Russian Vitalia Diatchenko, ranked 86th in the world, will face Serena Williams Monday night under the bright lights at center court in Arthur Ashe Stadium on ESPN. Let’s talk about pressure: Diatchenko will be playing in only her second career U.S. Open singles match against the greatest American women’s tennis player in the history of the sport and she’s going for a calendar grand slam.
I take that back. There’s no pressure on the 86th ranked player going against an opponent who is supposed to beat her 6-0, 6-0. You go out and get an hour or so of national coverage, which will blow up Diatchenko’s Instagram and make her a viral name for a night. Let’s say she somehow steals a set. You’re talking HUGE ratings, you’re going to trend in the U.S. and you might even get an endorsement out of the match.
Here’s an interesting stat for tonight’s match from the L.A. Times: Williams has lost only once in 60 matches in the first round of a major. That came in 2012 on the clay at the French.
Coverage begins tonight at 7 on ESPN.