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Djokovic, Zverev in Top Half of US Open draw, Medvedev and Tsitsipas on the other side

Novak Djokovic plays to complete the calendar Grand Slam at the US Open. Photo credit: EPA

By Ricky Dimon

Familiar foes Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev are on a collision course for the semifinals after the U.S. Open draw was revealed on Thursday afternoon.

Djokovic–who is bidding to win the calendar-year Grand Slam having already triumphed at the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon–has lost only two matches since Rome and one was to Zverev in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics (the world No. 1 also fell to Pablo Carreno Busta in the bronze-medal match. The hottest player on tour along with Djokovic, Zverev is coming off a gold medal in Tokyo and a victory at the Cincinnati Masters.

After opening with a qualifier, Djokovic could eventually meet Kei Nishikori in the third round. Aslan Karatsev, Alex de Minaur, and Taylor Fritz are potential round-of-16 opponents for the top-seeded Serb. The other top-eight seed in Djokovic’s quarter of the bracket is Matteo Berrettini, who was runner-up at Wimbledon.

If the seeds hold to form up to the quarterfinals, in addition to Djokovic vs. Berrettini the other matchups would be Zverev vs. Denis Shapovalov, Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Andrey Rublev, and Daniil Medvedev vs. Casper Ruud.

Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Andy Murray in his US Open opener. Photo credit: Western & Southern Open Facebook

In the bottom half of the draw, Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Rublev, and Ruud could be challenged by the likes of Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Cameron Norrie, John Isner, and former champions Marin Cilic and Andy Murray. Medvedev’s path begins against current Winston-Salem quarterfinalist Richard Gasquet and the second-ranked Russian could run into Cilic in the last 32. Schwartzman and Isner, who are likely to face each other in round three, have to like their spots in Ruud’s section of the bracket.

The marquee matchup of the entire first round is Tsitsipas vs. Murray. Other first-rounders to watch are Medvedev vs. Gasquet, de Minaur vs. Fritz, Zverev vs. Sam Querrey, Isner vs. Brandon Nakashima (rematch of the Atlanta final), Ruud vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Norrie vs. Carlos Alcaraz, Karen Khachanov vs. Lloyd Harris, and Nikoloz Basilashvili vs. Sebastian Korda.

Among those absent from the 2021 field are Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and 2020 champion Dominic Thiem.

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