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U.S. Open Tennis Men’s Draw: Djokovic and Medvedev On Opposite Sides, Thiem’s Quarter Loaded

By Ricky Dimon

With Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and some other marquee attractions gone from the 2020 U.S. Open, the question is if anyone can stop Novak Djokovic from capturing an 18th Grand Slam singles title.

Damir Dzumhur will get the first crack at Djokovic after the draw was revealed on Thursday. Needless to say, that probably won’t last long. The top-ranked Serb could go up against Kyle Edmund or Alexander Bublik in round two, recent Cincinnati quarterfinal opponent Jan-Lennard Struff in the last 32, and John Isner in the fourth round.

The other top-eight seed in Djokovic’s quarter is David Goffin, who finished runner-up in Cincinnati last year but is now coming off an early loss to Struff. Goffin may have a tough opener on his hands with Reilly Opelka, although the 6’11” American is a question mark after retiring from his Western & Southern Open quarterfinal against Stefanos Tsitsipas because of a knee injury. In addition to Goffin and Opelka, other quarterfinal contenders in that section are Denis Shapovalov and Cincinnati quarterfinalist Filip Krajinovic.

In the other part of the top half, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are the two projected quarterfinalists based on seeding. Tsitsipas is still alive in Cincinnati and has a great draw throughout the first week of the U.S. Open. Zverev, on the other hand, was once again let down by his serve during an opening loss to Andy Murray at the Cincinnati Masters. The seventh-ranked German has to face former U.S. Open runner-up Kevin Anderson right off the bat and Diego Schwartzman could be a pesky opponent in the round of 16.

Familiar foes Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev may be on a collision course for the title match, as Medvedev landed on the other side of the bracket. The 2019 runner-up at Flushing Meadows has to like his draw, which probably won’t get difficult until a possible quarterfinal date with Andrey Rublev or 2019 semifinalist Matteo Berrettini.

The fourth and final quarter of the bracket is by far the deepest. With Thiem by no means at home on a fast hard court and coming off a blowout loss to Krajinovic at the Cincinnati Masters, the second-seeded Austrian is not necessarily a big favorite to reach the final or even the semis. Other contenders in Thiem’s section are Roberto Bautista Agut, Milos Raonic, Karem Khachanov, Alex de Minaur, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and 2014 champion Marin Cilic.

Intriguing first-rounders in that quarter are Bautista Agut vs. Tennys Sandgren, Khachanov vs. Jannik Sinner, and Murray vs. Yoshihito Nishioka.

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

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