Andy Murray and Ash Barty pay tribute to each other
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Andy Murray will open his US Open campaign with a blockbuster first-round clash against the third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 2012 US Open champion also has the likes of young Russian top-ten players Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev in his half of the draw. Meanwhile, world No.1 Novak Djokovic – the man Murray beat in the final nine years ago – lies on the other half with Alexander Zverev, meaning they can only meet Murray in the final.
Murray will have a tough test right off the bat as he faces Tsitsipas in the first round, with the world No.3 recently making his maiden Grand Slam final at Roland Garros.
Though the Greek is the third seed at Flushing Meadows, he has never made the second week there, with his best performance being a third-round showing last year, as he fell to Borna Coric in five sets despite holding six match points.
If the three-time Grand Slam champion can overcome the 23-year-old in the first round, he will face a Frenchman in round two – the winner of an opening round clash between Adrian Mannarino and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, with the latter having partnered Murray for doubles at Wimbledon in 2019.
It could be a battle of the Brits in round three if Murray makes it to the last 32, with 26th seed Cam Norrie lurking.
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Norrie himself faces a difficult opener against Carlos Alcaraz.
The 18-year-old is ranked world No.53 but has seriously impressed on the tour this year, winning his maiden title at the ATP 250 in Umag and earning comparisons with 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal for his playing style.
If Murray defies the odds and makes it to the second week, he could face either 16th seed and five-time ATP title winner Cristian Garin or 23rd seed and three-time ATP title winner Ugo Humbert.
The highest seed in Murray’s quarter, after his first-round opponent Tsitsipas, is fifth seed Rublev, a likely quarter-finals opponent.
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The opposite half of Murray’s quarter is stacked with talented names who could storm to the last eight, including 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime who ended Murray’s campaign in the second round of the US Open last year.
Roberto Bautista-Agut and Filip Krajinovic are the other seeds on that side of the quarter, at 18th and 32nd respectively, while dangerous Aussie Nick Kyrgios also finds himself in Murray’s quarter.
World No.2 Daniil Medvedev would be Murray’s most likely semi-final opponent, with the Russian having recently won the Masters 1000 in Toronto, making him the second favourite for the title after Novak Djokovic.
Murray can only face his long-time rival Djokovic in the final if both of them get there, with the world No.1 looking to pull ahead of long-time rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal by winning a men’s record 21st Major.
A win in New York would also make Djokovic the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win a Calendar Grand Slam.
The world No.1 has been drawn in the same half as Alexander Zverev, the fourth seed and his recent Olympics conqueror, so if Murray is to make the final he could instead face last year’s runner-up.
Matteo Berrettini and Denis Shapovalov are also lurking in the opposite half of the draw as potential finals opponents, with the pair having made a maiden Grand Slam final and maiden Slam semi-final appearances respectively at Wimbledon last month.
Murray has only won the US Open once before when he defeated then-defending champion Djokovic 7-6(10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 to win his maiden Slam title.
However, the 34-year-old is now ranked much lower than he was in 2012, when he entered the tournament as the third seed.
The Brit has spent the last few years struggling with injuries, most notably undergoing hip resurfacing surgery in 2019, and has worked his way back up to world No 114.
He managed to defeat 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili and qualifier Oscar Otte at Wimbledon last month before falling to world No.10 Shapovalov in the third round.
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