The biggest question for the 2023 US Open draw preview is: Does the draw even matter? Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz have set themselves apart in men’s tennis at the moment. No matter what happens between now and the US Open final, Djokovic and Alcaraz seem on a course to continue their already-legendary rivalry.

Djokovic, with 23 Grand Slams including 3 at the US Open, arrives in New York as the 2-seed. Defending US Open Champion Carlos Alcaraz, the current World number one, sits at the tipy top of this US Open draw preview.

Alcaraz Quarter

Alcaraz has drawn some peskiness in his quarter. After a first-round matchup with grinder Dominik Koepfer, Carlitos could potentially face big-serving Lloyd Harris, whose best surface by far is hard court. Further down the line, he could meet Jordan Thompson, who he met in Cincinnati. That was a very close 3-set affair. Alcaraz could also potentially meet Alexander Zverev, who is playing above his current rank of 12.

But the big carrot would be a quarterfinal with… the carrot top. Alcaraz versus Jannik Sinner could be a rematch of last year’s 5-set epic clash. Alcaraz and Sinner are deadlocked in their H2H at 3 wins apiece. Sinner has a 72% hard court win percentage. Bring it on!

Medvedev Quarter

The 2021 US Open champion and 3-seed in this tournament, Daniil Medvedev, has yet to find his groove this hard court season. But maybe it’s all part of a grand plan for the cool cat Russian to peak at the right time.

It’s possible an adjustment to fatherhood, complicated geopolitics or something else in his personal life has Meddy off kilter. He loves this surface and this atmosphere, but he’s an unknown in the 2023 US Open draw preview. After some fairly straightforward early rounds, things get dicey for Meddy with Borna Coric, Nicolas Jarry, Alex De Minaur, Hubert Hurkacz and his old friend Andrey Rublev.

For as good as he is, Rubie has a terrible draw. Quality player Emil Ruusuvuori in the first round, followed potentially by the resurgent Gael Monfils and Matteo Berrettini. If it were a stock trader, I’d short Rublev, only because this is such a tough quarter.

Medvedev holds a 4-2 H2H over De Minaur, but Meddy has lost 2 in a row to Alex. Meddy will want to right that ship. I think that’s the match of this section if it happens.

Rune Quarter

With a career-high ranking of 4 in the world, Holger Rune should be feeling the benefit of leading his own quarter in this 2023 US Open draw preview. It’s a shame because Rune has been battling a significant back injury. Otherwise the next highest seed in this section is last year’s finalist Casper Ruud, who has struggled in 2023.

I favor one of the Americans in this quarter due to Rune’s back and Ruud’s lack of form.

Djokovic Quarter

Novak has no one near him in the early rounds. All the action is at the opposite end of this bracket with 7-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and his unlucky draw of the rebooted servebot Canadian Milos Raonic.

Taylor Fritz should not present a problem for Djokovic, given their last lopsided meeting in Cincinnati. Chris Eubanks versus Novak could be fun, but Big Banks is just the kind of opponent Djokovic owns. Plus Chris is still in shock of his own fairytale Wimbledon run. Honestly, this should be smooth sailing for the GOAT.

My players to watch:
QF: Alcaraz, Medvedev, Paul, Djokovic
SF: Alcaraz, Djokovic
F: Djokovic


Women’s 2023 US Open Draw Preview

On the women’s side, what stands out is that once again, Coco Gauff has drawn Iga Swiatek in her quarter. It’s almost unfair. The two have met 8 times in 2.5 years. Gauff finally cracked the Swiatek code on her way to a spectacular win in Cincinnati. The American has added Brad Gilbert to her coaching staff, and a little “Winning Ugly” has been the perfect elixir. But to have to beat Iga again? Where the world number one is the defending champ? Ugh. It’s an exhausting ask.

Elsewhere Elena Rybakina has a tough draw with an opening-round match against Marta Kostyuk, who plays a similar style. Then Elena has Belinda Bencic, Victoria Azarenka and Karolina Muchova also floating dangerously. Still, as a sublime server and groundstroke maestro, Rybakina is favored to come through.

3rd-seeded American Jessica Pegula has a real shot at winning this tournament. Coming off a victory over Swiatek in Canada, J-Peg will have the home-crowd advantage in New York. Pegula’s consistent but aggressive baseline game is well-suited to this surface.

Finally, Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka anchors this 2023 US Open draw preview. The atomic-hitter has suffered some no-shame type losses in her hard court run ups. Her biggest issue is command of her second serve. She has twice been a U.S. Open semi-finalist. With a 4-1 H2H over Pegula, it might be time to break the chain to the next level. That said, tensions between the US and Belarus complicate the equation, particularly in front of a well-read New York crowd. Between the lines, I think Pegula has found a new level of defense and putting returns in play.

My players to watch:
QF: Swiatek, Rybakina, Pegula, Sabalenka
SF: Swiatek, Pegula
F: Pegula



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