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US Open 2018: Draw preview and predictions of the Men's singles

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
9.61K   //    24 Aug 2018, 19:49 IST

2017 US Open Tennis Championships - Day 14
Can Nadal do an encore?

The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis centre at the Flushing Meadows, New York is all set to host the 50th-anniversary edition of the season-ending Major, the U.S.Open 2018. Defending and three-time champion, World No 1, Rafael Nadal with a relatively favourable draw in his bag, will look to add a fourth US Open trophy to his cabinet and a $3.8 million to his riches.

But with the season handing us three different champions at the earlier three Majors, Roger Federer conquering Melbourne, Nadal winning the French Open and Novak Djokovic triumphing at Wimbledon, will we see the same trend continuing in New York? Or will Nadal do an encore? We take a dip into the Men’s Singles draw to find answers to all the questions looming on this.

While the top half of the draw looking in favour of the Spaniard Rafael Nadal, the tricky bottom half sees five-time champion, Roger Federer, finding a place in the same quarter where two-time champ Novak Djokovic is pitched in too.

Meanwhile, The second quarter of the top half is the most stacked with Stanislas Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Murray, Milos Raonic and John Isner along with young guns like Borna Coric, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Fernando Verdasco all aiming to go the distance from this quarter.

In the third quarter, Alexander Zverev who yet has to make a breakthrough at the Majors is handed a treacherous terrain to scale with David Goffin, Kei Nishikori Diego Schwartzman and Marin Cilic, all who are placed in the same quarter of the draw.


#1 TOP HALF

FIRST QUARTER: Projected quarter-final #1 Rafael Nadal vs #5 Kevin Anderson

Defending champion, World No.1 Nadal has got a fairly easier draw. With only two top ten players Kevin Anderson (5) and Dominic Thiem (9) in this quarter, Nadal will most certainly make the semi-finals.

The top seed opens against compatriot, two-time semi-finalist in New York (2007, 2012) David Ferrer. But given Ferrer’s grim form who is on a match losing streak since the R16 in Bastad, losing back to back opening rounds in Hamburg, Toronto and Cincinnati, little can he even dream of thwarting the great Nadal in his quest for a fourth title in New York.

In the second round, the Spaniard could face either Lukas Lacko or Vasek Pospisil both of which should be a breeze. In the third round comes the real test for the Spaniard where he could potentially meet the dangerous Karen Khachanov.

Albeit the World No 27, Khachanov has a daunting task in the opener against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Should he get past, another roadblock in the form of the big-serving Gilles Muller awaits the Russian in the third.

But predicting that Khachanov finds his way through this, a third-round meeting with Nadal will be the most intriguing matches to watch out for.

Worth mentioning, Karen Khachanov has had a fairly good run on the American hard courts warming up for the season-ending Major. He reached the semi-finals in Toronto where he succumbed to Nadal after a brilliant first set tussle 6(3)-7, 4-6.

Khachanov also made it to the R16 in Cincinnati before losing to Marin Cilic in three sets. But this should pose no worry to the Spaniard as Khachaov is known to falter in pressure situations with an erring backhand majority of the times. Nadal is projected to meet either Jack Sock or Kyle Edmund in the fourth round.

On the other side of this quarter are World No 9 Dominic Thiem and last year’s finalist World No.5 Kevin Anderson.

It is a known fact that Thiem hardly can cause ripples on surfaces other than clay. He also has been in a poor form with an opening round defeat in Toronto to Greek rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas and withdrawing from Cincinnati due to a viral infection.

Kevin Anderson should be the one to make it from this part of the quarter to the last eight and meet Nadal in the quarters. Looking from the other side, The South African first needs to get past the Canadian Denis Shapovalov or Sam Querry in the third round.

Going by the seeding, Anderson should have it easy till the quarterfinals where the Nadal challenge awaits the 2017 finalist.

Prediction: Rafael Nadal moves into the semis.

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ANALYST
Sports freak. Blogger. Tennis, badminton. Whenever not writing its about reading biographies of sporting legends.
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