Tough US Open draw for Alcaraz, who gets Medvedev, Sinner and Zverev in his half
Carlos Alcaraz didn’t have much luck in the draw when it came to defending his title. Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, has fared rather well
Suddenly, Novak Djokovic must be feeling a lot less regret at not having been able to regain the world No 1 ranking in time for the US Open. At the draw held this Thursday in New York, fate had a rather heavy hand for Carlos Alcaraz, the top seed.
The Spaniard, with the 2,000 points from his 2022 title to defend, will have to fight his way through some potential pitfalls. In his half of the field, there are virtually all the outsiders for the title: Jannik Sinner, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, as well as those to watch out for, such as Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov.
Of course, the draw on paper is sometimes worth little when compared with the reality of the field. But one thing is certain: Alcaraz will need to be at his best at the start of the tournament, having also recovered from the exertions of his summer hard court tour.
Novak Djokovic, for his part, has received the first bit of luck he’ll need in his quest for a first title in New York since 2018. But he’s had enough misadventures in this tournament to make him no more relieved than that on the day of the draw. In his section of the draw, there are Casper Ruud, the 2022 finalist, Stefanos Tsitsipas and hard-court specialists such as Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul, not forgetting the up-and-coming youngster Holger Rune. And don’t forget Felix Auger-Aliassime, should he regain his form.
The world No 1 will start by facing Germany’s Dominik Koepfer before things get much tougher.
- First round: Koepfer
- Second round: Harris – Pella
- Third round: Evans / Thompson or Van De Zandschulp
- Round of 16: Norrie
- Quarter-final: Zverev or Sinner
- Semi-final: Medvedev or Rublev
- Final: Djokovic
The Serb will start his tournament against France’s Alexandre Müller, then will have to watch out for Auger-Aliassime and Lorenzo Musetti before getting down to business.
- First round: Muller
- Second round: Zapata Miralles
- Third round : Djere or Nakashima
- Round of 16: Auger-Aliassime or Cerundolo
- Quarter-final: Tsitsipas or Fritz
- Semi-final: Ruud or Rune
- Final: Alcaraz or Medvedev
Matches of the first round
Stefanos Tsitsipas – Milos Raonic: A first match that the Greek could have done without! Raonic, who may be playing in the last US Open of his career, impressed on his return to competition, with wins over Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul.
Andy Murray – Corentin Moutet: A match that smacks of genius – and a bit of a rant too. If both are at the top of their game at the same time, this will be a “popcorn” match for connoisseurs.
Ugo Humbert – Matteo Berrettini: Another challenge for a French star. Between two ultra-powerful, attack-minded players, the show should be on.
Potential matches of the first week
Jannik Sinner – Andy Murray: the next generation up against the old guard, there would be a lot of symbolism in seeing Sinner go head-to-head with a Murray as close to his best as possible. They have only met twice before (1-1), and never in a Grand Slam. It’s going to be a long road, especially for Murray, between now and this potential Round of 16 clash.
Daniil Medvedev – Borna Coric: Here’s a match of ultimate competitors that could well be worth watching. Especially as it’s the Croatian, last year’s winner in Cincinnati and always capable of great performances against the best, who leads 4-3 in their duels, including a victory at the 2018 US Open. A match that would almost have “five sets” written all over it.
Stan Wawrinka – Alexander Zverev: An inevitably fiery match between a Swiss who wants nothing more than to repeat his Grand Slam success and a German who is still chasing his first Major. Electric atmosphere guaranteed.