After a marathon match between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz in the finals of the Western & Southern Open in Ohio on Sunday, Djokovic said he hopes to face Alcaraz again “in front of a crowd” at the US Open.
The audience could see this rematch.
The men’s and women’s singles draws for the US Open, which begin Monday in New York, paved the way for Djokovic and Alcaraz to meet again in the final, which will also be a repeat of last month’s Wimbledon final would, an exciting five-set victory that Alcaraz won after almost five hours on the court.
“Every game we play against each other goes the distance,” Djokovic said after Sunday’s final, adding that the game felt like a Grand Slam.
Djokovic is returning to New York after missing the US Open last year because he was not vaccinated against the coronavirus and travel restrictions did not allow him to enter the United States. Now that the injured Rafael Nadal and the eliminated Roger Federer are no longer standing in his way, Djokovic will be aiming for his 24th Grand Slam title and his third of the season after winning in Australia and France earlier in the year.
Djokovic, who faces Frenchman Alexandre Muller in the first round of the tournament, will not have an easy road to the final. He could possibly meet 7th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the quarterfinals and in the semifinals Djokovic could face Holger Rune of Denmark or Casper Ruud, the Norwegian who reached the US Open final last year.
Alcaraz, who will face Germany’s Dominik Koepfer in the first round, could also face strong opponents in defending his US Open title. Alcaraz could play Jannik Sinner of Italy in the quarterfinals, followed by one of two Russians, either Andrey Rublev or Daniil Medvedev, the 2021 US Open winner.
The women’s draw could also lead to several rivalries and rematches. World No. 1 player Iga Swiatek could end up in the final against Aryna Sabalenka, this year’s Australian Open champion.
In defending her US Open title, Swiatek could face Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals. Prior to this month, Swiatek had won seven games against Gauff, but the 19-year-old American finally found a way to defeat Swiatek in the semi-finals of the Western & Southern Open this month. Gauff won the tournament, securing her first WTA 1000 title.
On the other side of the draw, Sabalenka could have a quarter-final match against Ons Jabeur, the No. 5-seeded Tunisian who reached the US Open final last year and lost in the Wimbledon final in July. In the semifinals, Sabalenka could face either Caroline Garcia of France or Jessica Pegula, the No. 3 seed from America.
Although both draws offer promising encounters, this year’s tournament will be without some big names: Nadal has been sidelined since the Australian Open through injury and hopes to return next year. Naomi Osaka, a two-time US Open champion, will miss the tournament after giving birth to her daughter this summer, and Emma Raducanu, the 2021 US Open champion, is out as she is recovering from three minor surgeries recovered.
Simona Halep, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion, has been withdrawn from the tournament on a provisional ban she received last year after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug during the 2022 US Open.
This year’s US Open will also lack trick shots from Nick Kyrgios, who retired from the tournament with a wrist injury.
But despite the notable absences, the tournament opens with some strong first-round matches: Tsitsipas, who lost to Djokovic in this year’s Australian Open final, will face Milos Raonic, a 2016 Wimbledon finalist. Venus Williams, the 43-year-old seven-time Grand -Slam winner will face Paula Badosa, who won in Indian Wells in 2021. And Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, will play in the first round against Beatriz Haddad Maia, a Brazilian player who has had a decent season, reaching the semifinals of the French Open and the knockout rounds at Wimbledon this year.
Source : www.nytimes.com