Grand SlamsRoger FedererUS Open

US Open Draw 2018: Djokovic in Federer’s Quarter

The US Open draw has just taken place in New York and for the final slam of the year, Federer is in the same Quarter as his Cincinnati conqueror Novak Djokovic. The Swiss is bidding to win his 6th US Open crown which would his first since 2008 and on current form you'd say it's unlikely. You can see his projected opponents below:

  • Round 1: Yoshihito Nishioka
  • Round 2: Benoit Paire
  • Round 3: Nick Kyrgios
  • Round 4: Fabio Fognini / Hyeon Chung
  • Quarter Final: Novak Djokovic
  • Semi Final: Marin Cilic / Alexander Zverev
  • Final: Rafael Nadal

Full printable .PDF draw

Thoughts on the Draw

Fed USO 18 Practice

First up is the Japanese left-hander Yoshihito Nishioka, at only 5ft 7″ he's fairly diminutive and after he ruptured his ACL last year after some promising results in Indian Wells he's not really rediscovered that form. I've watched a couple of his matches before and as you'd expect he's quick with fast hands but no weapons at all so I can't see Fed being troubled.

Round 2 will either be the flaky Frenchman Benoit Paire or a qualifier. Paire has played four US Open Series tournaments winning just two matches so he's not exactly in form. I don't think he has the consistency or mentality to win over five sets assuming he's playing reasonable opposition and Fed just about falls into that category.

The third round is where things get interesting with Nick Kyrgios the likely opponent. If the Aussie isn't struggling with hip issues it's hard to see how he doesn't get through with Radu Albot in the first round or Yuki Bhambri who's not played since Wimbledon due to a knee problem or Pierre Hughes Herbert, who has a decent serve but most of his success is on the doubles circuit, in round 2. He'll be a big test as he's beaten Fed before and seems to match up nicely against the Swiss. Over 5 it's obviously a different ball game but with a serve like his then he's tricky.

With Kyrgios the danger man in Round 3 due to his slide in the rankings, Round 4 could be potentially easier with Fognini or Chung as the seeded opposition. We've barely seen Chung since the Australian Open and he's not been in great form. I watched his match vs. Sock in Cincy and despite winning he looked way off the pace. He is into the Quarters at Winston-Salem though so he's finally getting some matches in his legs. Fabio is Fabio so who knows what tennis he will produce, like Paire though I'd question if he has the mentality to beat Roger over 5.

For the Quarters Djokovic is the top seed and he comes in fresh off winning Cincinnati for the first time. I can't see too many problems for him in the first four rounds so you'd expect him to make it comfortably. Fuscovics in the first round is just ok. Pouille and Gasquet are in there too but how they perform is anyone's best guess. Carreno Busta could be his fourth-round opponent and I'm surprised he doesn't have better results. He's currently still playing Winston Salem too so maybe he can hit NYC with some confidence.

Semi's is seeded to be either Cilic or Zverev but there is also Goffin, Nishikori, Tsitipas and Schwartzman in that quarter so it looks fairly open. It's about time Sascha delivered at a slam but barring a weird loss like he sustained at Wimbledon the former champ Cilic should make it as he usually plays well in New York.

As for the final Nadal is the top seed and he has a very manageable draw. Big K Bomb Anderson is in his quarter though and he'll surely want to try to put in a better showing than last years final. But it looks good on paper for the defending champion.

Expectations? Not too many. I'm not on a total downer with Fed's game and I think he will have a decent tournament but how far he goes is a tricky one. The last few times he's run into solid opposition it's not ended too well – Coric, Anderson and then Djokovic. Can Kyrgios offer something similar should they meet? Maybe but if Fed gets through that I think he makes the Quarters and it's likely Djokerer XLVII.

What are your thoughts on the draw? Let me know in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. Though path to #GS21
      Let’s see how he starts, hopefully he will find his timing and gets through without any physical issues. Once he gets some confidence going anything can happen!!!


  1. I really wish he get a win over Novak on quarters but more of wishful thinking as it’s been ages (6 years?) Since that happened… probably not much to expect..?

  2. Rafa for 18. When his draw is so comfortable even on paper you know he has a good chance.
    Ridiculous draw for him. Bad players or solid players in a horrible form.

    1. Yet again? What is it about Rafa and NY?

      Let’s put it this way: I won’t be putting my house on Roger winning this. Or even a brick. Oh wait, I still don’t actually have a house, but you know what I mean …


  4. The draw is so tough Roger need a top game just like AO17 many tricky player in his way , Rafa draw still joke another cake walk final for him ?? 18 coming soon Why tennis’s god not do something with the draw

  5. Arrgh. I could have wished for Djokovic to be somewhere else. Still, it’s a Slam, it’s supposed to be a tough draw. I hope he moved on from “not even really wanting to figure out” what happened in Cincinnati, or we’ll have a very short stay in this quarter.

    Somebody on Twitter spotted he was using the previous matte black version of his racquet – not sure if that was for real, but interesting if so.

    Just really want to see him playing well & with joy again. (Of course if that HAPPENS, no doubt I’ll suddenly want a great deal more…)

      1. A-HA!! Well spotted, so it is. Naturally no one is mentioning it. Matte black racquet? What matte black racquet?

  6. Another cake walk draw for Nadal. Smh. Fed not playing well, but on the other hand, every time he gets a hellish draw he does well. Whenever he gets an easy draw he inexplicably fails.

    1. True. Hopefully he snaps out of his ‘play it safe’ fame of mind to ‘go for the lines’, ie, AO ’17!

  7. Let’s see how things unfold, I have faith in Federer. I think he has a few more tricks up his sleeve. I want him to have a difficult draw. It will force him to up his game. I believe he will peak in the later rounds , if he pushes through.

    1. Let’s face it, Roger needs to be getting past players of the quality of Djokovic if he’s to win slams. We can’t all win things by not playing a top-25 player, you know 🙂 Maybe that Cincy match will be a wakeup call – or will at least have reminded him of what he does need to do to beat Djokovic. That’s assuming both of them get there, of course.

  8. I can’t believe that a random draw could be so much in favor of Dull and so much against poor Roger. Deep down, as always, I want Roger to beat Kyrios, Djokovic, Cilic and Dull to win this and go on to be year end #1. But, looking at his age and his struggles this year since he won the AusOpen and the horrible draw, I don’t see him getting past the quarters. Hope he proves me and everyone who is going to write him off totally wrong. Come on, Roger.

  9. Dear oh dear. Uncle Toni must still be bribing the USTA bigwigs. I wonder when Roger will play? Tuesday night session?
    Jonathan, weather channel needs changing.
    I’m happy Ivan is there. He seems to be good for Fed. Hopefully he can help sort things out. Hoping for the quarters but not really expecting much. Will Sascha do well with Lendl in his camp?
    I’ll be there in Ashe for all the 1st round matches and other stadiums if we can get into some other good matches. Hot and humid in the Big Apple!

    1. As a big fan of both Felix and Shapo I was very upset that they will face one another in the first round. But they have played a lot of practice matches against each other and it should be a good match. If you do see it, would love to hear all about their match.

      1. I know Hartt, what a bummer. Looks like they play on Grandstand at 5pm on Monday. See if we can get in there but I’m sure it will be a popular match!
        I plan on a fan report. I have visions of melting like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz.

  10. You may think I am over-optimisic but there are elements that give me hopes for the upcoming USO for our champion :
    – He does not seem to be battle-scarred by his Cinci loss when looking at his face on social media (Uniqlo venue, yesterday’s training = smiles)
    – He is fit.
    – He is not injured – as far as we know
    – He may have kept forces for the USO during the Cinci final as it is (as every Grand Slam) one of his next main objectives until the end of the season (if not the main one with WTF)
    – He has had good or very good results at ALL the Slams he competed in since 2017 (the “worst” ones being “only” a QF at USO 17 and Wim 18 – not bad for an old man). Fantastic ! Why should it stop now ?
    – He won’t have to play 2 matches per day at the USO in a humid atmosphere.
    – He will have a day off every 2 days in NY
    – Ljubicic is back
    – His patrnership with Uniqlo seems well established now. Good for the head.
    – He loves New York, the city, the crowd, the courts : extra motivation
    – He won his last USO in 2008 : ten years ago … Incredible challenge to do it again in 2018 ! He loves challenges, doesn’t he ?
    – This year, it is the 50th anniversary of the open… I guess he wouldn’t be reluctant to link his name to it, no ?
    – Even if the draw isn’t as easy for him as it was for Rafa last year and this year : no problem – RF always gives his best vs strong opponents and he knows their game (see with Wawrinka last week)
    – He is seeded number 2 and won’t meet Nadal before the final
    – The weather should be hot in NY (27 to 34° celsius during the day, next week) : he loves it (training in Dubai).
    – He said he is not the favorite for this USO (Djoko and Nadal are, according to him) : would it be self-persuasion to remove pressure from his shoulders ?
    – Observers/former players (Laver, Wilander…) say he is not favorite either. Ok. Less pressure.
    – As for the supposed “strong” players in his quarter (Kyrgios, Djokovic …) : none has the guarantee to  walk on a path of roses until the last rounds either.
    – His family (large version) and friends will be with him in NY, I guess
    – He will wear an all-red outfit in NY… Fire ! Fire ! Fire !

    NY-Bel21ve : I do… 

  11. Tough, for sure. But remember the easy draw often betrays us. When he has a tough one he comes off good. When Ljub is around, the air seems lighter and brighter. Lubricating things smoother 😆 Too much negativity around, let’s send him positive vibe!

  12. Even as the head cautions not to have any expectations, the sneaky heart still hopes….
    Feeling upset that Rafa has a much easier draw. Second time in a row at the USO!
    Feeling very irritated with the next gen. WHEN will these guys step up and win slams?????

    1. Careful what you wish for – if a next-genner makes the final & faces Fed, do you really want them to win? 😉

  13. I think a hard draw is good news. How many times have we seen an easy draw go up in flames with a defeat to a random person? Tough draw = low expectations = less pressure.

  14. I have to be honest now after the recent performance and say that Fed bends over when he faces Djokovic. If you remove the victories when Djok was young and still learning his trade, the head to head would be more like an avalanche. It seems to be physiological now with Fed. Sometimes he is playing his absolute best tennis, meets Djokovic and then performs like Tomic with a tantrum.

    The performances over the years hurt too much now, the 2 US Open semis when fed had match points in both, I don’t think he ever got over those defeats. Losing the consecutive Wimbledon finals and US same year, all carbon copies of each other when Fed was in brilliant form. Fed beating Murray in the semi 2014 I think it was, was probably the single best performance ever. I know you only play as well as the guys in front of you but mistakes seem to quadruple, and first serves seem to dry up whenever he faces Djok. And what about when he pulled out of the ATP final rather than face him? I know he had the Davis Cup final to follow in a few days afterwards, but we all know he had no confidence he could win that match, and didn’t want to risk injury trying to, rather than he was actually carrying any injury.

    Other than the semi at Wimbledon in 2012, and maybe Cincinnati I can’t think of many meaningful victories Fed can boast over Djokovic whilst playing together in their prime, but can certainly recall many hurtful defeats.

    1. He beat Djoker three times in 2015 in Djoker’s peak year, although he also lost five times. Still think that was a massive achievement for an old man. Nadal didn’t beat Djoker once in the year did he?

      1. My point being that these victories are forgettable unless you are a statistician. 7 years ago in a French Open he then didn’t go on to win, and 3 times none in slams, versus 5 defeats in return?

        It doesn’t compete with the 2 US open semis, 2 Wimbledon finals, US Open final, Aussie Semi, WTF finals finals… these all really hurt and Fed only ever seems to pay Djokovic back mildly in smaller events, no big slam wins facing each other at their prime, where Fed goes on to take glory himself, other than the 2012 Wimbledon semi.

      2. What you said is all true but don’t forget he barely had a win over Nadal in slams before 2017 AO either

    2. “And what about when he pulled out of the ATP final rather than face him? I know he had the Davis Cup final to follow in a few days afterwards, but we all know he had no confidence he could win that match, and didn’t want to risk injury trying to, rather than he was actually carrying any injury.”

      That is absolute rubbish. He WAS injured – said so at the time (if I hadn’t just changed computers, I’d quote you chapter and verse), and admitted in Australia the next year that he’d been unable to run. What did you expect him to do, just stand there, let Novak hit groundstrokes past him, and hope he could servebot his way through?! I’m sick of all these people who claim he wasn’t injured/was afraid of Novak/was saving himself for the Davis Cup.

      1. 6 days later he won the Davis Cup, and he must have been injured coz he said so right? (I am a Fed fan by the way)

      2. Did you pay *any* attention to those 7 days? People spotted that his back went a couple of points before the end of the match with Wawrinka. Question is more why you don’t seem to believe him.

  15. These random draws! One thing you can be sure of Fed will get Djokovic in his half.?At least he hasn’t got Delpo as well,
    that would have been too much.Still,early days,draws can fall apart,who knows.As people have commented when Fed gets
    easier draws that can often not be a good thing.But on paper this doesn’t look good.A shame.

    1. Well to be fair, Nadal had Djoko and Delpo in his draw this Wimbledon, and then was seeded to face Fed in the final aswell.

  16. If uncle Toni hasn’t been working in the background, I’ll have to learn to settle with the prospect the tennis God really wants Nadal to,pass Fed. No doubt about that looking at the draws. It’s all good, when that day finally comes I’ll cut off all media, forums, only come to this blog and I’ll engrave Fed as the eternal goat in my heart. That’s all that matters.

    This is how depressed I’ve been all day seeing the draw.

  17. The draw is tough but I like his chances coz he is not the favorite and he is not having any pressure. The only thing is the fitness. He was nowhere close in Cincinnati finals.He did not even want to slice the 2nd serve returns coz he wanted to attack all the time to close the points coz he wasn’t fit. I believe slams will only boost his chances coz of the day off in between.

  18. Yes the day off is very important.However should he somehow get past Joker it will surely be a four or five setter which
    will knacker his chances nicely for the semis.It really is a very tough draw indeed.

  19. “It’s the last opportunity for everybody to win a slam [this year] – thankfully I already have one so I feel at least like I can go into the US Open with less pressure, in my opinion, because I think it’s a good thing to look at this US Open as not having to win it, wanting to win it too badly because I’ve not won it for 10 years so I have some work to [do] myself.”

    “I”ve come very close in recent years. Not the last two because I just haven’t been healthy but this year I feel really good about my chances,” he said.

    “It is … maybe one of the toughest to win out there and everybody plays well on the hard courts, that makes it even more difficult and everybody’s back. 

    “So I’m very excited. I’m happy to be back and I think the chances are there for guys to make breakthroughs, but at the same time I do believe it’s going to be decided in a select group of guys and those are probably the top 20 guys, right now, in the game.”

    RF   🙂

  20. The old, sad days are back!
    I have no hope at all. I have never felt this.
    It will be to painful to watch a possible quarter.
    I don’t think we’ll get there anyway…
    Tell me I exagerrate but when I saw Federer breaking in tears after AO2018 final I think he understood deep down something.
    I can’t handle any other defeat against djokovic/nadal.

    1. I sae the same as you. At the time I didn’t get why the tears but now it’s clear he was thinking this is probably my last slam

    2. Ah, he always cries, I read it as he was so very surprised and happy that he succeeded once more! And it’s always like that! More or a little less!

  21. Federer’s game stagnates when he’s not being challenged by the toughest opposition. One reason he should play at least some clay, just so he can stay sharp.

    This year he’s largely lacked matches against the best players, but that was one thing he got in Cincinnati: Wawrinka, Goffin, and Djokovic. Given that he was slumping at Wimbledon, it was probably too much to hope he’d be able to win in his first tournament back on hard court. But hopefully those matches should help him get his game straightened out for NY.

    Re: Kyrgios. I don’t think their match will necessarily be very tight. Yes, both their matches have gone all the way and have been all tiebreakers but that was in best-of-three.

    By way of comparison, Federer’s first few matches with Raonic were all close three-setters in best-of-three. When they finally played in a Slam, at AO ’13, people thought it might be four or five sets. But Federer rolled in straights. I expect something similar might happen if he meets Kyrgios here.

    Cilic’s game doesn’t have much margin for error; if he’s not at his absolute best he’s vulnerable to shock losses against unheralded players. He played OK during the US Open Series but had the misfortune of running into Nadal and then Djokovic. I just don’t see him making a deep run.

    Nadal has never defended a non-clay title in his entire career. Although I suppose he might manage this time (just as Djokovic finally broke his Cincinnati jinx). But if Federer makes it to the final, he’s playing well enough to beat a red-hot Djokovic so I’d say he can beat Nadal too. Once he’s confident enough to pull off that flat, laserlike backhand he can defeat anyone.

    I remain hopeful that Federer will come back and win this. Even with the poor year he’s had, even though he hasn’t won in a decade. He’s in good shape physically and well-rested, he’s gotten in some HC matches against the best players, he has a little more time to get his game in order.

    C’mon Roger! Lucky number 6!

  22. Be21ieve!
    If Fed somehow finds his legs, then he is beating Djoko. Question is, will he find his legs. RF is getting older by the hour. I feel he spent a lot of effort to reach Cinci finals and could have been just testing the waters. The extra day in the GS helps but if he keeps playing these 5 setter’s then he is “toast”.
    Cant see past R1 for now. But I hope RF can seal one more USO title since he is tied with Pete.

  23. @Steve,
    Love your positive comments!
    Yes,the legs.Many people have called commented that Feds movement was not good at Ciinci,including Djokovic,and he should know.Could he perhaps be slightly injured?I keep thinking back to that fall on that damned
    court number One at Wimbledon.Well I suppose we shall find out soon.Amazing how Nadals knees are bearing up?

    Note : If Fed is mentally fresh, I can see him go far. I hope the courts are quick. If they are not, I can see long matches vs maybe Kyrgios and Novak. I don’t like the fact that the USO has made the draw on closed doors. Invites more suspicions about match fixing. Talking about his game, I think his serve is good enough to make him survive. Forehand needs fixing but let’s say that he was still rusty in Cincy. What has worried me post Miami 2017 was that his rejuvenated backhand is now gone. Back to the usual slicing and pretty average backhand.

  25. Backproblems is the rumors in Flushing meadow!

    And if you look at the way his hitting the ball and misshit it and put it in the net it may well be a explanasion why his form has dropped so much after wimbledon. Look at his practice and you see that he takes on his back a couple of times and at his right tigh. Its a place you usually much stretch whenhaving bachissues.

    But this is not of course confirmed but last year he had BIG problem with the back but he still put ona brave face and said everything was fine so. . .

  26. I really don’t know where to start, but maybe a Fedfan saying that Federer ‘bent over’ for Djo. How
    many times have we seen Roger play and struggle and win or lose was never persecuted for not trying.
    If you look at his match against Stan the second of the day he played better than Novak had to against
    him in the finals..even Rod Laver said the climate beat Federer. As for the U.S. Open we all hope he does
    well and if he plays like we know he can he will please many fans. If he enjoys his tennis then lots can happen

    1. Couldn’t agree more.For a start I Hate that expression,vulgar in the extreme,and as you say Fed always tries even if he is injured.I am worried that is the case now.If so I wish he would withdraw a la Murray,but
      he has too much of a sense of responsibility to the game to do so.

  27. After thinking about it a little bit more, having Novak in his quarter isn’t such a bad thing.
    In Cincy Roger played his Z game and wasn’t beaten badly. 6-4 6-4, no bagels or anything like it.
    Novak wasn’t playing a brilliant tennis match. He was just solid, nothing special.
    Also Rafa winning Toronto wasn’t special. He had a relatively easy draw and didn’t play great tennis.
    Bottom line is, the level isn’t too high, and if Roger is healthy, which I guess he is, and manages to play his AO18 level, he has a pretty good chance going all the way.
    He’s got a solid first two rounds so we’ll see.
    Plus NK can lose his first round in the same probabilty of him winning the whole thing…

  28. I still think there is a question mark against his form.Federer fans reporting that his practice sessions are dire.I suppose that we will find out in his first match.If he struggles there it really is game over.

      1. Useless at links?I think I read it on warehouse,pro match results,latest page of comments on the American Open 2018 general discussion thread.Careful reading there,some
        rabid Vamos Brigade,but worryingly it was Fed supporters who were commenting.

  29. Just re-read the thread and can’t see those posts!Perhaps they have been removed by the moderators but there were 4-5 posts there earlier.

    1. Hi, I’ve been reading all the content within the curtent framework Jonathan provides for all the die-heart RF Fans like me and this is my first posting here.
      What do you think is the reason they removed it ?

      1. Well I have no idea,but I know I read them earlier today.
        Welcome to the blog(haven’t been here Too long myself)just wondering about your choice of er ‘title’.

  30. Lets think ourself instead of believing or not believing the roumors.

    WHY would he play this bad otherwise???? He cant just lose his forhand over a night and miss all returns, of course it must be an explanation and the most logical one is an injure of course. Just watch his practice and make up for yourself, I for one think he lucks horrible sadly 🙁

  31. The American open has not been good for Roger many years now.
    Warwinka(great win by the way) said the courts are playing fast.Good news if so for Fed,not so good for Djokovic.

  32. As if Nadals draw couldn’t get easier,Ferrer retires and Anderson(fist pump)only gets though after tremendous tussle.

  33. Meanwhile on the far side of the galaxy… umm, the draw, Ferrer throwes Rafa a red carpet for the 2nd round. That’s friendship! 😉 (Well, I know it’s a bit mean but had to get it out of the system)
    Sock finally gets a W, his first since May after 8 straight losses I think. btw the last guy he beat was Ferrer. Maybe he was saving his Ws to this event. Maybe he’ll oust Rafa on the 4th round and shock the world. Or maybe I’m just desperate…

    Edmund knocked out by Lorenzi, so even less opposition remains in Nadal’s section of the draw.
    Overall a lot of young vs old this time with mixed results. Muller, Mayer lose to young foes and retire.
    Seen some of the M.Zverev-Fritz clash. In the first two sets Fritz played horrible tennis. Barely found his first serve, UEs leacking out of him, double faults on break points and Zverev was all over him with a sharp S&V game and deep returns.
    I woke up in the morning and was surprised to see that he somehow managed to turn the tide and walk away with the W.
    Also I had the “pleasure” of seeing some of Murray’s first GS match since Wimby 2017. Wasn’t fun to watch as it was a low level encounter between to PR guys not in form (Duckworth was on the other side of the net). I’ll be stunned if Murray makes it to the second week or even past Verdasco… I think he has Delpo lurking as a potential third round so I don’t see how he gets past him.

    1. So it’s Ferrers body that finally betrays him, but Señor Bad Knees simply soldiers on, like he always has – despite years of so-called injury concerns. He’s going sleeveless again. The intimidation factor is considerable – his arms must be as big as Roger’s legs. Nadal looks bigger and stronger than a year ago – even ten years ago. I fear our man will be outgunned, should they meet. Needs a Spanish diet.

      1. I suppose Ferrer was always a poor mans Nadal ,he did everything Nadal did just not quite as well.Same for Murray and Djokovic or am I being horribly judgemental?Still Ferrrer was/is a
        great player,no one could try harder.Iam glad that he won a masters one thousand,he certainly
        deserved it.Saw him play once at the O2,unfortunately he was playing Fed who blew him off the
        court in about 45 minutes.

      2. ARMSTRONG7 Ah no. If Roger and Rafa both meet in the final, our hero will be strong enough. Last 5 or 6 times they met Roger won.

  34. As usual(I think I am probably obsessed)I see Delpossum as very dangerous.But as he is on Nadals side of the draw
    ‘Frankly my dear I couldn’t give a damm’.I agree that Murray will probably not go far.Of course Warwinka is in this half too…..

  35. Joker loses second set to the unfortunately named Fuksovic.Saw him play in Basle,seemed a bit of a tricky customer.
    Very hot and humid in New York,not Jokers favourite weather.

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