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Ricky Looks At Seeds • Kyrgios, Raonic Part Of Loaded 25-32 Seeds • U.S. Open Tennis 2018

Nick Kyrgios of Australia in action against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina in their match in the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, USA, 17 August 2018.  EPA-EFE/TANNEN MAURY



Kyrgios, Raonic part of loaded 25-32 seed group that could trouble top players at U.S. Open


By Ricky Dimon


At any tennis tournament–from A Slam, to Masters 1000s, to 500s, to 250s, to Challengers, and down to Futures–in general the better your seed, the better your draw.


In general. That does not mean always.


After all, there may be no safe haven anywhere in the 2018 U.S. Open men’s singles draw–perhaps not even for the top eight seeds. That’s because the unseeded contingent at this year’s event includes some absolutely huge names (Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, anyone?), and the 25-32 seed group is also daunting.


Leading the unseeded charge are three-time Slam champions Murray and Wawrinka. Also arriving at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center without a seed are Sam Querrey, Steve Johnson, Andrey Rublev, Gael Monfils, Alex de Minaur, Mischa Zverev, and Frances Tiafoe. Those guys, of course, could run into anyone–anyone–in round one of the U.S. Open.


As for the 25-32 seeds, they will be on course to meet a 1-8 seed in the third round. That could spell more first-week trouble for the world’s top players.


Ricky takes a look at the lowest–but not necessarily worst–seeding group, in order from most to least dangerous:


30) Nick Kyrgios – Kyrgios probably can’t stay healthy long enough in his current fragile state to make a real run in New York City. But if he can get through two matches with little trouble, he may have enough left in the tank to challenge a top-ranked opponent in the third round.


25) Milos Raonic – Like Kyrgios, Raonic can quite simply take the racket out of opponents’ hands. When the Canadian is serving well, especially on a fast hard court, he can beat anyone in the world. Raonic advanced to quarters at Wimbledon and the Cincinnati Masters.


27) Karen Khachanov – Khachanov’s forehand is somewhat quirky, but it is perhaps the biggest among the game’s up-and-coming talents. It recently took the 22-year-old Russian to the Toronto semifinals (lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal 7-6(3), 6-4) and to the Cincinnati third round.


28) Denis Shapovalov – This is Shapovalov’s favorite time of year. He made a run to the Rogers Cup semifinals last season and advanced to the U.S. Open fourth round as a qualifier. The 19-year-old Canadian has reached consecutive third rounds in Washington, D.C., Toronto, and Cincinnati.


31) Fernando Verdasco – While there is a steep drop-off following the first four players in this group, Verdasco cannot be discounted at 34 years old. The Spaniard played a great match against Grigor Dimitrov in Toronto (lost 7-6 in the third set) and has reached the fourth round of a major in each of the past two years.


26) Richard Gasquet – Gasquet’s talent is undeniable and his backhand can be one of the best in the sport when it’s clicking, but he is past his prime at 32 years old. The Frenchman returned to clay following Wimbledon and has played only one match on hard courts this summer.


29) Adrian Mannarino – Mannarino features an unorthodox, change-of-pace style that almost always troubles opponents ranked below him, but he rarely picks up upset victories over top players. The Frenchman owns four career top-10 wins (Wawrinka, Raonic, Marin Cilic, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga).


32) Filip Krajinovic – Krajinovic has absolutely no business being seeded, in part due to injuries and also because…well, just because. The Serb, whose ranking is inflated by a runner-up performance at the Paris Masters last fall, has not won a single match since Miami in March.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


Editors Note • Notice we call a SLAM a SLAM. Most people say GRAND SLAM. Sorry that’s wrong.

A GRAND SLAM in tennis means only one thing. Ready. A GRAND SLAM is when you win all four slams in a calendar year. It’s that simple. Ask Rod Laver. He did IT twice. (LJ)

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