US Open: Carlos Alcaraz must be wary of early threats in draw from hell including Jannik Sinner
While Carlos Alcaraz clearly savours his battles with Novak Djokovic he won’t be afforded the luxury of daydreaming his way to a US Open final meeting with the GOAT contender.
Alcaraz has arguably the tougher potential path to the final when compared to the expected path that Djokovic might tread to the championship match.
While he holds a 2-0 lead in the career head-to-head against his first potential seeded opponent in Dan Evans, who might meet the Spaniard in the third round, he could be in for a massive step up in quality in the rounds that follow.
Alcaraz might be made to battle past another Brit, if Cameron Norrie can live up to his No 16 seeding and reach the fourth round.
However, it is in the last eight where Alcaraz might run into trouble, especially if he doesn’t have complete focus.
Jannik Sinner owns a Grand Slam win over Alcaraz already and is among the most improved players on the tour this year and has become a hot tip to become the next first time Grand Slam champion.
Sinner is out to use his run to the title in Canada to propel him to greater heights at the Slams with his best performances being runs to the quarters at each Major.
He believes that he is maturing both physically and mentally and he could just be the man who stuns Alcaraz.
“For sure, it’s a good confidence boost, no? Especially going into the U.S. Open,” said 22-year-old Sinner, who dropped just one set en route to the title in Canada.
“I feel like for sure the confidence is going to be a little bit higher, but also my expectations are going to be higher.
“I’m also getting stronger physically, I’m growing. And I guess the combination of being fluid and flexible but also getting stronger makes you hit the ball a little bit harder.”
Sinner could be the first opponent in a tough second week for Alcaraz who has seen hard court maven Daniil Medvedev also fall in his half of the draw and the Russian stands out as a potential semi-final opponent for the world No 1.
Many will be anticipating another meeting between Djokovic and Alcaraz but that prospect might serve as a distraction that impedes the Spaniard rather than inspires him.
Given that Djokovic has no points to defend in New York, he is likely to have secured the No 1 ranking by the time the second week of the tournament rolls around.
Alcaraz will begin his title defence against Dominik Koepfer while Djokovic starts against Frenchman Alexandre Muller.
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