Plotting the path to glory after US Open draw

 - Alex Sharp

Over in New York the draw has been made for the 2020 US Open and we take a look at the match-ups worth a watch at Flushing Meadows.

Thiem & Djokovic before the Australian Open 2020 final©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Finally Grand Slam tennis is back on the agenda in 2020, with anticipation intensifying following the men’s and women’s singles draw on Thursday.

Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Karolina Pliskova lead the way ahead of play commencing on Monday in New York. Here are the headlines from the opening encounters.

Djokovic learns his opening duel

Damir Dzumhur has been presented the daunting task of tackling World No.1 Djokovic, having lost both previous encounters.

Still unbeaten in 2020 (21-0 into the Cincinnati semi-finals), the Serbian is already looking at his fiercely focused and ruthless self. The 17-time Grand Slam champion dismantled Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-1 on Wednesday, who is a possible third round opponent.

Sixth seed David Goffin is projected to be Djokovic last eight battle at the US Open, with Stefanos Tsitsipas (R1 against Albert Ramos-Vinolas) potentially waiting in the semi-finals.

He’s spoken of closing the gap on Roger Federer’s 20 majors and this is a golden chance for the top seed.

Strong home contingent in New York

Pliskova, facing world No.145 Anhelina Kalinina at the first hurdle, could clinch a second round with France’s Caroline Garcia. Lexington champion Jennifer Brady, No.8 seed Petra Martic and 2016 US Open champion Angelique Kerber will also contest a tricky top quarter.

Scanning down into the second quarter and 2018 champion Naomi Osaka will take to court with compatriot Misaki Doi. An intriguing third round against American protegee Coco Gauff could replicate their 2019 match. They are joined by the likes of sixth seed Petra Kvitova and No.11 seed Elena Rybakina.

The bottom half is packed with Stateside stars, eager for home slam success. Maria Sakkari and Garbine Muguruza will vie in the third quarter with American seeds Serena Williams (No. 3), Madison Keys (No. 7), Amanda Anisimova (No. 22) and Sloane Stephens (No. 26).

2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin bolsters the home ranks in the star-studded fourth quarter. Venus Williams has the tough ask of prevailing past No.20 Karolina Muchova, whilst three-time champion Kim Clijsters enters as a wild card, with No. 21 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova her opening opponent.

Watch out for Aryna Sabalenka (No.5) and Victoria Azarenka booking a second round Belarusian blockbuster.

Women’s popcorn matches

Serena Williams (3) vs Kristie Ahn

Naomi Osaka (4) vs Misaki Doi

Yanina Wickmayer vs Sofia Kenin (2)

Marta Kostyuk vs Daria Kasatkina

Coco Gauff vs Anastasija Sevastova (31)

Johanna Konta vs Heather Watson

Karolina Muchova (20) vs Venus Williams

Kim Clijsters vs Ekaterina Alexandrova (21)

Iga Swiatek vs Veronika Kudermetova (29)

Vera Zvonareva vs Leylah Fernandez

Serena’s route to No.24


The run for Serena Williams to lift a seventh US Open trophy is looking pretty turbulent. The 38-year-old takes on fellow American Kristie Ahn for the first time, before a pencilled third round with Stephens.

Sakkari, who ended Serena’s title pursuit in ‘Cincinatti’ this week, is a possible fourth round, before a Keys, Kenin and Pliskova finish. Imagine Serena holding Grand Slam No.24 in such fashion!

Who can take the battle to Novak?

Lower down Djokovic’s half a compelling opening clash awaits, with 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson, back fully fit, taking on No.5 seed Alexander Zverev. The German is still awaiting his major breakthrough; however, the German enjoys a 5-0 record against Anderson.

Into the men’s bottom half, 2019 US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev (vs Federico Delbonis) is amongst fellow Russian Andrey Rublev (No.10) and last year’s semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini.

The draw is footed by second seed Dominic Thiem (vs Jaume Munar) and returning 2012 champion Andy Murray will provide plenty of entertainment in action with Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.

It’s a gauntlet in the bottom half with the in-form duo Roberto Bautista Agut and Milos Raonic impressing in ‘Cincinatti’, then Karen Khachanov (No.11) and former champion Marin Cilic in the mix. That’s without mentioning Next Gen stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex de Minaur.

Men’s popcorn matches

Novak Djokovic (1) vs Damir Dzumhur

Kyle Edmund vs Alexander Bublik

Kevin Anderson vs Alexander Zverev (5)

Grigor Dimitrov (14) vs Tommy Paul

Jannick Sinner vs Karen Khachanov (11)

Andy Murray vs Yoshihito Nishioka

Roberto Bautista Agut (8) vs Tennys Sandgren

Ivo Karlovic vs Richard Gasquet