Can Anyone Spoil A Djokovic v Alcaraz Final? US Open Pick And Pans

by Sean Randall | August 27th, 2023, 9:34 pm
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Is there any stopping a 5-set, 6-hour marathon between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz in the US Open final two weeks from today? Is there? Can someone do it?

It sure doesn’t seem like it based on recent results, which have come down to these two with the winner taking the title like what we saw at Wimbledon and Cincinnati.

There are a few guys that come to mind on the favorites list but I’m not so sure they are going to be able to do what it takes.

So let’s look at the draw.

Alcaraz may very well have to relive his epic win over Jannik Sinner if he wants to get back to the semifinals and beyond. The Italian is one of four players who I think could give the 20-year-old from Spain some trouble in this quarter. Dan Evans, if he’s on — I mean really on — could disrupt him and then I would also add Stan Wawrinka and Alexander Zverev. But Sinner, Wawrinka and Zverev are all bunched together, so Carlos will only have to deal with one. My guess would be Sinner since he did win in Canada, did make the Wimbledon semifinal and of the young guys on the tour, he’s the best competition for Carlos. That said, in best-of-5 Sinner is still missing that big signature win. And I don’t think it comes this year in New York. So I have to go with Carlos who I will admit doesn’t seem to be in peak form going into New York, not after so many 3-set matches coming in.
The Pick: Carlos Alcaraz

It’s hard to make heads or tails of Daniil Medvedev. Unless he’s on a run, he’s tough to pick. And right now he’s not on a run like he was earlier in the year. But the US Open is his best Grand Slam, he won there in 2021 and made a final and a semifinal and I like his draw. Borna Coric is there, then Alex De Minaur and possibly either Hubert Hurkacz, Gael Monfils or Andrey Rublev. De Minaur beat Daniil in Canada but I don’t think he’ll pull off that upset in best-of-5. So I like Medvedev to the quarters and then he wins a tough one over Hurkacz who’s been playing decent (but not dominant). But perhaps Andrey Rublev can rise up and make a run like he’s done before in New York. This draw is a great chance for him to beat Medvedev and make his first semifinal. Still…
The Pick: Daniil Medvedev

Casper Ruud can’t do it again, can he like he did at the French? I doubt it, but who knows. He’s in a good section of the draw with no overwhelming favorite but there are a bunch of guys who can cause problems. Americans Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul — who reached the semifinals of the last two hard court Slams — and Holger Rune, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Sebastian Korda, etc. There’s a lot of guys who can play well enough to emerge to the semifinals — maybe 8-10 different ones, though no real consensus. Casper’s struggled this summer, so too has Tiafoe, Rune didn’t win a match, Korda could be injured, Davidovich Fokina is flaky so that leaves me with Paul. Paul beat Alcaraz, he went deep in Melbourne, has a good draw and I think he beats Ruud (who beats Tiafoe) in the quarters to make another Slam semifinal on the season.
The Pick: Tommy Paul

There’s not much to analyze here. It’s another situation of how many sets will Djokovic lose? He might drop one before the quarters, then maybe Taylor Fritz gets one or Lorenzo Musetti or Stefanos Tsitsipas or Chris Eubanks. But none of those guys are going to beat Djokovic. Did you watch Cincinnati?
The Pick: Djokovic

Alcaraz d Medvedev: Medvedev still standing 45 feet behind the baseline trying to play defense. Lol.
Djokovic d Paul: I think Paul gets closer than Australia, but the American’s just happy to be there.

Alcaraz d Djokovic: Djokovic just doesn’t play well enough in NY for some reason and in Cincinnati Alcaraz blinked. The kid won’t make that mistake again. It’s his time. Winning when you are not playing your best.

I’d actually like to see both Alcaraz and Djokovic fail to make the final. That’d be interesting. Maybe Sinner, maybe Tsitsipas can win it, or Tiafoe. Otherwise, I feel like if it’s another Djokovic-Alcaraz final that will be the finals going forward at every event. Just write it in, in pen, regardless of surface. We don’t want a Big 2. We’d rather have a 3 or 4. At least I do.

Tune to ESPN for all your tennis coverage at noon tomorrow.

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