US Open Draw Preview: Can Anyone Stop A Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray Final?
by Sean Randall | August 26th, 2016, 4:21 pm

The final Grand Slam of the season is set to begin on Monday in New York, and earlier today we got the men’s draw for the US Open. There’s no Roger Federer, no Tomas Berdych but former champion Juan Martin Del Potro is back for another bite of the apple.

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are again the favorites and are in opposite sides of the draw. But the Serb definitely got the tougher half by a big mile. Let’s break it down.

Novak Djokovic Quarter
Right away Djokovic is tested by former Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz. The Pole has been off the radar since that run and even though he has a big game I don’t see him as much of a threat on a big stage like Arthur Ashe. Djokovic should then have clear sailing for the rest of the week until maybe running into John Isner in the fourth round and perhaps Cincinnati winner and former champion Marin Cilic in the quarters. That Cilic section, though, is loaded with JW Tsonga, 2015 quarterfinalist Kevin Anderson and Jack Sock who opens against teen Taylor Fritz. I think Cilic gets through Sock and Tsonga but not past Djokovic who by then should be in form.
The Pick: Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal Quarter
Rafael Nadal needed a good draw and he got one. Unless his wrist is a factor, I don’t see anyone who can beat him best-of-5 on a hard court before the quarterfinals. OK, maybe Andreas Seppi or Thomaz Bellucci or Roberto Bautista Agut but I think all three of those guys are longshots on a quick court. Awaiting Rafa in that Final 8 could be either Milos Raonic or Gael Monfils. I like Raonic out to the 16s, beating Benoit Paire along the way. The question is, how is Gael Monfils and his back? If he’s healthy I think he can beat Raonic again. If not, it’s Raonic. For now, I’ll lean to the latter. And with John McEnroe, I’m going to take Raonic to knock out Rafa who will have to work hard, too hard, I think, to beat Nadal.
The Pick: Milos Raonic

Stan Wawrinka Quarter
The open quarter is the one that again has Stan Wawrinka. There’s also former champ Del Potro, David Ferrer, Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios, Fabio Fognini, Bernard Tomic and youngster Alex Zverev. You could ask five different experts and get five different players get out of this quarter. I really want to pick a Kyrgios here, but he burned me in Toronto. And one 5-set match will finish Del Potro, and Steve Johnson or Ferrer could push him that far. So with Thiem still shaky this summer, I think I’ll take the default Wawrinka. But heck, he could lose his opener to Verdasco!
The Pick: Stan Wawrinka

Andy Murray Quarter
Murray has the ability to make a hard draw look easy (and reverse!), and I think that’s what happens here. He opens with Lukas Rosol, then another date with Juan Monaco followed by the fledgling Gilles Simon. Grigor Dimitrov or Feliciano Lopez will be there in the fourth and on the quick courts I think I’ll go with the Spaniard over the Bulgarian. But Murray will get through to the quarters to face former finalist Kei Nishikori who is in a good section. Kei’s only threat is David Goffin. In the end, it’s Murray over Nishikori.
The Pick: Andy Murray


Djokovic d Raonic: Milos just doesn’t have the goods. Not yet.
Murray d Wawrinka: Stan still stuck losing in a funk of losing to the top guys.

Murray d Djokovic: Last time Murray won the gold he beat Djokovic in the US Open final. So why not again?

Overall, top half very heavy with Djokovic, Raonic, Nadal, Isner, Cilic, Monfils and even Gasquet. But if Djokovic has his head right, personal issues in the rearview and his wrist is good, then I don’t see any problems for the Serb.

The bottom half contenders are really just Murray, Nishikori, Wawrinka and Del Potro. And again, that third quarter is wide open for the taking. I just don’t know if Delpo can handle 5 sets and the heat. But at least he’ll have a chance to make his case.

Matches get underway Monday at 1pm ET on ESPN2.

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70 Comments for US Open Draw Preview: Can Anyone Stop A Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray Final?

Vince Says:

Joker won’t reach semi.

Its Murray vs Nadal..with Murray winning the title.

Humble Rafa Says:

The NY Fish Market Open is my favorite grandslam outside of RG. Crowds are so adorable.

armelwani Says:

Why is Nishikori the pick for Andy’s quarter?

RZ Says:

Here is the ATP racquet bracket for anyone who would like to enter to try to win bragging rights.

J-Kath Says:

Good point Armelwani….might happen of course. But the question is Nishikori is the pick over Andy and then Andy is shown as the semi-finalist?

Explanation required from SEAN…..SEAN are you listening?

Wog Boy Says:

Looking at the draw and other circumstances I would be happy if Nole makes SF, looking at the draw and other circumstance anything less than winning USO will be failure for Andy.

Sean actually picked Andy over Nishikori if you check text that follows mistakenly picked Nishikori.

Colin Says:

Raonic, I see, has Dustin Brown in the first round. If Brown has one of those insane days when his spectacular style works, there could be an upset here. Even if he doesn’t win, Brown could tire Raonic and dent his fitness.

Danica Says:

Healthy Nole, yes, all the way. With questionable wrist, no way.
Everyone he plays will be pounding his backhand.
He won’t survive one of the big servers.
Title is Andy’s for the taking.

skeezer Says:

Everyone is questioning Novaks Health. If he doesn’t think he has a chance to win the title because he is dinged or injured, he won’t play. Otherwise, he’ll play. I mean then why enter the tournament? Give up the “health” questions already. He IS the favorite of this tournament, NO doubt and expected to win another US Open.

For Novak, anything less than the title will be a total and utter failure. Murray? The draw doesn’t matter…he’s always been “When I see it, I’ll believe it” when it comes to titles. Ya never know with him, but he is having a super year so far…..

Dark horse is Cilic……..he has been playing real well as of late.

Danica Says:

I agree to a certain extent. All of them play with niggles and small injuries. I would hope that Novak’s wrist can sustain the power of a Cilic/Isner/Janowicz serve.

J-Kath Says:


Agree with most of what you’ve said. However, Cilic at Cinci with new coach Jonas (even though by telephone/email e.g..remotely who had been ex-Andy stand-in coach) had a tiny advantage over a tired Andy with Jonas’s knowledge of Andy. Won’t happen again, me thinks.

J-Kath Says:


Ah, it is great to point out errors…mine are always so obvious, good to pass on the “blank out” bits. However, when you are being payed for for reporting – no mercy can be given. Feeling “holier-than-thou” tonight…not against your good self, just against “the no-alls”.

chrisford1 Says:

Disagree with Skeezer. Though lots of players are injured or dinged up or have a bug – and think they don’t have a decent shot at Winning the Huge Trophy!! – they play anyways.
They play because it is expected of players less that 100%, they play because the tournament is obligatory, play because of visibility endorsers want of them, and good pay.

J-Kath Says:

PS: “paid” not “payed”…..PS: Excuse: Very late where I live.

Wog Boy Says:


You forgot points, Nole is in the race for year end #1 against Andy and every point counts, don’t worry about skeezer he is on duty provocateur, trying to pick up a fight. How many times did we hear from fedfanatcis that he played entire 2013 with bad back, why did he play injured? Same thing this year for every single tournament after AO, they dismissed result since he was injured, again, why did he play?

To say “When I see it, I’ll believe it” for the player that made every single final of GS this year, won one, and made every single final since the start of clay season (last six months) and won 4(?) can only knowledgable poster who plays tennis, meanwhile Nole bombed out of three major tournament to players ranked #50 plus, has injury issues and he is supposedly “favorite” can only…well you finish it..

Old School Hitter Says:

Because of Cincinnati there is a little doubt in Murray’s head, just enough to be the difference in crunch time. Final with a healthy Novak, with his return game and down the line backhand clicking vs a confident Murray could be epic. But Novak may be breaking down a bit. If not Novak I would love to see Gael breakthrough in Flushing Toilet.

AndyMira Says:

^^^Flushing Toilet?Ha ha ha ha ha..

Anki Says:

Ridiculous draw for Novak, why is it that after RG all his draws has been like this. All the big servers are in his quarter, that too when he is dealing with wrist injury. Hell, I am even worried about his Round 2 clash with Vesely. Would be happy if he makes the SF. Andy should win his fourth slam comfortably with that straight forward draw.

Kerryman Says:

Humble Rafa:
This is a tennis blog for tennis fans and players. Take your garbage to some site with Justin Bieber fans and try your luck. It sucks for a tennis site, bro.

Humble Rafa Says:

I am told anyone with a name that ends in “man” is not a real man. He needs support and tender care.

jane Says:

skeezer, they all play injured at times. rafa recently said that for rio he wasn’t 100%. fed revealed he played a lot of 2013 with a back injury, and in 2010, after the berdych loss at wimbledon, he mentioned he was struggling with back and leg issues. having an injury and entering a tournament are not mutually exclusive things – and i suspect players will be especially willing to risk it if it’s a matter of playing a slam or not.

Travis Bickle Says:


Come on! Andy’s draw is not as straight forward as you imply.

He drew some dangerous, young, powerful, big hitters in early rounds:

Anki Says:

@Travis, what a joke. Stan got the difficult quarter in the bottom half predictably, who would have thought.

Btw, haven’t seen Novak’s name in the practice schedule for the last two days. On court treatment, not much practice, nothing is looking good.

Laver Rules Says:

This is Andy’s to loose. Novak will not reach the finals here or in most other slams to follow, he is going through the Rafa phase now. Too much running from corner to corner, mind-numbing splits and retrieving to maintain that coveted No. 1 gets to the body and mind sooner than later. Novak’s body and mind are both showing cracks. With Andy it’ll happen even sooner; probably within 6 months of him getting that No. 1 title. The body and mind somehow manage to hold it together in that single minded pursuit of number 1 and then they just gives in. Novak got to number 1 at a relatively younger age compared to Murray who is still in pursuit; therefore Novak’d body and mind lasted a little longer, but Novak as a player peaked last year and is now on the way down. Moreover, unlike Roger the Novak pony has no new tricks and this “precipitous fall after achieving number 1” rule applies more to retrievers such as Novak, Nadal and Murray. Federer is a different animal altogether, his body has taken half the pounding as Nadal’s or Novak’s because he cuts points short and maintains perfect balance in the court which prevents injuries. His mind is ever agile because of his innate aggression and the options that he has on the court; which make this grand dad feel that he can still keep up with the younger ones. However, he too must succumb to papa time. Do check out the blog to read some interesting stuff on tennis.

Willow Says:

RZ Many thanks for setting this up, im going out on a limb, and picking a Murray / Nadal final for once, yeah, yeah people will snigger i suppose, but its one id love to see, and one which weve never had in a GS well final anyway, with Murray winning the title ….

Willow Says:

Kerryman im afraid your spitting in the wind, it all falls on deaf ears ….

Margot Says:

@Laver Rules
Andy turned pro later than Nole and has also had more time out with injury. His legs may last longer, who knows? It’s his back that is of more concern to me.
@Old School Hitter
Lol, when I skim read your post, I read “Old School Hitler!” Thought blimey! Anyway, doubt if there are any doubts in Andy’s mind TBH. He was pretty gassed
Batman, Superman, Jackman, Altman, Crocodileman, Baboonman etc etc wouldn’t advise you to accuse any of them of being of the marshmallow tendency TBH.
Thanks from me
A WTA bracket would be good, after all I was leading the last…..for all of one round…;)

Willow Says:

AM Rafas right, just eat sensibly, everything in moderation, personally i try to eat organic, but its not always easy when your on a budget, anyway i think i key to good eat is a balanced diet ….

Willow Says:

Sorry meant key to good health is a balanced diet ….

J-Kath Says:

I do agree with Travis. As far as I can judge the draws are pretty fair overall. That said, nothing is ever perfect. I think Andy is surprisingly successful against big servers e.g.
Isner, Karlo, Raonic etc. whereas Nole is the much better Server, so individual match-ups can be important.

Willow Says:

The elite players have seem to have tough opening matches ….

Wog Boy Says:


Have a look at Travis post again, I don’t think you got it.

AndyMira Says:

@Willow..Yeah..agree..but who would have guessed that Rafa likes chocolate..ha ha ha..and still have a great BOD!Aww…Btw..Humble Rafa must be green with envy since Rafa can eat fresh and healthy fish straight from the sea and he’s only be able to eat the fish from NY FISH MARKET!!OHO OHO OHO OHO HO HO…

J-Kath Says:


Yes, it was tongue-in-cheek – I simply chose to take it straight and use it to my advantage. But thanks for the nod.

J-Kath Says:

Willow – Talking food (and health re. Rafa) – there’s a great insert magazine in Saturday’s Daily Mail (I hate the Daily Mail and only buy it for TV guide)- the mag. is by Liz Earle, Skincare Guru….all sorts of interesting suggestions which (to AM) also includes chocolate!!!

Willow Says:

J-Kath its the only paper i buy, and only on a Saturday just like you for the magazine supplement, just been out and got it, and ( AHEM ) theres a incredibly delicious photo and article on the lovely Mr Aidan (Poldark) Turner, worth bying for that alone lol, oh yeah sorry we were talking about food and skin care, just forgot there for a minute ;-)) ….

Margot Says:

For Andy fans first class: Kath, RZ, DA and CDP tho vanished and floating around in the ether somewhere……..Very positive and good to hear
And 2nd class: Willow, AM and OK.
Only talking about tennis preferences, obviously….;)

jalep Says:

Okie dokie — WTA brackets are the best 😊 Everyone Welcome!
This time should be truly confusing. Must not take self too seriously.
Can anyone stop Serena? Can Halep win a GS this year?!

As usual, tourneytopia doesn’t put qualifiers in until i don’t know.

Here’s what I use as a reference for where the qualifiers got placed
(not that I trust odds-makers very much for WTA)

Laura Robson, you may have noticed, made it into the main draw. yay.
Three Americans graduated from qualie to main draw:
Jessica Pegula, Taylor Townsend, and Cici Bellis.

Good Luck!

jalep Says:

Hello Willow, I left you a note on the non-tennis forum, Tenngrand 😚
Still haven’t got to the email after my vacation…but will.

AndyMira Says:

@M..thanks for the link…it is a great read…oh i can’t wait for the USO to start and really really excited to see whether Andy can hold this precious trophy for the 2nd time in 2 weeks time…Btw..i didn’t know that Andy had a wrist injury before..That’s why sometimes we saw him rolled his wrist to exercise it..and Thank God it happened when he’s still very young and the injury have time to healed properly..

Willow Says:

Hi Jalep i will look later, and also fill out my WTA bracket challenge, as i have to head off to work, hope you had a great vacation, chat later see ya ;-)) ….

jalep Says:

It’s just the old Hugh Jackman dancing video 😎. Because – I couldn’t find a new one. But an old video of HJ beats no video, right? ;)

J-Kath Says:

Taa much Margot.

I rather like the first-class category, even if it is only in tennis. Gives me ideas above my station…now I shall aspire to change my Scottish accent to a bit more “high-fulooting”; sell my property and pretend to be rich. Oh yes, the valiant Mr. Murray…good-on-U.

Willow: Oh you are naughty!!!

jalep Says:

As for the ATP pick, I like Andy Murray the most right now. He’s my winner pick.

Other than Andy, I’m not sure who will make the final. Novak gives me reasons to worry about him and simply hoping he’s okay. I’ll probably pick him to the final because I can’t NOT pick him.

Rafa: The latest presser comments about his wrist are not terribly inspiring. But he’s more reliable than many.

Stan: Donna Vekic lost in qualification — he (might) get by Verdasco.
And yet, I can’t trust him to be fully focused on the job at hand.

Delpo: Is wonderful. Thrilled he’s back in the US Open. My sentimental pick to quarters even if I worry about him getting past Steve Johnson.

Raonic: He could win the whole thing someday. Right now, I have
him losing to Monfils.

Cilic: He’s a bit hot. But have him losing to Nole, of course
but if Nole isn’t himself…

theDA Says:

Margot – nice article. I think people are peaking later these days but I’ll take just 2 consecutive years at this level. Haven’t disappeared entirely into the ether ;) Just need occasional breaks from the silly tribal (sometimes mean spirited) stuff on this forum. Looking forward to Mat4’s observations after he returns from the self-imposed exile after Wimbledon/the Olympics ;P

Willow Says:

Jalep anything to do with that man is all good with me, no matter how many times i see it, HJ could read the alphabet, and i would still watch ;-)) ….

J-Kath lol im naughty but i try hard to be nice, but Hugh Jackman and Aidan Turner all in the same day, OH MY (SWOON) ;-)) ….

J-Kath Says:


Obviously no cure for you. Sleep well/dream on.

J-Kath Says:

Willow: I was thinking of a revival of “Are You Being Served” – where the tag-line was something like: “Oh, you are naughty” – or something along these lines…..seemed appropriate – try not to reform too much.

J-Kath Says:


On the other hand the “pinterest” above is for you.

Old School Hitter Says:

Never been confused before with the worst menace of the 20th century. A recent deal had inventory of FF&E attached as an Exhibit and prepared by a dislexic typist. Instead of dishpit the closing documents had dipshit. After a few minutes decorum returned.

There’s plenty left in Novak’s tank.

Willow Says:

Thanks J-Kath you have indeed my my morning, absolutely gorgeous CHEERS ;-)) ….

Willow Says:

^And the guy is single, unfortunatly im not ^ ….

J-Kath Says:

Willow: UR Welcome….nothing wrong with a few sighs – at the same time I know you cherish your hubbie.

Willow Says:

J-Kath yeah true Mr Willow knows im a good gal really ;-)) ….

Willow Says:

Jalep many thanks cant get enough of that video CHEERS my etheral friend ;-)) ….

Willow Says:

Ethereal sorry not etheral ….

AndyMira Says:

@M..since Rafa will start his first match ahead of Andy..i have to borrow your sofa first..Please FedEx immediately to me.. you already send an encouragement email to Andy?Please tell him not to think much about the no 1 or no 4..or about what the “AC/DC” think of him or the pressure of being favourite..just play freely,Hokay?

PS2]..Please send an email M and NOT a PIGEONMAIL!

Michael Says:

For me, Andy is the favourite to win the title followed by Novak. The dark horse will be Cilic.

Nadal ofcourse will always be a suspect in the winners column. Only if he can reproduce that invincible form in 2010 !?

Willow Says:

Michael he also won the title in 2013, and went unbeaten in the USO HC swing Rafa that is ….

Old School Hitter Says:

Novak may have been able to gut it out vs Jerzy and might do so round two but unless his latest ailment miraculously heals and all other physical woes are non issues he may not get past Isner and most certainly won’t survive in the elite rounds. If so Novak fans have to wait for Australia to confirm if he can return to upper echelon.

J-Kath Says:

Old School Hitter

Don’t worry, Nole will get by Isner, no problem. (PS: I like Isner and admire his serving, but…).

Wog Boy Says:

” If so Novak fans have to wait for Australia to confirm if he can return to upper echelon.”

I didn’t know that if Nole doesn’t win USO he will be out of “upper echelon” and who excatly will be in so called “upper echelons”, sorry to ask?

Old School Hitter Says:

Wog: Upper echelons are the group habitating the quarters in general and typically high seeds and of course you and everyone on this board knows that. We don’t know if last night was an aberration or if there’s a deeper issue in his right arm and if so he’s not getting too far in Flushing Toilet with sporadic service velocity and discomfort. If there is an issue prolonged rest might be the remedy. Novak might be paying the price for his sustained level of greatness. I hope not but it’s possible.

Wog Boy Says:


Thanks for explanation, we’ll see, we are patient people, you have to be patient if you are Nole fan.

Old School Hitter Says:

The funk that the Mcenroe Brothers attributed to Novak’s play was still evident last night in Murray’s match. Tennis like golf is to be played with spectator silence, the players need concentration and the moment is held sacrosanct by respectful fans. The idiotic design in New York has destroyed the formula. The funk is from the ever-present noise, din, chatter. It interferes with the players concentration and they are not comfortable. I can’t understand how an acoustical engineer would have signed off on this. They might as well go all the way with it and add cheerleaders, pom poms beer and peanut hawkers. I also don’t like the TV angles. This was once a magnificent tournament when it was played in Forest Hills, moving it to Flushing Meadows was is a step down but tolerable even with the Wind and the airport. Enclosing it and transforming the sport into something it was never intended to be I believe is offensive.

Welcome to Flushing Toilet with its ever-present swirling din.

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