Perhaps the biggest question of the 2018 US Open draw was a simple one: Where would sixth seed Novak Djokovic, fresh off achieving the Career Golden Masters, land? Now we know.
The Western & Southern Open champion is in Roger Federer’s quarter and could again face the five-time US Open champion, his opponent from the Cincinnati final, in the last eight.
Djokovic and Federer have not met before the semi-finals of any tournament since 2007 Dubai, with the exception being round-robin play at the Nitto ATP Finals. The pair have contested 42 FedEx ATP Head2Head matches since then, including 18 for championships. In the Western & Southern Open final, when Djokovic became the first player to win all nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, the Serbian took a 24-22 lead in their epic rivalry.
But first, the superstars will be focused on what’s directly in front of them: two first-time opponents. Federer will face Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round, and Djokovic will play Hungarian Marton Fucsovics. Federer could face No. 30 seed Nick Kyrgios in a third-round blockbuster.
Top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal will begin his title defence against a familiar foe in former World No. 3 David Ferrer. The World No. 1 leads his fellow Spaniard 24-6 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. But in their only previous meeting at the US Open, in 2007, Ferrer triumphed in four sets. Fifth seed and 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson and ninth seed Dominic Thiem are also in Nadal’s quarter.
A lot of eyes will be on the Spaniard’s opener, but there might be even more on a clash between reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov and 2016 US Open winner Stan Wawrinka. Not only have both players been inside the Top 5 of the ATP Rankings within the past year, but they also met in their Wimbledon opener, with Wawrinka — on the comeback from two left knee surgeries last year — pulling the upset. The winner will face a qualifier in the second round.
The Bulgarian and Swiss are in third seed Juan Martin del Potro’s quarter. The 2009 winner, who is at a career-best World No. 3, will begin his tournament against a qualifier, but could face former World No. 1 and 2012 titlist Andy Murray in the third round. The Scot will play Aussie James Duckworth in his opener.
Nadal, Federer Are US Open’s Top Seeds
The earliest third seed Alexander Zverev could face another seed will be in the third round against 32nd seed Filip Krajinovic. The 21-year-old Zverev will face a qualifier before playing against Czech Jiri Vesely or #NextGenATP Frenchman Corentin Moutet.
Zverev’s quarter-final opponent is projected to be 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who confronts Romanian Marius Copil before facing Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas or a qualifier. Cilic could face No. 29 seed Adrian Mannarino, or #NextGenATP players Frances Tiafoe or Alex de Minaur in the third round.
Of the #NextGenATP, the only two seeded players from that 21-and-under group — No. 15 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 28 seed Denis Shapovalov — both begin their campaigns against qualifiers.