Federer, Djokovic In Top Half Of US Open Draw
The biggest question entering the US Open draw was where third seed Roger Federer would fall. The answer: the five-time Flushing Meadows titlist is on the top half, setting up a potential semi-final showdown with top seed Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic will play Roberto Carballes Baena in the first round and could face former champion Stan Wawrinka or 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson in the fourth round. He may face a significant hurdle in the second round if Sam Querrey beats Juan Ignacio Londero. Djokovic leads Querrey 9-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series — including a win in Cincinnati — but the American won their last match at a major at Wimbledon in 2016.
A potential blockbuster is looming for the three-time US Open titlist in the quarter-finals against fifth seed Daniil Medvedev, who just won the biggest title of his career at the Western & Southern Open. Medvedev has beaten Djokovic twice this season, including in the Cincinnati semi-finals. The World No. 1 leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-2.
Second seed Rafael Nadal opens his campaign against Australian John Millman, who last year stunned Roger Federer in the fourth round. Nadal, a three-time champion, could meet another dangerous Aussie in Thanasi Kokkinakis — who also upset Federer last season (in Miami) — in the second round and fellow Spanish lefty Fernando Verdasco in the third round. John Isner and former champion Marin Cilic are potential opponents for the Spaniard in the fourth round.
A year ago, Nadal contested one of the best matches of the season against Dominic Thiem here in Flushing Meadows, with both players bludgeoning the ball for four hours and 49 minutes in the quarter-finals until the legendary lefty prevailed in a final-set tie-break. They are seeded to meet in the semi-finals this year.
For the second straight year, #NextGenATP Canadians Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov will meet in the first round. Auger-Aliassime cracked the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings this week for the first time, and both Felix and Shapovalov reached the semi-finals in Miami earlier this season.
Eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas opens against Russian Andrey Rublev, who upset Federer last week in Cincinnati. The Greek star battled past Rublev in five sets at last year's Next Gen ATP Finals. Tsitsipas has a tough draw ahead of him, with Citi Open champion Nick Kyrgios potentially looming in the third round, and newly-minted Top 10 player Roberto Bautista Agut and Italian Matteo Berrettini — who has won two ATP Tour titles this year — potential fourth-round opponents for him.
Federer won five consecutive US Opens from 2004-08 and built a 40-match winning streak at the event before his surprise defeat to Juan Martin del Potro in the 2009 final at Flush Meadows.
Speaking after his late-morning practice session with Dominic Thiem Federer told ESPN that he would be otherwise occupied when the draw is made. "I don't watch the draws, I don't like it," Federer said. "I'd rather just get through it and see where I fall. Players getting through to the quarters or the semis, that's really for you guys to debate. My focus really lies in the first couple of rounds."