It will be an all-American battle on Monday at the US Open when ninth seed Taylor Fritz battles wildcard Stephen Johnson. The winner of this opening-round tie will next play either Miomir Kecmanovic or Juan Pablo Varillas. Stephen Johnson arrives to make his 12th consecutive main draw appearance here after his first-round exit at the Stanford challenger. This ended a five-match winning run for the 33-year-old. Johnson had won the Lexington challenger, his second title of the year, just before arriving in Stanford. The American has struggled with inconsistency in 2023 and has compiled a 16-16 record. His recent form however will have him confident of adding to his three wins against Fritz. Johnson and Fritz have battled each other seven times with Johnson winning one of their four hard court battles. Despite his recent upturn in fortunes, Johnson had dropped 19 places in the live ranking to number 205.
Taylor Fritz is having a dominant campaign and has compiled a 45-19 record. This form has had him as a mainstay in the ATP top 10 where he is currently ranked ninth. The majority of his victories have come on hard court where he has won 29 times in 37 outings. With his head-to-head advantage over Johnson, he will be confident of starting off with a win here. Fritz has defeated Johnson four times including in their last three encounters. Three of his wins have been on hard court. The younger American has made the main draw at Flushing Meadows for the last seven seasons. He has however not had the best of times here and has three times been eliminated in the first round. Last season was one of those instances. Fritz has won two titles this season with both coming on hard court on home soil.
Our prediction for Stephen Johnson v Taylor Fritz is for Johnson to win at least one set. These two players have played each other seven times and are therefore familiar with one another. They have also recorded wins against each other on hard court. This will therefore make this an enticing encounter that could see all five sets played. To strengthen this fact is both players’ strong form at present.