U.S. Open 2018 men's dark horses

Andrew Hendrie in US Open 23 Aug 2018
  • Only two men outside of the 'Big Five' have won a Grand Slam since the 2005 Australian Open
  • Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic won the U.S. Open in 2009 and 2014 respectively
  • Could we see another surprise champion in New York in 2018?
Stefanos Tsitsipas (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka have combined to win every Grand Slam title but two since the 2005 Australian Open - but the two they failed to win out of those 51 majors did come at the U.S. Open. Could we possibly see another dark horse claim the 2018 U.S. Open title?

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Juan Martin del Potro secured the U.S. Open title in 2009 and Marin Cilic captured the crown in 2014, but apart from that, the aforementioned five-some of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka have won every single major trophy since the 2005 Australian Open final between Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are strong favourites for the 2018 U.S. Open title, with Wawrinka and Murray further behind as the continue their comebacks from injury, but who are the fresh faces that could challenge for the silverware?

Stefanos Tsitsipas


Up to a career-high ranking of No. 15 and seeded at a Grand Slam for the first time after his extraordinary run to the final of the Canada Masters a few weeks ago, is Stefanos Tsitsipas ready to take on the big guns and make it deep into a major? Tsitsipas famously became the youngest player since the current format of the ATP World Tour was established in 1990 to beat four top 10 players at a single tournament when he conquered Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson before going down to Nadal in Toronto, while he’s already experienced making the second week of a Grand Slam before, advancing to the Round of 16 at Wimbledon before going down to John Isner.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)


Tsitsipas had been making steady progress before his meteoric rise after Canada and it only seems a matter of time before he joins the likes of young rival Alexander Zverev near the very top of the ATP rankings. A lot depends on the draw, obviously, but Tsitsipas has proven he can beat the best players in the world in the best-of-three sets - if he can do the same in best-of-five, then watch out…

Karen Khachanov


With Tsitsipas going on his magical run in Toronto, the semi-final finish of 22-year-old Karen Khachanov flew largely under the radar. But make no mistake, the Canada Masters was a significant breakthrough for the explosive young Russian, with Khachanov reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final by beating Pablo Carreno Busta and John Isner before going down in a tight straight sets tussle with eventual champion Nadal. Khachanov backed that run up with a Round of 16 finish in Cincinnati, falling to former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic in three sets, and arrives in New York at a career-high ranking of No. 27 and in the most consistent form of his young career.

Karen Khachanov (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)


Khachanov has the weapons and shotmaking to cause serious damage at Flushing Meadows, with his only real weakness that he needs to work on being his movement, which the top players like Nadal, Djokovic and Federer can expose. But you never know what can happen or how a draw will open up - and if Khachanov can survive until the second week - which he’s done in making the fourth round of his last two slams at Roland Garros and Wimbledon - then you just never know….

John Isner


Although he seemingly ran out of gas in Washington, Canada and Cincinnati, John Isner has had almost two weeks off before the U.S. Open - and that should serve the towering American well as he looks to make another big impact at a major. Isner’s Grand Slam record has left a lot to be desired for throughout his career, but he’s been superb lately, making the fourth round of the French Open before reaching the semi-finals of Wimbledon, going down to Kevin Anderson in that marathon duel. Isner made his only other Grand Slam quarter-final in New York in 2011 and has advanced to at least the third round every season since 2009 - that’s pretty solid consistency.

John Isner (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


It’s all about avoiding drawn-out five-setters in the early rounds for Isner so he can bring his thunderous best to potential showdowns with top 10 stars in the second week, but if he can do that, the American is as dangerous as anyone - and certainly someone the top players would want to see on the other side of the draw. Those early defeats in Washington, Canada and Cincinnati could prove to be a blessing in disguise…


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U.S. Open 2018 men's dark horses

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka have combined to win every Grand Slam title but two since the 2005 Australian Open - but the two they failed to win out of those 51 majors did come at the U.S. Open. Could we possibly see another dark horse claim the 2018 U.S. Open title?

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