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
Thoughts on the Draw
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.