If Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are to meet for the first time at a U.S. Open this year, it will have to be in the final.
Federer, the No. 3 seed, was placed in No. 1 Novak Djokovic‘s half of the draw. No. 2 Rafael Nadal owns the bottom half.
Federer and Nadal have met 40 times (Nadal leads 24-16) but never at the season’s final Grand Slam in New York. They met in the semifinals of the two previous majors, with Nadal advancing at the French Open and Federer winning their Wimbledon meeting.
But it’s Djokovic who is the favorite to repeat as U.S. Open champion, earn a fourth title at the event and a 17th Grand Slam singles title overall. He has won four of his last five Slams to close within four of Federer’s male record and two shy of Nadal in second place.
Djokovic’s road could include American Sam Querrey in the second round, 2016 U.S. Open champ Stan Wawrinka in the fourth and red-hot Russian Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals.
Federer has a less accomplished quarter of the draw with no other Grand Slam winners. He could play No. 7 Kei Nishikori in the final eight.
Nadal’s section includes, possibly, 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic or the top American, No. 14 John Isner, in the fourth round. No. 6 Alexander Zverev is a potential quarterfinal opponent, and No. 4 Dominic Thiem in the semis.
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