The Covid-19 Pandemic has truly shook the sporting world, and tennis did not escape. The crowds have gone. All we have left are the raw sounds of the game and the chatters, grunts and emotions of the players. But it’s been great nonetheless. Tennis might not be exactly as it was but the standard has not dropped. These players are the best in the world because they love to compete, they love to win, no matter what the circumstance. The US Open is upon us. Rafa and Roger have decided to stay home. Sofia Kenin, who won the Australian Open has decided to stay home. But there is still lots to get out teeth into. This morning, lets look at the men’s draw and figure out if anyone has the ability to stop Novak Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic just won the Western & Southern Open at this same venue on Saturday gone. He is unbeaten in 2020 (23-0) and is now only 2 slams behind Rafa Nadal. He is the overwhelming favourite at 5/6 (1.83) on the Betfair Exchange. Djokovic will start against Damir Dzumhur, maybe Struff after that. Most of the big players are in the opposite quarter of the draw. Djokovic could potentially face Isner, Frutz, Opelka, Shapovalov or Krajinovic in the quarters. It remains to be seen if any of these players can upset the top seed. For now, we must have Djokovic as big favourite to reach the semi finals.
Tsitsipas and Zverev are the main attractions in this quarter. Tsitsipas is coming off a good run in Cincinnati where he reached the semi final. Zverev lost early to Andy Murray at the same venue. Zverev faces Kevin Anderson in the first round. Although he has a healthy lead in their head-to-head series, I expect this to be a tricky match for Zverev. If Zverev makes it through, it won’t get much easier where he might meet wildcard Brandon Nakashima and potentially Diego Schwartzman.
Tsitsipas is playing with confidence and should have no problem dispatching Ramos-Vinolas in the first round. Borna Coric is a potential 3rd round meeting but overall I expect Tsitsipas to win this quarter.
Daniil Medvedev made the final here in 2019 where he lost in a 5 set thriller to Rafa Nadal. Medvedev looked pretty strong in his last outing and will need to continue this form. The draw has been kind to him. He will start against Delbonis and potential opponents in later rounds include Basilashvili, Dimitrov, Paire, Ruud and Berrettini.
One player who has been showing great signs in this quarter is Andrey Rublev. Watch out for him as a serious contender. But ultimately, Medvedev is the favourite to make the semi finals.
Dominic Thiem in the No.2 seed at this year’s Open, yet his recent match in Cincinnati against Krajinovic was a disaster. His summer of exhibition matches was a success so that result came as a surprise. It will be interesting to see if that match against Krajinovic was a blip. Thiem will start against Jaume Munar and probably Marin Cilic in the 2nd round.
The danger player in this quarter for Thiem is Milos Raonic who made the final in Cincinnati a few days ago and lost in 3 sets to Djokovic. Raonic is my favourite to reach the semis from this quarter.