Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer The US Open 2018 Favorites
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The final slam of the season is here as most players are healthy and ready to go one more time at the highest level of tennis. Here is your look at the men’s draw and the chances for each competitor in Flushing Meadows at the 2018 US Open.
The defending and three time US Open champion Rafael Nadal will begin against his countryman David Ferrer, who is taking part in his final US Open. Ferrer has been in a slump at the end of his career, meaning Nadal will be a strong favorite. Nadal should also ease past Vasek Pospisil or Lukas Lacko with the talented Karen Khachanov awaiting round 3. Khachanov has an easy path of Albert Ramos, a retiring Gilles Muller/Lorenzo Sonego before the third round. Presuming he stays fit Nadal should reach week 2.Embed from Getty Images
The section below Rafa is relatively weak. Jack Sock is seeded but he’s been worse than challenger level players this year, I have Sock falling to Guido Andreozzi in round 1, Nikoloz Basilashvili should beat Aljaz Bedene and Andreozzi with Kyle Edmund getting past Paolo Lorenzi and Casper Ruud/Guido Pella to reach round 3. Edmund over Basilashvili is my pick for the section.
On hard courts Dominic Thiem could be vulnerable in round 2 against Steve Johnson. Thiem will be favored against Mirza Basic in round 1 but I have Johnson defeating Denis Istomin and then upsetting Thiem after reaching the Winston-Salem final. Roberto Bautista Agut should get past Jason Kubler and Mischa Zverev/Taylor Fritz before defeating Johnson in round 3.
Kevin Anderson plays well in slams and at the US Open, Anderson should get past a challenging early round path with Ryan Harrison and Andrey Rublev/Jeremy Chardy on deck, Denis Shapovalov takes on rising countryman Felix Auger Aliassime in round 1, the winner gets Sam Querrey/Andreas Seppi. I have Anderson over Shapovalov in round 3 after Anderson beats Rublev and Shapovalov defeats Querrey.Embed from Getty Images
Del Potro’s Quarter
Juan Martin Del Potro will begin against American Donald Young with Denis Kudla or Matteo Berrettini waiting on deck. The former US Open champion Del Potro should defeat Young and Kudla followed by Andy Murray, who continues to make strides towards recovery post hip surgery. Murray should have enough game to defeat James Duckworth and Feliciano Lopez/Fernando Verdasco, but Del Potro is the favorite to win the section.Embed from Getty Images
Stefanos Tsitsipas is looking to have his breakout slam at the US Open, the young Greek opens against ageless veteran Tommy Robredo, followed by Winston-Salem champ Daniil Medvedev (or Evgeny Donskoy). Medvedev is tough but a fresher Tsitsipas should win and then defeat Borna Coric in round 3 to reach the second week (Coric should ease past Florian Mayer and Roberto Carballes Baena/Mitchell Krueger).
American #1 John Isner isn’t in great form but he should defeat Bradley Klahn, Nicolas Jarry/Peter Gojowczyk and Cam Norrie to reach the second week. Norrie has risen this year and will be the favorite against Jordan Thompson and Damir Dzumhur/Dusan Lajovic, I also wouldn’t put it past him to stun Isner.
Milos Raonic will start against Carlos Berlocq with Lloyd Harris/Gilles Simon waiting on deck. Raonic should get past Harris, who I have upsetting Simon based on great recent form. I’ll also back Stan Wawrinka to upset Grigor Dimitrov, then defeat Ugo Humbert or Collin Altamirano, two players in good form to reach the third round. Raonic over Wawrinka is my pick at that stage.Embed from Getty Images
Alexander Zverev is playing well enough that he’s the 4th favorite for the US Open title. Zverev opens with Peter Polansky, who has made all 4 slam main draws this year as a lucky loser. He’ll be heavily favored to advance from a weak section that features Jiri Vesely/Corentin Moutet in round 2, an either Matthew Ebden or Yannick Hanfmann in round 3. Hanfmann faces a struggling Philipp Kohlschreiber, while Ebden takes on a struggling Filip Krajinovic.Embed from Getty Images
Kei Nishikori opens with Max Marterer, Facundo Bagnis/Gael Monfils will follow, with Diego Schwartzman likely in round 3. Schwartzman takes on Federico Delbonis with the winner of Jaume Munar/Guillermo Garcia-Lopez awaiting in round 2. I have Schwartzman over Munar and Nishikori over Monfils with Nishikori winning the section.
David Goffin will be favored to reach week 2 after a good run in Cincy. Goffin takes on Federico Gaio with Robin Haase/Mackenzie McDonald next. Haase has been in good form as well though and with Goffin being inconsistent this year I’ll back an upset with Haase into round 3 opposite J.L. Struff. Struff takes on Tim Smyczek with Marco Cecchinato/Julien Benneteau up in round 2. Haase is one of my dark horses for the tournament.
Frances Tiafoe has a real opportunity here with Adrian Mannarino up in round 1 and Taro Daniel/Alex De Minaur to follow. The young American can win those two matches before running into a tough contest against Marin Cilic. Cilic is heavily favored against Marius Copil and Stefano Travaglia/Hubert Hurkacz. I have Cilic winning the section.Embed from Getty Images
Roger Federer will begin against Yoshihito Nishioka, Federer should ease past Nishioka and Benoit Paire/Dennis Novak without dropping a set before facing a tougher test against Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios has been out of form and focus but he’ll still be favored against Radu Albot and Yuki Bhambri/Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Federer over Kyrgios is the safe pick.Embed from Getty Images
Hyeon Chung opens with Ricardas Berankis, he’ll be tested by Noah Rubin in round 2 presuming Rubin defeats Mikhail Kukushkin. I’ll back Rubin to upset a still shaky Chung before falling to Fabio Fognini in round 3. The in-form Fognini opens with Michael Mmoh, young gun Jenson Brooksby or John Millman will be up in round 2.
Pablo Carreno Busta opens with Malek Jaziri, he’ll be a heavy favorite in his first two matches against a struggling Jaziri and Joao Sousa/Marcel Granollers, Sousa is in terrible form. In round 3 I expect Lucas Pouille to be waiting, Pouille opens with Yannick Maden, then gets the winner of Marcos Baghdatis/Mikhail Youhzny. It’s Youzhny’s final US Open but he’s likely to go out round 1. Carreno Busta over Pouille is my pick for the section.
Novak Djokovic doesn’t have his own section but he’s the tournament favorite. The Serbian superstar and Cincy champion opens with Marton Fucsovics while Richard Gasquet should beat Yuichi Sugita and Laslo Djere/Leonardo Mayer to reach round 3. Djokovic has to beat Tennys Sandgren/Viktor Troicki to do the same. Gasquet is in poor form and should be wary of Mayer but either way Djokovic will advance into week 2.Embed from Getty Images
Round of 16
Nadal d. Edmund
Anderson d. Bautista Agut
Del Potro d. Tsitsipas
Raonic d. Isner
Cilic d. Haase
Zverev d. Nishikori
Djokovic d. Carreno Busta
Federer d. Fognini
Upsets shouldn’t be too rampant in the round of 16, Del Potro and Raonic could get knocked off and Zverev isn’t always at his best in slams, but generally speaking things look straightforward, especially if Federer puts away Fognini.
Nadal d. Anderson
Del Potro d. Raonic
Cilic d. Zverev
Djokovic d. Federer
I’ll back veterans Del Potro and Cilic to have good weeks with Djokovic the favorite against Federer and Nadal the favorite to reach the semis.
Nadal d. Del Potro
Djokovic d. Cilic
Djokovic should be the favorite this year while Nadal deserves credit as the winner last year. These are the top two in the game right now and Djokovic should win the final.
Djokovic d. Nadal