Tennis: Medvedev handed tough draw for US Open title defence

Daniil Medvedev faces major hurdles on the path to a second Grand Slam title. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Top seed Daniil Medvedev will open his US Open title defence on Monday (Aug 29) against American Stefan Kozlov but faces major hurdles on the path to a second Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows, including in-form Australian Nick Kyrgios.

While Medvedev will not be looking too far ahead, fans certainly will at the prospect of an enthralling fourth-round showdown between the Russian and Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios who beat the world No. 1 in three sets in Montreal this month.

The bottom half of the draw also throws up a potential mouth-watering all-Spanish clash between second seed Rafael Nadal, bidding for a fifth US Open crown, and teenager Carlos Alcaraz, who last year became the youngest man to reach the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal, who could leave New York with the world No. 1 ranking if he can lift a 23rd Grand Slam trophy, will meet Australian Rinky Hijikata in the first round while third seed Alcaraz takes on Argentinian Sebastian Baez.

Also standing in his way are seventh seed Cameron Norrie, the top-ranked Briton who faces an opening clash against France's Benoit Paire, and ninth seed Andrey Rublev.

Greek fourth seed and Monte Carlo winner Stefanos Tsitsipas has never got past the third round at Flushing Meadows but may run into last year's Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini in the fourth round if he can find his form on the famed blue courts.

French Open finalist Casper Ruud could land on the wrong side of the home crowd in his quarter-final match, with top American and Indian Wells winner Taylor Fritz a potential fourth-round opponent.

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