forces her opponents on the back foot.
Alison Riske vs Amanda Anisimova head-to-head
Amanda Anisimova and Alison Riske have never played each other before. The two have vastly different games though, and it will be interesting to see their equation translate on the court.
While Anisimova would look to take control of the match from the baseline using her strong backhand, Riske will be the one looking to shake things up. Anisimova will have to be ready for frequent net approaches and slice returns, and she will need to a find a way to counter that.
Alison Riske vs Amanda Anisimova prediction
Alison Riske has been vocal about her struggles with self-confidence throughout her career, but has made marked improvements in that department lately. She has had some very consistent results over the last couple of years, and looks like a different player to what she was at the start of her career.
As much as one would like to give an edge to the fiery Anisimova, this match seems like Riske's to loose. If she can continue to play an aggressive brand of tennis and back her shots, she should not have too much trouble beating her younger opponent.
Prediction: Risks to win in two tight sets.
Tournament: Western & Southern Open 2020
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,950,079
Match timing: 7 pm EDT, 4.30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN