Fortune smiles on Nadal at the US Open

Nadal, during an exhibition in New York. / ef

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The Balearic will fight for his fifth title in New York with a friendly team

A few minutes after Novak Djokovic announced that he will not be able to participate in the US Open, due to his refusal to be vaccinated and due to the laws that prevail in the United States and that do not allow unvaccinated people to enter the country, the draw for the last Grand Slam of the season revealed the fate of the Spaniards.

Rafael Nadal, who goes to the US Open after overcoming the abdominal injury that has kept him in the dry dock for a month and a half, found himself with a friendly draw and in which the great stumbling block appears in the semifinals with Carlos Alcaraz. The Balearic will debut against the Australian Rinji Hijikata, a 21-year-old invited by the organization, and on his way he could face Fabio Fognini, who came back from two sets here in 2015, or Aslan Karatsev in the second round; Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the third round; and the Argentine Diego Schwartzman or the American Frances Tiafoe in the round of 16.

In the quarterfinals, more important names appear, such as Cameron Norrie, seventh seed, Denis Shapovalov or Andrey Rublev, while for the semifinals Alcaraz would remain, who already reached the quarterfinals here last year, in which it was his first great exposure to the public.

Nadal, after the Wimbledon semifinals, in which he had to withdraw due to an abdominal injury, accumulates an untouchable 17-0 in Grand Slams this season, with the titles of Australia and Roland Garros behind him. In New York he has won four times, this being his second most successful major, after Paris. The last one was in 2019, when he defeated Daniil Medvedev, current champion this year.

Djokovic will not play the US Open

However, the one from Manacor this year arrives with little preparation for the American tour, since he had to drop out of the Masters 1,000 in Canada to recover 100% of his abdominal and in Cincinnati he only lasted one match, since he lost the first of change with the Croatian Borna Coric, ultimately champion of the tournament.

Alcaraz, the covered one

Alcaraz, who after a great first part of the season has been deflated since Roland Garros, will debut against the Argentine Sebastián Báez and would continue with the Dutch Tallon Griekspoor in the second round, Coric, in the third, this being one of the toughest crosses, and the Croatian Marin Cilic, in eighths.

In the quarterfinals he could cross paths with his executioner at Wimbledon, Jannik Sinner, and in the semifinals with Nadal. Both the Spaniard and the Murcian avoid Medvedev until the final. The clash between Alcaraz and Nadal could be the third of the season, with a win for Nadal in Indian Wells and another for Alcaraz in Madrid, and the fourth overall, with the head-to-head 2-1 in favor of the man from Manacor.

On the Spanish side, Garbiñe Muguruza will debut against the Danish Clara Tauson, number 58 in the ranking, and Paula Badosa, against the Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko, number 89 in the classification. Badosa could face Victoria Azarenka in the third round, while Muguruza could play her third match against Petra Kvitova. Both Spanish would face each other in the semifinals. This is the worst Grand Slam for both of them, since Badosa has never passed the second round and Muguruza's top is the round of 16 that she achieved in 2017 and 2021.

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