US Open 2019: Men's singles draw analysis, preview and prediction
The draw for the 2019 US Open has been announced and the star-studded lineup promises another exciting two weeks of tennis. Led by the defending champion and top seed Novak Djokovic, the draw boasts of other big names including former champions Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka, as well as the younger crop of players on the ATP Tour in the form of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Alexander Zverev.
And if one includes the in-form players of the season, the likes of which include the Russian duo of Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov, seasoned campaigners Fabio Fognini and Gael Monfils, and wildcards Nick Kyrgios and Andrey Rublev, the draws gets even more exciting. One can expect this year's tournament to be as unpredictable and keenly contested as the past few editions, with a host of big names gunning for their title in Flushing Meadows.
Before the singles main draw action gets under way, here is a look at the prospects of some of the top players in the draw.
Analysis: This is a relatively straightforward quarter for Novak, in particular. The Serb would be expecting a smooth road up to the fourth round at least. It is here that he is expected to meet former finalist Kevin Anderson. He will, in all likelihood, be the only obstacle in the defending champion's path to a quarter-final spot.
The equation is a little bit trickier on Daniil Medvedev's side of the draw. He has a few players to worry about, but most of these dangerous floaters have been pitted against each other in first round encounters. While Fabio Fognini will be up against talented American Reilly Opelka, Taylor Fritz will lock horns with an in-form Feliciano Lopez.
While this will make for some intense match-ups early in the tournament, the winners here are at best capable of taking a set or two off Medvedev, who is in ravaging form currently.
Expected quarterfinal: Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev
Prediction: Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev
Analysis: Much like the first quarter, this one too does not spell too much danger for the seeds. Roger Federer, who hasn't had a big result in Flushing Meadows for a few years now, should reach the third round without breaking a sweat. His prospective opponent there will be Frenchman Lucas Pouille, who has had a few big semifinals on hard courts this year, including the Australian Open.
If Federer comes through that, he could very well face the Cincinnati Masters finalist David Goffin. While the Belgian No. 1 did defeat him at ATP Tour Finals a couple of years ago, he has mostly struggled against the Swiss great. It should be an interesting match if it were to materialize.
Former finalist Kei Nishikori has a few players on his side of the draw to keep an eye on. The likes of Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic, and Alex De Minaur have the game to upstage the best in the game, but have not had the best of seasons coming into the US Open this year.
Expected quarterfinal: Roger Federer vs Kei Nishikori
Prediction: Lucas Pouille vs Kei Nishikori
Analysis: Now this part of the draw is crowded with a few big names and a few potential upsets are definitely on the cards. The likes of Andrey Rublev, Richard Gasquet, Roberto BautistaAgut and Nick Kyrgios will be waiting for Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Gael Monfils, Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime will be in the path for fourth seed Dominic Thiem.
If one thinks of realistic threats, Bautista Agut can really give Tsitsipas a hard time. The Spaniard is in good form and will be looking to get big wins of his own, that is, if Tsitsipas can overcome the wildcards Rublev and Kyrgios early on.
Thiem will have to be wary of Lorenzo Sonego, a probable third round opponent. The other big three in his section - Monfils, Shapovalov, and Auger-Aliassime will filter out each other on their way to the fourth round.
Expected quarterfinal: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Dominic Thiem
Prediction: Roberto Bautista Agut vs Gael Monfils
Analysis: Rafael Nadal headlines the last quarter of the draw, which also features former champion Marin Cilic and big-serving American John Isner. The last of the two are set to meet each other in the third round and the winner of this one is most likely to contest Nadal for a spot in the quarterfinals. The Spaniard, for his part, has to be careful in his matches against Fernando Verdasco and a couple of talented young Australian players.
Alexander Zverev's side of the quarter is not exactly packed with big names either. While he might face a few threats in the form of Benoit Paire, and the winner of Ivo Karlovic-Frances Tiafoe first round battle, the German should make it to the fourth round. That is, if one was to ignore the youngster's shockingly poor record at Grand Slams.
Karen Khachanov is one player who will be keen on capitalizing on the relatively open draw. He will be tested in the opening rounds by talented opponents in Vasek Pospisil and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, but if he can play himself into form early on, he can be a real contender.
Expected quarterfinal: Alexander Zverev vs Rafael Nadal
Prediction: Rafael Nadal vs Karen Khachanov
Notable first round matches
Fabio Fognini vs Reilly Opelka
Stefanos Tsitspas vs Andrey Rublev
Gael Monofils vs Albert Ramos Viñolas
Denis Shapovalov vs Felix Auger-Aliassime