Novak Djokovic faces qualifier to start out US Open in bid for calendar-year Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic will start his bid to win the US Open for a males’s-record twenty first main tennis championship and to finish a calendar-year Grand Slam by dealing with a participant who comes via qualifying.

Win that, and Djokovic’s potential path — as decided by Thursday’s draw — may embody 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori within the third spherical, No. 6 seed Matteo Berrettini within the quarterfinals in a rematch of final month’s Wimbledon remaining and No. 4 Alexander Zverev, the 2020 runner-up in New York, within the semifinals.

Naomi Osaka‘s first Grand Slam motion since she withdrew from the French Open following a first-round victory to take a psychological well being break will come in opposition to Marie Bouzkova, a 23-year-old from the Czech Republic who’s ranked 86th and has a 1-10 profession report on the majors, together with 0-3 at Flushing Meadows. Osaka gained their solely earlier encounter in straight units ultimately 12 months’s Australian Open.

Wanting previous that, Osaka may face 17-year-old American Coco Gauff — whom she beat in New York in 2019 and misplaced to at Melbourne Park in 2020 — or three-time main champion Angelique Kerber within the fourth spherical. Osaka, seeded No. 3, is the reigning champion on the US Open, one in every of her 4 main titles, which all have come on exhausting courts.

The doable girls’s quarterfinal pairings by seeding are No. 1 Ash Barty, the Wimbledon champion, in opposition to No. 7 Iga Swiatek, No. 4 Karolina Pliskova in opposition to No. 6 Bianca Andreescu, Osaka in opposition to No. 5 Elina Svitolina, and No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in opposition to No. 8 Barbora Krejcikova.

Fundamental draw play begins Monday with spectators allowed at full capability, a 12 months in spite of everything followers had been banned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The No. 1-seeded Djokovic is the primary man to move to Flushing Meadows after having gained a season’s first three main titles since Rod Laver went 4 for 4 on the Slams in 1969. That was Laver’s second true Grand Slam, after 1962; Don Budge in 1938 is the one different man to win all 4 majors in a single 12 months. Steffi Graf in 1988 was the final girl to do it.

The opposite potential males’s quarterfinal matchups are Zverev vs. No. 7 Denis Shapovalov, No. 2 Daniil Medvedev vs. No. 8 Casper Ruud, and No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. No. 5 Andrey Rublev.

Within the first spherical, Tsitsipas will meet Andy Murray, whose three Grand Slam titles embody the 2012 U.S. Open.

Djokovic, Murray and No. 30 Marin Cilic, who beat Nishikori at Arthur Ashe Stadium within the remaining seven years in the past, are the one gamers within the 128-player males’s bracket who have already got gained a Grand Slam trophy in singles.

Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Berrettini all had been finalists at majors this 12 months and misplaced to Djokovic.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — who at the moment share the boys’s mark of 20 Slam titles with Djokovic — are each injured and accomplished for the season. Final 12 months’s US Open champion, Dominic Thiem, additionally withdrew, citing a nasty wrist, and the 2016 winner, Stan Wawrinka, is out after foot surgical procedure.

Serena and Venus Williams, homeowners of a mixed 30 Grand Slam singles trophies that embody eight from the U.S. Open, pulled out of the sphere Wednesday due to leg accidents.

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