US Open Draw
The final Grand slam of the year is upon us and promises to be a thrilling two weeks of action. Prior to the draw, most of the intrigue was where in the draw Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic would end up. The draw has not disappointed, giving the chance of a quarter final meeting with Roger Federer. As well as the Serb, lowly ranked Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka have added big name intrigue into the first week in New York.
Number 1 seed and defending champion Rafa Nadal will be happy to see that he has missed many of the most dangerous players in the draw. Djokovic is on the other side, Wawrinka and Murray are not in his section, and Kevin Anderson is the highest ranked player in his quarter. While Anderson is one of the best players in the world right now, making the Wimbledon finals, Nadal has never lost to the south African, and displayed an intelligent match to take him down in the final of this event one year ago.
The real first test Nadal is likely to face is in the third round where Young Russian Karen Khachanov could await. The Russian took Nadal close in Toronto a couple f weeks ago, and while Nadal should come through this one, it should be a good watch.
Also here: Dominic Thiem. How strange it is that if a tournament is not on clay, Thiem is not expected to do much at all. It was only back in June where Thiem was the second-best player in the world, he has quality; eventually you would expect him to show this outside of the clay courts.
The most fascinating quarter of the draw in the early rounds, this section features the most interesting first round match of the draw, Dimitrov vs Wawrinka. In a strange repeat of Wimbledon, these two will once again play each other at the of the start of the championship. This time however, there will be a new favourite. Having found his form in his last two tournaments, Stan Wawrinka will be likely to get through this one and go deep into the tournament.
The top seed in this section is Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine enjoyed a successful Us Open last year, beating roger Federer to make it to the semi-finals. So, what is a reasonable expectation of him this tournament? Del Potro has played well at the slams so far this year, making it to the semi finals in Paris and quarters at Wimbledon, losing to Nadal both times. After winning Indian Wells earlier this year, he should have the confidence to win a slam once again. His draw is manageable too, despite the potential of facing Andy Murray in the third round, who is still coming back from his back injury. A quarter final match up with Wawrinka should be expected from this section of the draw.
This is the least stacked section of the draw, and may allow for one the two top seeds, Marin Cilic and alexander Zverev, to make the semi-finals. Cilic by now must be used to flying under the radar at the big events, where the big 5 will take up most of the headlines. But looking at his draw, he should be expected to make it to the quarter finals. Will he face 4th seed alexander Zverev there? The young German has typically done poorly at the slams, with the US Open being no different; he has never made it past the second round. His current form would not suggest this time will be any different after losing early in both Toronto and Cincinnati. If he makes it that far, a fourth-round encounter against former finalist Kei Nishikori will likely be too much for him.
Number two seed Roger Federer has a difficult draw to get through if he wants to go deep in this tournament. A second-round match with Benoit Paire could be tricky, followed by Nick Kyrgios in the third round. Should he come through this, Fabio Fognini, a player that can beat anyone on his day, could await. Of course, the attention in this section, and the entire draw for the first week will be whether Djokovic and Federer will meet in the quarter finals. Djokovic has an easier path to this stage of the tournament and has looked to be showing ominous form when he beat Federer to complete his set of masters 1000 events in Cincinnati.
So who is the more likely to in should this match occur? Federer has been the more consistent player over the last two years, being at his best for much of it. However, as shown when he played Djokovic in Cincinnati, no matter how well Federer has been playing, Djokovic is a different challenge to anyone else in the field. Winning the last 3 of their matches, and 7 of their last 9, Djokovic has the mental lead over the swiss superstar, and should be expected to win this match too.
Projected Quarter Finals
Nadal vs Anderson
Del Potro vs Wawrinka
Cilic vs Nishikori
Djokovic vs Federer
Projected semi finals
Nadal vs Del Potro
Cilic vs Djokovic
Nadal vs Djokovic