The big three

Rafael Nadal , Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have all featured in either the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati Masters finals this month, so bank on the usual suspect reaching the latter stages of the US Open.

Defending champion Nadal’s victory in Toronto a fortnight ago is the only tournament he has entered since his marathon Wimbledon semi-final defeat to Djokovic last month.

The Spaniard is certainly well rested after, excluding the clay-court season, reserving himself almost exclusively for Grand Slams this year.

His 2017 victory in New York came when Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray did not even enter the tournament, though, while Federer did not progress further than the quarter-finals.

Federer has drifted out to third favourite to win this title himself after defeat to Djokovic in the Cincinnati Masters final.

The five-time champion’s failure to overcome Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon quarter-finals inevitably resulted in speculation as to whether he is finally in decline.

Whether true or not, losing to the Serb in straight sets in a hard-court final is a fair indicator that victory at Flushing Meadows may be beyond him, particularly after the two were drawn to potentially face each other in the quarter-finals.

The victor of that last-eight tie could well determine the winner of the competition, which leaves Djokovic as the fair favourite to claim the title for himself.

He began to rediscover his best form as back as May, reaching the semi-final and quarter-final of the Italian Open and French Open respectively, before triumphing at Wimbledon.

His most recent victory over Federer in Cincinnati serves as yet more evidence that he is enjoying his tennis again, and can win back-to-back slams in the next fortnight.

Novak Djokovic to win the US Open
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The best of the rest

While the outright winner is unlikely to come from the rest of the field, there are a few challengers who can at least outperform their price.

Juan Martin del Potro is the chief candidate, having reached the quarter-final in four of his last five slams, and the semi-final at this event 12 months ago.

Only an in-form Nadal stopped him on that occasion, a result that was replicated in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in July.

Though the two have been drawn in the same half again, don’t rule out the Argentinian from finally ending that sequence. He could be of interest each-way.

Another to watch out for is John Isner , who reached the second week of a major for the first time at Wimbledon.

Having won the Atlanta Open at the end of July, the big-server can replicate that run to the semi-finals on his home turf.

Marin Cilic suffered a shock second-round defeat at Wimbledon, before running into Nadal and Djokovic at subsequent events. He should be avoided.

Alexander Zverev has never progressed beyond the second round of this event, while there is no chance that Andy Murray has the fitness levels to go all the way.

Back Juan Martin Del Potro each-way
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