If Roger Federer is going to win his record-setting sixth US Open, he will likely have to go through world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to do it.
A potential Federer-Djokovic semifinal clash highlighted the 2019 tournament draw released Thursday. Play begins Monday.
To meet, they’ll have to survive a tough half of the bracket that includes 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan (world No. 7), surging Russian youngster Daniil Medvedev (No. 5), Dominic Thiem of Austria (No. 4), Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain (No. 10), 2016 winner Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland and 2017 runner-up Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
Djokovic, 32, has won three US Open titles among his 16 career Grand Slam titles and is the defending champion in New York. The Serbian star won Wimbledon in June, defeating Federer in an epic five-set battle. He is the top seed in the tournament, with Federer (world No. 3) seeded third.
Federer, 38, is tied with Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras for most US Open championships in the Open Era. In his final tuneup for New York, he lost to Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev in straight sets last week in Cincinnati.
Djokovic and Federer have faced off six times at the US Open, with all the matches in the semifinals or finals.
No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal of Spain will open against Australian John Millman, ranked No. 61 in the world. His half of the bracket includes 2014 champ Marin Cilic of Croatia, American John Isner, and world top 10 players Alexander Zverev (No. 6) of Germany, Stefanos Tsitsipas (No. 8) of Greece and Russian Karen Khachanov (No. 9).
Perhaps the most intriguing opening-round matchup will feature a pair of young Canadians, 19-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime and 20-year-old Denis Shapovalov, who are ranked Nos. 19 and 38 in the world, respectively. They are 1-1 in previous ATP Tour matchups.