Men’s US Open Preview: Djokovic Lands In Federer Quarter In Draw, Nadal Looks Good
by Sean Randall | August 23rd, 2018, 6:56 pm

The big question mark in the US Open draw was in which quarter would No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic fall? And look what happened. He didn’t get Alexander Zverev, not Rafael Nadal and he didn’t end up in Juan Martin Del Potro’s quarter. Instead, he winds up with Roger Federer! Ahhhhhhhhh….

So that’s not good for the tournament, not good for their fans and not good for either player. But the news is good for the defending champ Nadal, former winner Marin Cilic and the underachieving Alexander Zverev who just hired Ivan Lendl. All three can breathe a bit easier knowing they won’t have to deal with the Wimbledon and Cincinnati champion until at least the semifinals, if not the finals.

What else does the draw hold? Let’s see.

Federer and Djokovic are extra bummed because Nadal also got a great draw. In Rafa’s section are 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson, French runner-up Dominic Thiem, there’s Denis Shapovalov, the struggling Jack Sock and the injured Roberto Bautista Agut. Sure, Thiem and Anderson are recent Slam finalists, but does anyone give them a chance at upsetting Nadal after getting waxed by him in those title matches? No. Sock? No. Shapovalov? No. Nadal opens against former French finalist David Ferrer who beat Nadal at the US Open a decade ago, but the veteran’s best days are well behind him. Then in the third round could be his trickiest match of the quarter. If the courts are quick, Gilles Muller is a dangerous player, or he could meet Karen Khachanov who could get a set. So other than Muller, I just don’t see any issues for Nadal.
The Pick: Rafael Nadal

The 2009 champion is the favorite in his section, but after a somewhat disappointing summer, one has to wonder where his game is at and more importantly (and ominously), how his wrist is. So I just can’t fully back him after hearing he recently had to undergo further scans on that left wrist. Speaking of injury, former winner Andy Murray could be an early third round foe for Delpo but he too is an unknown quantity. I think he wins his opener against James Duckworth but not the second round against Fernando Verdasco (or Feliciano Lopez). Borna Coric, Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas are all in there as well, and I like Coric to beat the Greek in the third round, then knock out Verdasco who beats an ailing Del Potro. Grigor Dimitrov and Stan Wawrinka collide in the best first round on the board. I like Stan here to get through and keep chugging through big men Milos Raonic and John Isner, then beat Coric to return to the semifinals. He looked like he was back in form in Cincinnati, so I’ll lean his way if Del Potro isn’t 100%. If the Argentine is OK, then he’s my pick. But for now…
The Pick: Stan Wawrinka

How much will Ivan Lendl bring to the table for Alexander Zverev? We are about to find out. Gifted with a good draw, the German has yet another shot to do some real damage at a Slam, but can he hold the nerves and take advantage? I’m still not sold. He should get out to week two for a first time, then run into Kei Nishikori, and that’s a tough match. Because of Lendl, I think he gets through it, but Marin Cilic knocks him out in the quarters. The former champ should have a good run with Frances Taifoe in the third, then David Goffin in the fourth. If the courts are fast, that should help. And in a nervy affair, Marin’s experience wins out over the Lendl-led Zverev.
The Pick: Marin Cilic

We save the best for last. The last quarter is where we find Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. And both should get out to that mouthwatering quarterfinal showdown. Maybe Nick Kyrgios gets hot and serves Federer off the court in the third, or Lucas Pouille pulls the upset on the Serb in the fourth, otherwise I don’t see any big threat and even those are longshots given how Kyrgios and Pouille have been playing. So Federer-Djokovic it will be and I have to go with Novak here. Federer just hasn’t been that great at the US Open – hasn’t won since 2008 – and Novak’s been solid all summer, he seems to be playing with some renewed confidence, the mojo is back and he just blew out Federer in the Cincinnati final. That said, Djokovic didn’t look great in Cincinnati other than the final. But in best-of-5, which should help both guys, and in a head-to-head primetime clash, I just think Novak’s a little more match tough right now than Roger.
The Pick: Djokovic

Nadal d Wawrinka: Rafa keeps it rolling against Wawrinka who’s not physically ready…yet.
Djokovic d Cilic: Djokovic too sharp.

Djokovic d Nadal: They’ve alternated wins in their preview three US Open finals, and the trend this time points Novak’s way.

For some reason I am definitely not fully behind my Djokovic-Nadal pick. I’m just not sold on either. Rafa on a quick hard court in best-of-5 is vulnerable to the upset by a Muller or an Isner-type. Djokovic turned it on against Federer in the Cincy final, but otherwise didn’t look great.

The problem is, I just don’t see anyone else. Federer will play well but he’s getting old. Del Potro has an injury concern. Wawrinka I don’t think is back to 100% (and could easily lose in the first round), neither is Murray. Cilic was a wreck at times during the summer and the young guys just don’t look ready to step up. Tiafoe and Tsitsipas are intriguing, but maybe a year or two away, and I just don’t know about Zverev.

Regardless, here we go and I’m sure we’ll see some more surprises…what will they be?

You Might Like:
Australian Open Men’s Draw Preview: Djokovic Opens With Verdasco, Federer Lands With Murray
Australian Open Men’s Draw Preview: Roger Federer Lands In Novak Djokovic’s Half; Can Rafael Nadal Make A Run?
French Open Draw: Rafael Nadal Lands In Novak Djokovic’s Quarter!
Wimbledon Men’s Draw Preview: Nadal Falls With Federer, Murray In Quarter Of Death
Murray Lands in Nadal Quarter; Federer v. Djokovic Possible Australian Open SF

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49 Comments for Men’s US Open Preview: Djokovic Lands In Federer Quarter In Draw, Nadal Looks Good

Alonatp Says:

Hi everyone! First of all I think it’s worth mentioning that the field seems to have fillied up nicely now that many quality players are slowly but surely are making their comebacks. So it should be a great open this year.
Regarding the potential Djoko Fed match – I personally feel that it’s almost as wide open and the Cincy final. I actually believe that in that final BOTH players didn’t play their best tennis but Fed just didn’t show up at all. So if they both make the quarters, to me it’ll feel like the true renewal of their rivalry.
Any thoughts?

Alonatp Says:

And I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank all the commentators who are active on this site. Especially the regular ones. Your comments are to me just as interesting as the articles!

Andy Mira Says:

Oh thank u God for a nice draw for Rrrafa!U answered my prayer!Alhamdulillah!….After see the draw,i will go with Rafa…Vamos Rafa!!

Thanh Dinh Says:

I totally agree with Andy Mira. Vamos Rata.

Humble Rafa Says:

I have been the best player of the year so far. Not surprisingly, I am also number 1. Having won the US Open a few times, I know how to win there.

Thanks in advance for your congratulations.

Andy Mira Says:

Ohohoho!Thanks Thanh Dinh!

RZ Says:

Look for the Racket Bracket link to be posted sometime on Friday!

Amado Bustamante Says:

Nadal’s draw is not easy at all , contrary to what many are saying that he has a cupcake draw again . Excuse me !! Djokovic has the easiest draw till the QF, when he has to face Federer . Before the QF , it’s a walk in the park for him.

skeezer Says:

No way no how Rafa beats Novak in the final. Getting beat 7 times in a row in finals is the ultimate ownership that the cow, errr, excuse me, the bull will bever forget.

RZ Says:

Racket Bracket is up! Enter at
Entries are accepted until Monday, August 27 at 11AM Eastern Time.

Nitesh Says:

People and some experts are taking Djokovic win for granted. But somehow I believe Delpo is getting ready for a grand slam win.

Mystic - Willow Says:

2011 Was years ago now, its not like Nadal hasnt between Djokovic since, talk about living in the past, and its no gimee that both will even get to the final anyway, personally i was hoping they would be on the same side to avoid another final in this overated rivalry ….

Mystic - Willow Says:

I Miss Gonzo, where is he, theres not many Rafa fans left here anymore :-(

Giles Says:

Poor Skeezer, always living in the past.

j-kath Says:


Actually there’s a lot of new posters and it’s less obvious who wants whom to win (if you’ll excuse my murdered English).

Mystic - Willow Says:

J-Kath but they dont stick around though ….

Humble Rafa Says:

Getting beat 7 times in a row in finals is the ultimate ownership that the cow, errr, excuse me, the bull will bever forget

I know ownership more than anyone else. I can tell you this, being the first player to lose to the winner of a guy who won all masters, lifetime losing record to the goat owner, etc. has its own place in history.

bstevens Says:

Alonatp at 7:37pm

I second that comment!

j-kath Says:

Mystic-Willow: For me, it’s more likely that some will e.g. Alonatp and Bstevens….

….Sagitarians are generally positive people ….not sensing it at the moment….??

Mystic - Willow Says:

J-Kath true that, ill try to remain positive, its not easy coming here and reading certain posts though, ill be away for Autumn equinox from Thursday next week ….

Mystic - Willow Says:

I Do love the under water picture of young Novak, i call him young as compared to me whos 50 he is, tennis-x cougar lol ….

j-kath Says:

Mystic-Willow: Didn’t see Novak pic. – despite a pic. worth a thousand words, I can live without seeing it….I’ve seen youthful pics of Andy and Nole when they first started clobbering each – Novak won the maturity stakes – no contest.

As for reading certain posts, I mostly ignore the boring, repetitive posts of one particular poster who probably has a room full of mirrors where “speeches” are practiced – doesn’t need to, as all are the same.

Enjoy your Autumn equinox and come back smiling.

lylenubbins Says:

It will be interesting to see how Novak holds up mentally at the Open, after winning Wimbledon,completing the golden masters slam, and beating both Rafa and Roger. He might be happy with his year and relax just enough to get beat. I’m picking Rafa.

Giles Says:

Rafa wearing sleeveless for US Open. That will help him in the hot weather which has been forecast.

Mystic - Willow Says:

Thanks J-Kath im so excited about my break i cant wait ;-)

Viki Says:

That’s gud draw for Federer.

If he feels gud with his level then I believe we will have grt quaterfinal and better chance of winning for him rather meeting Djokovic in final where he is under more pressure and with more wear-tear.

If he is not happy with his level, then can loose to krygios to save his 1 to 1 record as he done last by loosing to del potro easily

ChrisFord1 Says:

lyle – “after winning Wimbledon,completing the golden masters slam, and beating both Rafa and Roger. He might be happy with his year and relax just enough to get beat.”

During the time of the Djokovic Domination of 2011 to 2016, he regularly beat Federer and Nadal, so I don’t see him relaxing on that count. Beating them again after his 2 lost years is another signal he is almost back to where he was as a player. Wimbledon and winning the Masters Career Sweep (nothing gold about it, nothing to do with slams, what happens when you leave naming to stupid fans) – just adds to confidence.

Biggest match so far this year was the Novak-Rafa Wimbledon semi. Could have gone either way, high quality gladiator warfare.

I think he wants another long period of being the best player. And of course he wants #1 again and getting the Masters and Above victories that would put him there.

Madmax Says:

Mystic – Willow Says:
I Miss Gonzo, where is he, theres not many Rafa fans left here anymore :-(

August 24th, 2018 at 5:26 am

Willow, there are plenty. Oki is here just on holiday, and you have a lot of support. Just do your thing.

Skeezer, love ya. You have to brow beat Giles sometimes who has too much time on his hands when it comes to Fed. Giles, seriously, come over to the dark side, you spend more time in it than in the Spanish sun. Otherwise, MWillow needs your support.

Mystic - Willow Says:

Madmax im doing my own thing, but you could count us all on one hand now, Kimberly was great but rarely posts, she once said she cant stand the sight of TX anymore, Okie is on holiday, but has said the same thing ….

fred stone Says:

“…cant stand the sight of TX”

Agree 100%.

Madmax Says:

Nadal just lands on his feet. The cat with 17 lives – always gets the cup cake draws. I cannot believe Nadal does not face a player of this calibre i(Novak in Fed’s half), in his own half of the draw. His toughest match could be Anderson in the SF.

It’s got to be a fix! (hear me Giles?). This would be your cry if it were Federer.

Madmax Says:

MWillow, I can tell you 100%, Oki would never let you down. She’s a keeper, on your side and will return. But really, it does not matter. Just do your thing here, Your voice is heard and it’s great that we are all a melting pot of ideas, expressions and friendly fall outs – is there such a thing?!

Madmax Says:


I have no expectations of Roger winning the USO. Reading what Patrick McEnroe has said, – I prefer his remarks to his brother’s and I’ll come on to what John said about Andy, or rather the way he said it after this.

I wouldn’t say that Nadal is a better hard court player than Djokovic or Federer. He is an improved player, yes, but if you look at the history, and there is plenty out there CF; Federer has won 11 times – 11 slams on hard courts, Novak, has won 8 majors on hard courts and Rafa has won 4 majors on hard courts. Djokovic won 23 hard. Turning to the ATP Masters, Federer won 27 masters, with the majority of those being won on hard court. He even one won as a doubles player, but we won’t count that! Nadal won 9 hard court masters.

Federer won 6 World Tour Finals, Djokovic won 5 World Tour Finals, while Nadal hasn’t won the World Tour Final, YET. Federer has an 11-9 record vs Nadal on hard courts and Djokovic has an 18-7 record vs Nadal on hard courts. But you know what CF? None of this makes any difference, not a spot because this year is a very different year for all of the top three – all recovering and returning from injury/exhaustion having won plentiful tournaments – most of those by Rafa – he has made the right decision to avoid playing in Cinny and I think that would hold him in great stead. I think it’s between these two, Novak and Rafa. Not Roger. :-(

I think more than ever, watching Roger play at Cinny, he moved more slowly, he did not have the same amount of recovery time – he needs that now. Absolutely, he will get that at US, but he needs to crush it in 3 sets, over 5, it becomes more difficult. But, we are talking about Federer here, so who knows? Perhaps he is inspired and smashes it the business end of the week, with plenty of recovery time. Only he knows, only he.

Madmax Says:

As for John Mcenroe, when asked about Murray – you would think that he would talk about Andy Murray.


He talked about himself. This is what he does all of the time. Himself. Me. Me. Me. “‘I felt like that time off would refresh me. The plan, I’ve got to be honest, was to come back and be a better player.

I thought there was another gear I could find, and I didn’t find it. It was tremendously disappointing and frustrating. I never felt like I moved as well as I did the first seven or eight years of my career. That’s hard for that not to be in your head.”

I may have got this wrong, but I think it was John McEnroe who said this. He says a lot, but everyone on tour can only be happy, as well as his fans that he is back and he is trying. That’s all that needs to be said really. I am certain Andy does not have any expectations, but a little bit of hope is all that it takes.

Will power/mental strength, mind over matter, is a wonderful attribute to possess.

Good Luck to Andy!

Mystic - Willow Says:

Madmax she talks to me on FB , and shes told me in no uncertain terms that she cant stand TX anymore, same as Kimberly, i must admit i cant either, i wouldnt really care 1 iota if it closed down for good to be honest, i just wont be driven away, and i wont give people the satisfaction that they have either, im going away next this coming Thursday for a week thank goodness hooray ….

Margot Says:

Thanks RZ. Giving it a whirl. Just checked the draw and I think Busta could have another really good run, only coming unbusted when he meets Nole.

Margot Says:

RZ: Any idea how my postal code can be turned into a zip code? And it’s my number with 44 on the front?

Giles Says:
Poor joker looks like he could do with a good meal.

Margot Says:

Giles, please give Mystic some of your panache.

Mystic - Willow Says:

^ Dont need it im fine ^ ….

Mystic - Willow Says:

Thanks for the lovely pictures Giles, not overly keen on Rafa been too friendly with Novak, but as its for charity ill let this one go lol ….

j-kath Says:

Margot @ 11.19 am

You are being transferred to the USA to sort out Donald.???

Humble Rafa Says:

Poor joker looks like he could do with a good meal.

Some people need food, some others need oxygen. He gets oxygen meant for 15 people. Save your sympathies for kids in Africa.

Mystic - Willow Says:

J-Kath somebody needs to lol ….

RZ Says:

Hi Margot, sorry just saw your question. No idea. US zip codes don’t include letters which complicates things…I’m guessing you figured it out by now. 5 numbers total (unless they ask for the additional 4 numbers at the end, but we usually don’t use those)

Margot Says:

RZ: I emailed them but no response. Remember when I came top of whole thing and was kicking myself for not entering main draw. Well, as I have no idea how to put in my UK zip code, I couldn’t have entered anyway! Hope they get back to me before the AO at least.

Margot Says:

Yay! Andy! One down six to go…;)

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