US Open 2021 Draws: Novak Djokovic’s road to US Open finals revealed- check out

US Open 2021 Draws: World No.1 Novak Djokovic's road to US Open finals/ 21st Grand slam or calendar grand slam revealed- check out
US Open 2021 Draws: World No.1 Novak Djokovic's road to US Open finals/ 21st Grand slam or calendar grand slam revealed- check out

US Open 2021 Draws: Novak Djokovic’s road to US Open finals revealed: In a few days’ time, Novak Djokovic will embark on a run at history: the first completion of the Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988 and the first by a men’s player since Rod Laver in 1969 — a mind-bending 52 years ago.

Of course, there is a reason it has been that long since the Slam was achieved. In short, this is a titanic ask. In fact, not only is 1969 the last men’s Slam, it doubles as the last time any men’s player swept the first three Grand Slam events of a season, creating a pressure-filled environment that even a steely competitor such as Djokovic has never encountered.

To put what Djokovic is trying to accomplish in perspective, the last player to advance to this stage was Serena Williams, who claimed the titles in Melbourne, Paris and Wimbledon in 2015 before falling to Roberta Vinci in a semifinal stunner at the US Open. And she is the only active player since Graf to make it to New York with the Slam on the line. The only other player to do so in the Open era is Margaret Court, who completed her Slam at the US Open in 1970.

The men’s singles draw unveiled on Thursday reveals what Djokovic is up against as he eyes a fourth US Open title, a record 21st Grand Slam singles title and a place in the annals of sports history. Let’s take a closer look at his potential journey.

US Open 2021 Draws: Full list of men’s and women’s singles draws ft. Novak Djokovic, Ash Barty

US Open 2021 Draws: Novak Djokovic’s road to US Open finals revealed:

Round 1

The world No. 1 opens with a qualifier, which can be a mixed bag. Any man who qualifies will have won three matches coming in, which is good for confidence. Playing Djokovic is not. The Serb has not lost in the first round of a major since the 2006 Australian Open — not a typo — and has never lost a US Open match to a player ranked outside the Top 50.

Round 2

Top-ranked player: World No. 52 Jan-Lennard Struff / Dangerous floater: Struff

This is where things could get interesting. Should he advance, Djokovic would face the winner of Struff vs. world No. 110 Tallon Griekspoor. While Djokovic would be an overwhelming favorite against either, Struff looms as a possible threat. The 31-year-old German is just 2-7 since the French Open – including a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Djokovic at the Olympics — but his run to the Round of 16 at Roland Garros was impressive and included victories over US Open No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev and rising star Carlos Alcaraz. Struff also owns a 2021 victory over No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, on grass at Halle. One relevant stat here: Djokovic has never lost prior to the third round at the US Open.

Round 3

Top-seeded player: No. 27 David Goffin / Dangerous floater: 2014 US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori

A few potentially exciting matchups could await Djokovic in the Round of 32. The player he is seeded to face is No. 27 Goffin, a heady competitor who could prove tricky should Djokovic have an off day. Still, Djokovic owns a 7-1 record head-to-head versus Goffin, including 5-0 on hard courts, with the Belgian’s lone win coming on clay in Monte Carlo in 2017. Also looming as a potential third-round opponent is Nishikori, who upended Djokovic en route to his lone Grand Slam singles final, at the 2014 US Open. But overall the Japanese star is a lopsided 2-17 against Djokovic, with the Serb winning their last 15, including a 6-2, 6-0 drubbing at the Olympic Games this summer. Other potential opponents are American Mackenzie Mcdonald, who is in good form coming off a run to the final at the US Open Series event in Washington, D.C., and Italian Salvatore Caruso, ranked No. 113 in the world.

Round of 16

Top-seeded player: No. 14 Alex de Minaur / Dangerous floater: No. 21 Aslan Karatsev

Similar to Goffin, the steady de Minaur is always a tough out. And while he lacks a booming serve or overwhelming ground strokes, the Australian’s speed and court sense could prove troublesome should the weather heat up or Djokovic struggle to find his game. Karatsev, one of 2021’s breakthrough players, did beat Djokovic earlier this year in Belgrade and has the kind of go-for-broke game that could bother him. The two also faced off in the semifinals of this year’s Australian Open, a match Djokovic won comfortably. Other potential fourth-round opponents include Americans Taylor Fritz, a semifinalist at the Series event in Atlanta, and Jenson Brooksby, the 20-year-old wild card who this summer reached the semis in Washington and the final in Newport. Of note: Djokovic has lost in the fourth round in his last two US Opens.

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US Open 2021 Draws: Novak Djokovic’s road to US Open finals revealed:

Quarterfinals

Top-seeded player: No. 6 Matteo Berrettini / Dangerous floater: No. 28 Fabio Fognini

A potential third act with Berrettini awaits Djokovic in the quarterfinals. The two faced off at the French Open (quarterfinals) and Wimbledon (final), with Djokovic winning both encounters in four sets. Despite those results, the Italian is certainly capable of defeating Djokovic and has the physical game and quick-strike style (big serve, big forehand) that could prove the recipe for an upset. Other players to keep an eye out for in this section are No. 10 seed Hubert Hurkacz, the 2021 Miami champion and Wimbledon semifinalist (defeating Medvedev and Roger Federer en route) and the streaky Fognini, who has the game to be a force on any given day (though he is 0-8 in his career against Djokovic). Among the unseeded players here are Marton Fucsovics, who fell to Djokovic in this year’s Wimbledon quarterfinals, and rising French star Corentin Moutet. History, however, has proven that this is not the round to draw Djokovic; he is 11-0 in his previous US Open quarterfinal matches.

Semifinals

Top-seeded player: No. 4 Alexander Zverev / Other possible opponents: No. 7 Denis Shapovalov, No. 9 Pablo Carreno Busta, No. 13 Jannik Sinner / Dangerous floaters: No. 22 Reilly Opelka, No. 25 Karen Khachanov, Sebastian Korda

A semifinal matchup between Djokovic and Zverev would arguably be the most anticipated tilt of the tournament. Zverev enters the US Open 11-0 on hard courts this summer, having beaten Djokovic en route to the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rublev to win the Series event in Cincinnati. But to get to the semis, the world No. 4 will have to navigate a loaded quarter that includes Shapovalov, who gave Djokovic perhaps his sternest test at Wimbledon; Carreno Busta, who has beaten Djokovic twice in the past year; Opelka, who defeated Tsitsipas on his way to the Series final in Toronto; Khachanov, the silver medalist in Tokyo; and rising stars Sinner and Korda. All stand as possible tests for Djokovic, but unquestionably, none more-so than Zverev.

US Open 2021 Draws: Novak Djokovic’s road to US Open finals revealed:

Final

Top-seeded player: No. 2 Daniil Medvedev / Other possible opponents: No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 5 Andrey Rublev, No. 8 Casper Ruud, No. 12 Felix Auger-Aliassime / Dangerous floater: No. 19 John Isner

The most likely scenario for Djokovic in the final is either a rematch of the 2021 Australian Open final against Medvedev or a rematch of the 2021 French Open final against Tsitsipas. Medvedev enters as the more in-form player, having won the title in Toronto and reached the semifinals in Cincinnati during this summer’s US Open Series, but Tsitipas performed admirably as well, losing heart-stopping three-setters in the semifinals of the same two events. If the two favorites stumble, Rublev reasons to be the next man up, having edged Medvedev to reach the Cincinnati final. If you’re looking for a sleeper, the best candidate is most likely Auger-Aliassime, the 2016 US Open boys’ singles champion who has been edging closer and closer to a Grand Slam breakthrough. And don’t sleep on Ruud, who is quietly enjoying a breakout season, or Isner, who has had an excellent summer (title in Atlanta, semifinals in Toronto) to once again put his name in the conversation of fringe contenders.

US Open 2021 Prize money: Check prize money breakdown for singles and doubles tournaments inside

Conclusion

It is, by and large, a favorable draw for Djokovic. His path to the quarterfinals appears relatively smooth, and while a pair of difficult matches likely await in the semifinals and final, that would likely be true under any circumstance. Still, the US Open, perhaps more than any other Grand Slam event, has proven unpredictable in recent years, producing more first-time men’s major champions since 2010 than the other three Slams combined. Winning the Grand Slam is the toughest task in tennis. To do so, Djokovic will have to survive the toughest two weeks in tennis – played under the bright lights of New York City and with the eyes of the sporting world watching.

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