US Open 2019 Men’s Draw Review & Analysis: Djokovic Faces Tricky Draw, Potential Federer Semi Rematch

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Who is the defending champion Novak Djokovic’s first round opponent and how has the draw turned up for him, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer among others? Here’s more in our US Open 2019 men’s draw analysis.

As summer draws to a close, so do the Grand Slams, and the final major of the year, the US Open is now upon us. With the ‘who’s who’ of the tennis world hitting the practice sessions and doing the “Meet & Greets” with sponsors and tennis enthusiasts in the Big Apple, we are just a few days away now from ‘America’s Slam’.

The draw ceremony was held earlier today at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with 2018 men’s and women’s champions Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka making appearances. We have upon us another exciting draw that is bound to fill a fortnight with thrills, agonies, ecstasies and more for players and fans alike.

Quarter 1:

The top quarter of the draw sees defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic begin proceedings against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena in what should be a routine opener for the Serb.

Djokovic’s draw gets more challenging with him potentially facing big serving American Sam Querrey who defeated him at Wimbledon in 2016 up next, with the chance of playing one of his countrymen Dusan Lajovic or Janko Tipsarevic approaching the end of his career, in the round of 32.

Week two may see the 16-time major champion running into the man who beat him in 2016 Stanislas Wawrinka or the 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Andersen. Cincinnati winner Daniil Medvedev, who defeated Djokovic en route may await him in the last eight.

While this may be a tricky path to the semi finals for the top seed, it would be wise to pick him as the favored member from this quarter in the final four on the second Friday of the major.

This quarter of the draw has some dangerous floaters in addition to the names mentioned above, i.e. Taylor Fritz, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Fabio Fognini, Herbert Hurkacz, Riley Opelka among others.

First round matches to watch out:


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Quarter 2:

Five-time winner and world number three from Switzerland, Roger Federer, is the highlight of this section. The 38 year old could not  have asked for a more favorable draw beginning proceedings against a qualifier, and then meeting world number 92 Dazir Dzumhur possibly, with Philipp Kohlschreiber, Lucas Pouille and David Goffin potentially awaiting him before the quarter-finals.

Federer is drawn to meet Japanese Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals. But, given first round defeats for Nishikori in both Montreal and Cincinnati, he may run into some challenging encounters en route the final eight. Young Croat Borna Coric, Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, Canadian Milos Raonic, and Aussie Alex de Minaur also feature in his path and are not opponents the Japanese number one will like to undermine.

Although the last few years at the US Open have not been the best for the 20 time grand slam winner, Federer is still the clear favorite here to make the semi-finals from this section.

First round matches to watch out:


Quarter 3:

This quarter of the draw is filled with ‘Next Gen’ representation and though French Open finalist Dominic Thiem is the top seed in this quarter, there are a fair number of players here who could make a deep run.

Despite a mix of minimal participation and success outside of clay since Indian Wells in March, and some recent health concerns, Thiem is favored to overcome a tricky first round opponent in Italian Thomas Fabbiano.

But, with British number one Kyle Edmund, the young Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger- Aliassimne, Gael Monfils, Andrey Rublev, Nick Kyrgios, Roberto Bautista Agut and Stefanos Tsitsipas all in this section, the Austrian will know he needs to tread carefully and be at his best from the very beginning.

While on paper, either of Thiem or Tsitsipas is expected to make the final four from here, that could all change very quickly. Tsitsipas has a tough opener against Andrey Rublev who defeated Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka in Cincinnati, and could run into Nick Kyrgios soon thereafter.

Agut has had the best year of his life breaking into the top ten and defeating Djokovic twice this year, and will definitely be the dark horse from this section at the back of his Wimbledon semi-final appearance in addition to all accomplished this year by him.

First round matches to watch out:


Quarter 4:

Three time US Open champion and world number two Rafael Nadal is the highlight of this section, but again not without a fair share of potential challenges in the draw.

Nadal begins proceedings against John Millman who defeated Federer here last year. A potential second round against Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis maybe followed by veteran countryman Fernando Verdasco in the third. With either of Marin Cilic, Jan-Lennard Struff, or John Isner in the fourth round and Karen Khachanov or Alexander Zverev in the quarters, Nadal’s path to the semis will need him to be firing early.

Karen Khachanov stands out as possibly the biggest challenger to Nadal and he will be looking to replicate his form from the Paris Masters last year.

Zverev will be hoping that this can be the slam where he can set the record straight, but given how 2019 has looked for him, the odds definitely are not in his favor.

First round matches to watch out:


And then again, we have the sport of tennis which throws all its unpredictabilities and uncertainties at fans and players alike, which is what makes the next two weeks and all the thrills worth every minute.

Potential Men’s Singles Fourth Round Matches:

Djokovic v Anderson
Fognini v Medvedev
Federer v Goffin
Coric v Nishikori
Tsitsipas v Bautista-Agut
Monfils v Thiem
Zverev v Khachanov
Isner v Nadal

About Samir Talwar 776 Articles
Samir is a New York based Wall Street credit analyst, who is always ready to get into analytical discussions on the men’s tennis circuit. He loves his tennis & cricket.

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