Men’s Seeds in US Open First Round Danger

Alexander Zverev Paris Masters

The draw is out for the 2020 US Open, and while most of the men’s seeds appear to have received a relatively first round, there are some that will have to be as sharp as possible from the very first point of the tournament.

Men’s Seeds in US Open First Round Danger

Alexander Zverev (5)

Kevin Anderson is one of the players you never want to see as your first-round opponent. While the South African has been struggling with injuries recently, his serve is one of the most powerful and trickiest to read on tour. Compared to other big servers like Ivo Karlovic or John Isner, Anderson also has a way better and consistent ground game. He is a former US Open runner-up, whose game thrives in medium-fast conditions. What should save Zverev, though, is the best-of-five nature of a Grand Slam event. After what we’ve seen of Anderson last week, it seems unlikely that he keeps up a decent level over a potentially more-than-three-hour-long clash.

David Goffin (7)

This is hypothetical, as we know do not know whether Reilly Opelka will be match-fit again in just a couple of days. The big-serving American retired up 6-5 in the first set against Stefanos Tsitsipas in “Cincinnati,” struggling with a right knee injury. The last couple of games didn’t bode well for Opelka’s recovery, but modern medicine can sometimes do wonders. If Opelka is ready for this first-round clash, he will be dangerous to Goffin for the same reasons Anderson can take on Zverev. The American played well last week the slightly faster conditions suit his game. On top of that, Goffin is certainly not playing the best tennis of his life at the moment.

Karen Khachanov (11)

One of the examples where we can’t know for sure whether his Western & Southern Open poor disposition is just small sample size, or a sign of being out of shape after the break. Jannik Sinner was upset by his countryman Salvatore Caruso in the first round of qualifying there, but he should still be considered a very dangerous floater against pretty much any seed. The young Italian seems to have slowed down a bit in 2020, but his exceptional ball-striking ability and crazy acceleration out of nowhere are just as deadly on a good day. Khachanov also likes to lead the play. One thing is certain here: balls will be flying really, really fast.

Dusan Lajovic (18)

Let’s face the facts: Lajovic is over-ranked at the moment. About 50% of his ranking points still come from last year’s clay-court season, and it’s been a year since he’s played at the level that he showcased in Monte Carlo and Umag. The Serbian is a solid baseliner but lacks the ability to score big wins and shouldn’t be treated as an actual contender for the later rounds here. Should he still be considered the favorite against Egor Gerasimov? Probably, but don’t underestimate the 27-year-old Belorussian. Gerasimov has been making steady progress and peaked just before the pandemic, finishing runner-up in Pune and taking down David Goffin in Marseille.

Nikoloz Basilashvili (22)

The Georgian is haunted by personal problems, facing a criminal trial for domestic assault against his wife. Basilashvili was released on bail while the investigation is still ongoing. As with pretty much any sport, to play your best game your mind needs to be clear of any distractions. That will almost certainly not be the case for Basilashvili, who’s also one of the players with the tendency to overhit and put up terrible performances in which he cannot find his game at all. John Millman is a former quarterfinalist at the US Open, and his counter-punching style is designed to punish just that.

Guido Pella (29)

The Argentinian didn’t play the Western & Southern Open and might be coming in pretty undercooked. Since it was announced that J.J. Wolf will be granted a wild card to the main draw, we knew he would be a very dangerous floater. The 21-year-old had a fantastic start to the season, taking two Challenger Tour titles. A former college tennis star for the Ohio State University, Wolf is following a cautious career path. All that is finally paying off with the recognition from the USTA and a wild card to the US Open. His deadly forehand will definitely test Pella’s form. If the Argentinian is quite rusty, it should be enough to take advantage.

Main Photo from Getty.