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US Open 2020: Thiem and four more contenders after Djokovic default

Novak Djokovic Dominic Thiem - cropped
Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem following the Australian Open
Modified 07 Sep 2020, 03:50 IST

There will be a new grand slam champion at the US Open this year after Novak Djokovic was remarkably defaulted from the tournament.

World number one Djokovic was the clear favourite for the Flushing Meadows title, with great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both absent.

But the 17-time major champion was disqualified on Sunday after hitting a linesperson with the ball in his fourth-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.

None of the men's players remaining in the draw have previously tasted major success, but that will change for one star.

We take a look at five men who might profit from Djokovic's shock absence in New York.



Thiem has come closer than most to breaking the big three's monopoly at majors. The Austrian has made three finals, losing twice at the French Open to Nadal and then, this year, at the Australian Open to Djokovic.

With those hurdles removed, Thiem – the second seed – will surely back himself to claim what would be his 17th career title.


The 27-year-old has rediscovered some form this week after falling at the first hurdle in fairly spectacular fashion at the Western & Southern Open.


Before Thiem can think about the title, he must first get past 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime in the pick of the last-16 ties.

Auger-Aliassime is still waiting on his first career crown but is enjoying his best ever run at a major and stylishly dispatched of 2012 US Open champion Andy Murray in straight sets.

After Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian to win a singles grand slam at Flushing Meadows last year, Auger-Aliassime will aim to follow suit.


The man who 12 months ago won the hearts of the Flushing Meadows crowd after an uneasy relationship earlier in the tournament.

No fans are in attendance this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, but third seed Medvedev has been in sensational form, coasting through the opening three rounds without dropping a set.

His run to the final a year ago, where he was beaten by Nadal, remains his best result at a slam – fourth-round showings at the past Australian Opens proving his next-best effort.


Long since tipped to become a grand slam winner, it has not yet quite happened for the talented German.

His best result in tennis' big four came with a semi-final run at this year's Australian Open, though he did win the ATP Finals in 2018, beating Djokovic in the final.

This year in New York, fifth seed Zverev has grown into the tournament, needing four sets to claim his opening three matches before defeating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in straight sets.


Carreno Busta recorded a first career win against Djokovic at the fourth attempt but might have preferred the match to play to its conclusion.

The Spanish 20th seed was on top even before his opponent's meltdown and might well have claimed a victory that would not have been overshadowed so spectacularly.

It would be some story if Carreno Busta now went on and won a title that seemed destined for Djokovic, however a relatively kind draw gives him a chance.

Published 07 Sep 2020, 03:50 IST
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