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Breaking down the 2022 US Open men’s and women’s draws

The men’s and women’s draws for the 2022 US Open have been revealed, and both have thrown up some potentially exciting matches that you must not miss over the next fortnight.

As always, we begin with the men, where the top two seeds, Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal, cannot face each other until the final; this is also the same case for third seed Carlos Alcaraz and fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who squared off in a third round clash last year.

Before we start, it has been confirmed that Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the US Open, owing to his vaccination status which has prevented him from entering the United States.

This leaves Medvedev, Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic and Andy Murray as the only former champions to take part at Flushing Meadows this year.

Medvedev is the first man apart from the sport’s “Big Four” (namely Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray) to be the top seed at a men’s Major since Andy Roddick at the 2004 Australian Open.

Daniil Medvedev

(Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

The 26-year-old will begin his title defence against American Stefan Kozlov, and is not expected to face any serious opposition until the fourth round where he is projected to face Spanish veteran Roberto Bautista Agut.

This part of the draw will also feature a first-time All-Australian clash between doubles partners Nick Kyrgios and Thanaki Kokkinakis, with the winner to potentially face Bautista Agut in the third round.

Should Kyrgios make it to round four, he could set up a massive last-16 blockbuster against top seed Medvedev, in what would be their second meeting this American swing after the Canberran sprung an upset win in Montreal recently.

The Russian’s projected quarter-final opponent is Canadian sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, who begins against a qualifier and is in line to face Karen Khachanov in the third round.

2020 champion Dominic Thiem, who had been absent from the Tour recently due to a long-term wrist injury, has been granted a wildcard entry into the tournament and faces 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in his first match.

Australia’s highest-ranked male entrant, Alex de Minaur, is also in this part of the draw and could face a second round rematch against Chilean Cristian Garin, to whom he lost a thrilling five-setter at Wimbledon after leading by two sets to love last month.

Whichever player wins that match could then face Carreno Busta or Thiem in the third round.

The second quarter of the draw is anchored by Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who also faces a qualifier in his first match, and could run into either 13th-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini or 2012 champion Andy Murray in the last sixteen.

Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon

(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

There are two Aussies in this part of the draw: Jordan Thompson and John Millman, who if they win their respective first round matches against Lorenzo Sonego and Emilio Nava could face Tsitsipas and Murray in the second round.

The Brit, who is unseeded, is up against Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in his first match.

There are some more bigger names in the fourth section, which is led by French Open finalist Casper Ruud and also features the likes of Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz and 2016 champion Stan Wawrinka, who has a protected ranking.

Fritz and Wawrinka could line up a third-round clash while Ruud is up against former Australian Open finalist Kyle Edmund in the first round, with a potential showdown against either Tommy Paul or Sebastian Korda to loom in round three.

We turn over the page to the third quarter now, where Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner are heavily favoured to set up a fourth round clash against each other, provided they get through the early rounds with minimal fuss.

Hurkacz could, however, face American veteran Sam Querrey in the second round, while 17th seed Grigor Dimitrov looms as a possible third round opponent for Sinner.

But the leading name to watch out for in this quarter of the draw is third seed Carlos Alcaraz, who is in the running to potentially become the youngest world number one in men’s tennis history, depending on how he fares in the Big Apple.

He would beat the record set by Lleyton Hewitt, who was three months short of turning 21 when he ascended to the top of the rankings for the first time in November 2001.

Alcaraz is expected to breeze through his first two rounds, but could face recent Cincinnati champion Borna Coric, who is seeded 25th but also has a protected ranking, in the third round.

Coric, who beat Rafael Nadal en route to the title in the Ohio capital, is up against a qualifier or lucky loser in the first round, as is 2014 champion Marin Cilic, who is seeded 15th.

In the seventh section, British seventh seed Cameron Norrie is up against French veteran Benoit Paire in his first match, with a potential third round clash against either Holger Rune or American talisman John Isner looming.

The latter two could face each other in the second round, provided they get past a qualifier or lucky loser and Peter Gojowczyk in their respective openers.

Ninth seed Andrey Rublev and Canadian 19th seed Denis Shapovalov are also in this section of the draw, and are projected to face each other in the third round.

Down at the bottom of the draw, Rafael Nadal begins against Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata, but could then face some tricky opponents in his path to a men’s record-breaking 23rd Major singles title.

In the second round he’ll face either Aslan Karatsev or Fabio Fognini, who remains the only man to ever beat the Spaniard from two-sets-to-love down at a Major, doing so right here at Flushing Meadows in 2015.

Then in the last 32 he could face either Serbian Miomor Kecmanovic or French veteran Richard Gasquet, before a possible last 16 showdown against either 14th seed Diego Schwartzman or Americans Jack Sock or Francis Tiafoe, who is seeded 22nd.

Without any major upsets, the projected men’s quarter-finals onwards are as follows:

[1] Daniil Medvedev vs [6] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN)
[4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs [5] Casper Ruud (NOR)
[8] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) vs [3] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)
[7] Cameron Norrie (GBR) vs [2] Rafael Nadal (ESP)

[1] Daniil Medvedev vs [4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
[3] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs [2] Rafael Nadal (ESP)

Championship prediction: [2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeats [1] Daniil Medvedev

Rafael Nadal receives a serve

(Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Switching over to the women’s side of things now, where top seeds Iga Swiatek and Anett Kontaveit are on opposite sides of the draw meaning they will not face each other until the final; this is also the case for third an fourth seeds Maria Sakkari and Paula Badosa.

Swiatek begins against Italian Jasmine Paolini in a match she’ll be expected to win, but could then have the crowd against her if she sets up what would be a blockbuster second round clash against 2017 champion Sloane Stephens, who is unseeded this year.

That’s only the beginning of what is a packed top half of the draw, which could see 24th seed Amanda Anisimova and former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin set up an All-American second round showdown if both win their respective first round matches.

Also in this quarter of the draw are former Major champions Jelena Ostapenko, Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova; the latter two could face each other in the third round if both win their opening two rounds as they’ll be expected to do.

Muguruza, whose form has taken a negative downturn this year, is up against Dane Clara Tauson, the same player who lost to Ashleigh Barty in the second round last year, while recent Cincinnati runner-up Kvitova faces a qualifier in her opening match.

Another Spaniard, Paula Badosa, headlines the second quarter of the draw which features former Major champions Victoria Azarenka and Naomi Osaka, as well as reigning champion Emma Raducanu and current Wimbledon titlist Elena Rybakina.

Iga Swiatek celebrates winning the French Open.

Iga Swiatek celebrates winning the French Open. (Photo by Tnani Badreddine/DeFodi Images via Getty Images )

Badosa and Azarenka are in line to face each other in the third round, with the winner potentially lining up a last-16 showdown against either former world number one Karolina Pliskova, who is seeded 22nd, or former Olympic Gold Medallist Belinda Bencic.

Raducanu, who is seeded 11th but risks dropping out of the top 80 with an early loss, begins against French veteran Alize Cornet, while the unseeded Osaka has the not-so-difficult task of facing 19th seed and Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins in the first round.

Rybakina is up against a qualifier in her first match and could face Venus Williams in the second round; that’s provided the 42-year-old American gets past Belgian Alison van Uytvanck in her opener.

Whichever of the two reaches the third round will be expected to face sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka, who like Rybakina starts her bid for a first Major title against a qualifier or lucky loser.

In the fifth section, seventh seed and one of the favourites for the title Simona Halep starts against a qualifier, and is not expected to be threatened until the fourth round where any of Madison Keys or Coco Gauff could await.

Keys and Gauff could line up another All-American clash if they both win their opening two rounds; Gauff, who is the higher-ranked of the two, faces a qualifier in her opening match.

Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff (Jason Heidrich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Resurgent Australian Daria Saville is in this part of the draw and could face Gauff in the second round if she beats Elena-Gabriela Ruse in her first match.

Third seed Maria Sakkari, the highest-ranked player in the third quarter, faces a first-round rematch against Germany’s Tatjana Maria, the same player who knocked her out of Wimbledon last month with a straight-sets victory.

Former champion Bianca Andreescu, who like Naomi Osaka is also unseeded, is also in this section of the draw and could face, in this order, Beatriz Haddad Maia, recent Cincinnati champion Caroline Garcia, and Sakkari in the second, third and fourth rounds respectively.

Further down the draw, fifth seed Ons Jabeur is up against American Madison Brengle in the first round, and should enjoy a relatively smooth ride to the quarter-finals where she is projected to face second seed Anett Kontaveit.

Kontaveit headlines a packed bottom section of the draw which could have her facing Serena Williams, who is contesting her farewell championships before retirement, in the second round.

Williams, soon to turn 41, has a protected ranking and faces Danka Kovinic in the first match of the final professional tournament of her distinguished career that has lasted a quarter of a century.

Former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, and last year’s surprise finalist Leylah Fernandez, will be expected to line up a third round clash against each other with three qualifiers or lucky losers standing in their way of doing so.

Without any major upsets, the projected women’s quarter-finals onwards are as follows:

[1] Iga Swiatek vs [8] Jessica Pegula (USA)
[4] Paula Badosa (ESP) vs [6] Aryna Sabalenka
[7] Simona Halep (ROU) vs [3] Maria Sakkari (GRE)
[5] Ons Jabeur (TUN) vs [2] Anett Kontaveit (EST)

[1] Iga Swiatek vs [4] Paula Badosa (ESP)
[3] Maria Sakkari (GRE) vs [2] Anett Kontaveit (EST)

Championship prediction: [1] Iga Swiatek defeats [2] Anett Kontaveit (EST)

The men’s top half (featuring Daniil Medvedev) and women’s bottom half (Serena Williams) will begin on Tuesday morning (AEST); followed by the men’s bottom half (Rafael Nadal) and women’s top half (Iga Swiatek) getting underway on Wednesday morning (AEST).

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