With Novak Djokovic out, Daniil Medvedev is the favorite to win the 2022 U.S. Open and successfully defend his title. However, Medvedev does not have the easiest road to back-to-back glory after the draw was revealed on Thursday afternoon.
The world No. 1 could meet Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round, while Felix Auger-Aliassime is a potential quarterfinal foe and Stefanos Tsitsipas is also in the top half of the bracket. But will Medvedev-Kyrgios even happen? The Wimbledon runner-up has to go up against good friend and doubles partner Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round. Montreal champion and two-time U.S. Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta is also in Medvedev’s quarter. Speaking of blockbuster first-rounders, Carreno Busta will kick off his campaign against 2020 champion Dominic Thiem.
Tsitsipas doesn’t have an easy path to the semis, either. The fourth-seeded Greek could run into several big servers along the way, including Maxime Cressy in the third round, Matteo Berrettini in the last 16, and Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals. Casper Ruud is the other top-eight seed in that section, but based on current form and hard-court prowess it is more likely that Fritz or fellow American Tommy Paul advances.
Of the top four seeds, Nadal has by far the best draw. The four-time winner in New York finds himself in a weak bottom quarter of the bracket and even his half of that quarter is weaker than the other half. Assuming he is 100 percent from a physical standpoint, Nadal should waltz into the last eight before likely running into either Cameron Norrie, Andrey Rublev, Denis Shapovalov, or John Isner.
An all-Spanish semifinal between Nadal and Alcaraz is possible. Alcaraz made a run to the quarterfinals last summer, which was shocking at the time. Fast forward 12 months and the 19-year-old is among the title favorites. In fact, he even has a mathematical chance to become No. 1 in the world following the U.S. Open. Alcaraz’s path to the semis could include Cincinnati champ Borna Coric (third round), 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic (fourth round), and either Hubert Hurkacz or Jannik Sinner (quarterfinals).
The entire draw will be finalized on Friday after qualifying action wraps up. Main-draw competition begins next Monday.