The eyes of the tennis world will be on New York for the next two weeks as the final Grand Slam of the year takes place when Flushing Meadows opens its doors for what promises to be an exciting US Open.
Carlos Alcaraz added a degree of excitement to the tournament a year ago when he won his maiden major and he defends a Grand Slam for the first time over this fortnight. A good field will be out to deny him keeping hold of the trophy.
2022 – Carlos Alcaraz
2021 – Daniil Medvedev
2020 – Dominic Thiem
2019 – Rafael Nadal
2018 – Novak Djokovic
2017 – Rafael Nadal
2016 – Stan Wawrinka
2015 – Novak Djokovic
2014 – Marin Cilic
2013 – Rafael Nadal
The usual Grand Slam rules apply for this tournament with every match the best of five sets throughout. The slams are now all as one with a final set being decided by a match tiebreak should it reach 6-6. There have been a few big name withdrawals but 128 men have made it into the draw and have already been placed into the bracket. The tournament is a straight knockout with the champion crowned on the second Sunday of the event.
Carlos Alcaraz isn’t just the defending champion this year but he is the number one in the world too and he is the top seed in the first quarter of the draw. If this section goes with the seeding then the Spaniard will meet Jannik Sinner in what would be a blockbuster quarter final. Six seeds are out to stop that from happening though. They include the British pair of Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie as well as Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev and Tallon Griekspoor.
This quarter could very well be referred to as the British quarter because it is where Andy Murray will attempt to win the title for a second time from. He isn’t the only veteran former winner who is unseeded in this section because Stan Wawrinka is also in this part of the draw. Other notables in it include Botic van de Zandschulp, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Yoshihito Nishioka and the Italian player Lorenzo Sonego, who was seeded in some of the Masters events earlier in the summer.
The 2021 champion Daniil Medvedev has had a surprisingly quiet US hard court swing by his standards but he knows how to win here and generally has a good record in New York. That might not be good news for Andrey Rublev who is seeded to meet his fellow Russian in the quarter final. The other six seeds looking to ensure that doesn’t happen in this quarter are Ugo Humbert, Hubert Hurkacz, Karen Khachanov, one of the form men of the summer in Alex de Minaur, Nicolas Jarry and Borna Coric.
Genuine household names in this quarter are a little fewer and far between but we do have Sebastian Baez here who won in Winston-Salem in the lead up to this tournament. The early stages of this quarter will have plenty of eyes on it because it contains John Isner for whom this will be the final tournament of his career. Jack Draper ensures there is British presence in this part of the draw while Matteo Berrettini could be a danger in the quick conditions. Gael Monfils went well in Toronto and will be looking for a good run here.
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Holger Rune made a name for himself in this tournament a couple of years ago and has fulfilled his promise ever since. He is the top seed in this third quarter and if this section is played out by the numbers then he would meet the 2022 finalist Casper Ruud in what would be a spicy quarter final. The six seeds in this quarter looking to stop that from happening are Alexander Bublik, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, Adrian Mannarino and Sebastian Korda.
In terms of the unseeded players in this quarter of the draw, the 2020 champion Dominic Thiem is very much the headline act but there are a couple of home players in Ben Shelton and Marcos Giron who will be looking to do some damage in their home Grand Slam. Jiri Lehecka was beaten in the final at Winston-Salem on Saturday and he takes his chance in this section too. Richard Gasquet and Marton Fucsovics have been around the block and will look to do some damage here.
Novak Djokovic has not appeared at this tournament since he was denied the calendar slam in the final in 2021 and hasn’t won this event since 2018 but having won in Cincinnati earlier in the month he is very much the seed to beat in the bottom quarter. Stefanos Tsitsipas is the player who has been assigned the task of potentially meeting the Serb in the quarter final. The other six seeds in this quarter are Laslo Djere, Francisco Cerundolo, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Taylor Fritz, Lorenzo Musetti and Christopher Eubanks.
There aren’t masses of big names in the unseeded ranks in the bottom quarter but Milos Raonic has been to a Grand Slam final before and might find the quicker conditions to his liking over the course of his stay in the tournament. Steve Johnson, Mackenzie McDonald and Brandon Nakashima will all look to take advantage of the home crowds for a big run in the event but this quarter would appear to be very much about Djokovic.
If I am honest I fully expect to see a Carlos Alcaraz vs Novak Djokovic final but I try to find some value in the Grand Slams and that leads me to two outright bets. The first of those is the winner in Toronto in Jannik Sinner. Sinner has been building up to Masters 1000 title level for a while now and should take a lot of confidence from winning in Canada. His big hurdle is likely to be Alcaraz in the quarter final but the Italian has shown in the past he can hold his own against the Spaniard, and Alcaraz could feel a bit of pressure defending a Slam for the first time in his career. Sinner is improving all the time and looks the value to the main two to me even allowing for him running into Alcaraz in the last eight.
Hubert Hurkacz was my bet in Cincinnati and he looked on course for at least a spot in the final when he led Carlos Alcaraz by a set in the semi-final and had match point but he surrendered that and ended up going down to the Spaniard in a deciding set for the second week in succession having suffered the same fate in Toronto as well. Hurkacz looks to be playing well though and while a potential last four clash with Alcaraz wouldn’t be ideal, you’d like to think the Polish player will have learned something from those two recent meetings which he can use to finally come out on top against him. He is a big enough price to warrant outright support once again.
There is only one bet I like among the quarters and that comes in that open looking third quarter where I’m keen to take on both Holger Rune and Casper Ruud. Rune has had four outings since Wimbledon and hasn’t won any of them so he is very easy to swerve this week even if he has elevated himself up to number four in the world. Ruud was the finalist here last year so he has good memories of the event but he is 6-8 for the year on hard courts and 1-2 in the US summer.
The man I think is value to take them on with is Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. He made the semi-final in Toronto where he absolutely blitzed Alexander Zverev and took care of Casper Ruud as well on his way to the last four and then he was holding his own against Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati before feeling something in his back late in the first set which forced him to pull out. If he is completely fit again he has been hitting the ball well out in the States which bodes well. He has twice made the last 16 here, losing in a five-set epic to Matteo Berrettini a year ago. We’ve seen Spanish players who you wouldn’t expect to go well here do just that in the likes of Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez and I’ll pay to see if ADF is the latest Spanish star to reach the last four from a wide open draw.
Back J.Sinner to win US Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 17.00 with Sky Bet (1/2 1-2)
Back H.Hurkacz to win US Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with Betfred (1/2 1-2)
Back A.Davidovich Fokina to win 3rd Quarter for a 1/10 stake at 15.00 with Coral
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