US Open: Djokovic overwhelming favourite, Serena targets 24th Grand Slam

In a major delight for tennis fans across the globe, the US Open will become the first Grand Slam of the Covid-19 era when it begins on Monday in a spectator-less bubble at the Flushing Meadows, New York.

Novak Djokovic, fresh from his recent Cincinnati Masters title, will be seeking his 18th Grand Slam in a roster that misses Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the first time since the 1999 edition of the tournament. The Serbian launches his bid for a fourth US Open crown at Arthur Ashe Stadium as he squares off with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 107th-ranked Damir Dzumhur.

Austrian second seed Dominic Thiem, third-seeded 2019 US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev of Russia, Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and German fifth seed Alexander Zverev are also in the fray. Britain’s Andy Murray also could pose a threat as he lurks in Thiem’s quarter of the draw.

Indian fans too have something to be excited about the tournament. India’s number one singles player Sumit Nagal could face Thiem in the next round if he clears American Bradley Klahn in his opening contest.

It will be second straight US Open singles main draw for Nagal, who came through the qualifiers last year and played a memorable match against Federer.

The tournament will also witness Indian veterans Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan feature at the event. While Bopanna will partner with Denis Shapovalov, Sharan has been tagged with Nikola Cacic in the men’s doubles event.

Meanwhile, in the women’s field, Serena Williams will be eyeing a 24th Grand Slam which will equal Margaret Court’s all-time record. World No.1 Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Cincinnati Masters due to a hamstring injury which puts her out of the reckoning in the main draw. World number two Simona Halep is missing along with reigning US Open champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada and Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens and Belinda Bencic.

However, it’s not going to be easy for 38-year-old Williams, who could meet 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the third round, Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the semi-finals and potentially Czech top seed Karolina Pliskova in the final.

Considering the ongoing situation, the tournament has decided to dismiss the mixed doubles event for the year.

All the action from the tournament can be watched live on the Star Sports Network.