Tennis: Defending champ Alcaraz could face Sinner in US Open quarter-finals

AFP , Thursday 24 Aug 2023

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz could face a quarter-final rematch against Jannik Sinner at the US Open, with former champion Daniil Medvedev also in the top half of the men's draw released on Thursday.

 Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, hits a return to Tommy Paul, of the United States, during the National Bank Open men s tennis tournament Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, in Toronto. AP

 

The final Grand Slam of the season, which starts on Monday, will see three-time champion Novak Djokovic returning to Flushing Meadows after missing last year because of travel restrictions over his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

The Serbian star, seeded second behind Alcaraz, faces Alexandre Muller of France in the first round and a victory in that match will assure Djokovic of a return to number one on the world regardless of Alcaraz's performance in a tournament that will culminate with the men's final on September 10.

Alcaraz will open his title defense against Germany's Dominik Koepfer.

In 2022, Alcaraz and Sinner met in a marathon five-set quarter-final which set a record for the latest ever finish at the tournament of 2:50 in the morning.

Slumping Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is Djokovic's projected fourth-round opponent while Greek seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, beaten by Djokovic in the Australian Open final, could get a rematch against the Serb in the quarters if he can make it past the third round for the first time.

Medvedev, who lifted the trophy in 2021 to deny Djokovic a calendar Grand Slam, is seeded third and drawn in the same quarter with eighth-seeded Andrey Rublev.

Fourth seed Holger Rune and returning finalist Casper Ruud share a section in the bottom half.

Women's world number one and defending champion Iga Swiatek could find herself in a quarter-final rematch against sixth-seeded American Coco Gauff.

Swiatek holds a 7-1 head-to-head record against Gauff -- who broke through for her first win over the Polish star on the way to the title in Cincinnati last week.

Second-seeded Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka and third seed Jessica Pegula are in the bottom half, while fourth seed Elena Rybakina joins Swiatek and Gauff in the top half.

Sabalenka, who can overtake Swiatek for the number one ranking, could meet fifth-seeded Tunisian Ons Jabeur, the 2022 runner-up, in the quarter-finals.

Swiatek will open her title defense against Sweden's Rebecca Peterson, while Gauff will face a qualifier in the first round.

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