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Djokovic could face Zverev in semis, Thiem in US Open final

World number one Novak Djokovic will begin his quest for an 18th Grand Slam singles title against Bosnia and Herzegovina's Damir Dzumhur in the US Open men's draw unveiled Thursday - MATTHEW STOCKMAN / ©AFP
World number one Novak Djokovic will begin his quest for an 18th Grand Slam singles title against Bosnia and Herzegovina's Damir Dzumhur in the US Open men's draw unveiled Thursday - MATTHEW STOCKMAN / ©AFP

(AFP)

World number one Novak Djokovic’s path to a 2020 US Open title could include a semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas or Alexander Zverev under the tournament draw unveiled Thursday.

The 33-year-old Serbian star, a 17-time Grand Slam winner who has captured five of the past seven men’s singles Slam crowns, begins his quest for a fourth US Open title against Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 107th-ranked Damir Dzumhur.

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Austrian second seed Dominic Thiem, who pushed Djokovic to five sets before falling in this year’s Australian Open final, was placed on the opposite end of the bracket, setting up the possibility of a rematch in the championship match on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.

With fellow “Big Three” players Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer absent, Djokovic has a prime chance to close the gap on his record rivals in a field of 128 that is missing several standouts.

Swiss legend Federer, who is injured, owns a record 20 men’s Grand Slam titles with Spaniard Nadal, the 2019 US Open winner, next on 19.

The tournament begins Monday in a spectator-less quarantine bubble at the US National Tennis Center in New York, with COVID-19 testing and other measures designed to safeguard players from the deadly virus that forced Wimbledon to be called off.

Djokovic would meet either Britain’s Kyle Edmund or Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik in the second round with US 16th seed John Isner a potential fourth-round foe. His highest-ranked possible quarter-final opponent would be Belgian seventh seed David Goffin.

The other draw quarter in the upper half of the men’s bracket has Greek fourth seed Tsitsipas and Germany’s fifth-seeded Zverev as possible quarter-final opponents. Each young star is chasing a first Slam crown.

Tsitsipas plays his first match against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas while Zverev launches his title bid against South African Kevin Anderson.

Thiem opens against Spain’s Jaume Munar and has a possible third-round encounter with former US Open winner Marin Cilic.

Another former US Open winner, Britain’s Andy Murray, is also in Thiem’s quarter of the draw. The Scotsman opens against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka with Canadian 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime a possible second-round opponent.

Also on the bottom half of the draw, Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev, last year’s US Open runner-up, opens against Argentina’s Federico Delbonis.

The highest-seeded foe in Medvedev’s quarter of the draw is Italian sixth seed Matteo Berrettini, whose first opponent will be Japan’s Go Soeda.

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