US Open 2018 Men's Singles Draw Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Novak Djokovic lands in Roger Federer's quarter, as defending champion, Rafael Nadal gets favourable draw

Leye Aduloju in US Open 24 Aug 2018
  • The US Open is live from New York from 27 August to 9 September
  • Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are in the same quarter, Rafael Nadal gets favourable quarter
  • Murray, del Potro, Wawrinka, Dimitrov and Raonic in stacked third quarter

Rafael Nadal headlines the US Open field as the best players in the world converge at Flushing Meadows to battle for the last major of the year.

Defending champion, Rafael Nadal has got a favourable draw, but great rival Roger Federer may have to overcome both Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic just to get out of his quarter. Juan Martin del Potro, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, and Grigor Dimitrov are all stuck in a star-studded third quarter. Who will make it into the last four? We preview the US Open men’s singles draw.

FIRST QUARTER

Projected Quarter Final: Rafael Nadal (1) vs Kevin Anderson (5)
Defending champion, Rafael Nadal has got a relatively light draw, which has Kevin Anderson and Dominic Thiem as the only top-ten players in the Spaniard’s quarter. 

Nadal opens against veteran compatriot, David Ferrer, who is very much in the closing phase of his career, and has won just one match since Wimbledon. Ferrer is not going to trouble Nadal, neither should Lukas Lacko or Vasek Pospisil in the second round. Nadal’s first real test should come in the third round, when he is seeded to face the hard-hitting Karen Khachanov, provided the Russian gets past Albert Ramos-Vinolas and possibly, the dangerous serving and volleying Gilles Muller. 

Khachanov has enjoyed a productive time on North American hard courts so far, reaching the semi-finals in Toronto, where he was beaten by Nadal, and making the last 16 in Cincinnati, edged out by Marin Cilic in three sets. There are still loopholes in his game though- like the backhand, which is suspect under pressure- and Nadal is the expert at exploiting things like that. I think the top seed will be fine. Nadal is drawn to face Kyle Edmund or Jack Sock in the fourth round, and I will definitely back Edmund over an out-of-sorts Jack Sock should that third round meeting materialize.

Thiem and Anderson are on the other side of this quarter, as they fight for the right to possibly play Nadal in the last eight. Thiem has not been in the best of forms in the lead up to the US Open, (he’s hardly in any form outside clay, anyway!), losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening round in Toronto and pulling out of Cincinnati with a viral illness, and the Roland Garros finalist goes into New York as a prime candidate for the early upset. Last year’s beaten finalist, Anderson is definitely the favourite to move on and set up a rematch with Nadal, but the South African has got a tricky route to the last eight which includes a possible third-round meeting with Denis Shapovalov or Sam Querrey.

Predicted Quarter Final: Rafael Nadal vs Kevin Anderson
Semi-Finalist: Rafael Nadal


SECOND QUARTER

Projected Quarter Final: Juan Martin del Potro (3) vs Grigor Dimitrov (8)
This is possibly the most stacked quarter of the lot, with former champions, Juan Martin del Potro, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka joined by Grigor Dimitrov. 

There are blockbusters everywhere in this quarter, right from the opening round, where Dimitrov and Wawrinka meet at the same stage in the second straight major. Wawrinka’s victory over the Bulgarian at Wimbledon came as a bit of a surprise, but the Swiss arguably goes into this US Open re-match as the favourite after showing signs of a return to form in Toronto and Cincinnati. Whoever gets the win is rewarded with a qualifier in the second, before a potential third-round clash with Milos Raonic. A punishing draw continues with a possible fourth-round meeting with John Isner, although the American will have to improve significantly on his current form if he is to get that far.

Then there is the other side of this quarter, led by world number three, Juan Martin del Potro. Del Potro had trouble with his wrist during the build-up to the US Open, which adds another layer of an intrigue to an already cracking quarter, but assuming he is OK, I think he gets into the third round quite comfortably. Del Potro versus Andy Murray is a mouth-watering prospect in Round 3, but Murray, who is still very much on a comeback trail after an extended injury break, hasn’t played a five-set match since last Wimbledon, and is by no means guaranteed to get that far, especially with Fernando Verdasco possibly waiting in the second round. Regardless of the opponent, I think del Potro makes the fourth round, where he is seeded to play one of two young guns, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Borna Coric. Tsitsipas has been making all the right moves in the last few weeks, notably reaching the final in Toronto, but I actually like Coric here. He seems to enjoy playing his fellow youngsters, and has generally played some excellent tennis on quicker courts this year.

Predicted Quarter Final: Juan Martin del Potro vs Stan Wawrinka
Semi-Finalist: Juan Martin del Potro


THIRD QUARTER

Projected Quarter Final: Alexander Zverev (4) vs Marin Cilic (7)
There will be plenty of scrutiny on Alexander Zverev as the German gets his latest chance to overcome his Grand Slam struggles. 

Zverev once again finds himself in a relatively favourable section of the draw, but that was also what we all thought at Roland Garros, only for the 21-year-old to get himself entangled in five set matches before eventually running out of steam. The positive from that French Open campaign is that he managed to wriggle into the last eight, better than he has done in any of the other majors.

Zverev starts against a qualifier, and should he get through, he will face either Jiri Vesely or Corentin Moutet in the second round. Vesely, especially is the sort of player that could cause Zverev problems, and if that tie happens, the fourth seed could be pushed very hard once again. If he survives that, he is seeded to face Filip Krajinovic in the third round, before a possible fourth round meeting with Kei Nishikori or Diego Schwartzman (with Gael Monfils stuck somewhere in the middle!). Had this been a Masters 1000 tournament, I’d say Zverev gets through, but Nishikori and Schwartzman have become proper Grand Slam battlers, and either one could outlast the German in the best of five.

Marin Cilic leads the opposite end of this quarter, but he has got a difficult opener against Marius Copil, who has played some good stuff in this hard court swing. Down the line, Cilic could face Pablo Cuevas in the second round, Adrian Mannarino or Frances Tiafoe in the third, and David Goffin in the Round of 16. There are obvious obstacles in this draw, not least Goffin, who possesses a winning record against Cilic, and played extremely well in getting to the semi-finals in Cincinnati. Has he found form just in time to launch a US Open challenge?

Predicted Quarter Final: Kei Nishikori vs Marin Cilic
Semi-Finalist: Marin Cilic


FOURTH QUARTER

Projected Quarter Final: Roger Federer (2) vs Novak Djokovic (6)
With Novak Djokovic currently out of the top four, he was always was floating around the four quarters, and the Serbian would eventually be placed in the bottom quarter with Roger Federer, who was the not-so-fortunate member of the top-four seeds to have the Cincinnati champion in his vicinity. Before a potential Federer-Djokovic rematch, both players still have to navigate through the early rounds. I think Federer, especially, has got a dangerous draw. The great Swiss should be too good for Yoshihito Nishioka in the opening round, but Benoit Paire could prove problematic in the second round. Nick Kyrgios will definitely be problematic, if he stays fit enough to get that far. Kyrgios is always up for the big matches, and Federer will have to be very close to his best to survive the explosive Australian if that third round clash happens. Should Federer get through, he will likely play either Hyeon Chung or Fabio Fognini. I know Fognini has played some very good tennis this year, and has beaten Nadal at the US Open in the past, but surely he won’t take down Federer, will he? 

Djokovic starts his campaign for a third title against the rising Marton Fucsovics, before moving on to face Tennys Sandgren or Viktor Troicki in the second round. Richard Gasquet is his seeded third round opponent, while Pablo Carreno Busta and Lucas Pouille are possible fourth-round opponents. It’s a decent draw for Djokovic, and if he doesn’t stray too far from the form he showed in the Cincinnati final, he should make the quarter finals.

Predicted Quarter Final: Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic
Semi-Finalist: Novak Djokovic


Semi-Finals 
Rafael Nadal vs Juan Martin del Potro
Marin Cilic vs Novak Djokovic

Final
Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic

Winner
Novak Djokovic

US Open tennis is live from New York from 27 August-9 September

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US Open 2018 Men's Singles Draw Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Novak Djokovic lands in Roger Federer's quarter, as defending champion, Rafael Nadal gets favourable draw

Novak Djokovic lands in Roger Federer's quarter, as defending champion, Rafael Nadal gets favourable draw

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