THE 2022 US Open kicks off tonight with the world’s best tennis players to converge on Flushing Meadows. Both fields are wide open and we take a look who the favourites and contenders are, as well as some of the first round matches to watch.
World number one Daniil Medvedev has been nominated as the favourite for the men’s singles, especially minus Novak Djokovic who is unable to beat due to the United States’ vaccination policy. Medvedev’s biggest challenge will come in the likely fourth round with Australian Nick Kyrgios. The Aussie knocked off Medvedev at Wimbledon and will be keen to do it again, but before he gets there, he faces American Stefan Kozlov then a Frenchman in either Arthur Rinderknech or Quentin Halys. Out of form Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili awaits in the third round, while Felix Auger-Aliassime is in line to be Medvedev’s quarter final opponent if the Russian can get there. The world number one is deserving favourite, and the reigning champion.
Up the other half of the draw, Spanish duo Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz are other top contenders. Second seed Nadal is already up to a record 22 Grand Slam titles and would love to move further away from Djokovic and Roger Federer. Nadal will take on Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata in the first round, with an incredible potential second round opponent of either former Top 20 players Fabio Fognini and Aslan Karatsev. Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic is a possible third round opponent, with Nadal having a soft draw to the quarter finals before tackling either seventh seed Cameron Norrie or ninth seed Andrey Rublev and then Alcaraz in the semi-finals. Alcaraz takes on Sebastian Baez in the opening round, with the dangerous Borna Coric a potential third round opponent.
Kyrgios – who takes on close mate Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round – has a tougher draw with Ugo Humbert and Roberto Bautista Agut like opponents prior to Medvedev. Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is also among the top contenders, lining up against Daniel Elahi Galan in the first round and falling into Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud‘s quarter as potential fourth round and quarter finals opponents.
First round matches to watch:
 Nick Kyrgios (AUS) vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)
Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs. Aslan Karatsev (RUS)
 Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) vs. [WC] Dominic Thiem (AUT)
Jack Draper (GBR) vs. Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN)
 Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) vs. David Goffin (BEL)
Polish world number one Iga Swiatek enters Flushing Meadows as the player to beat, coming off her second French Open. Yet to win a major on a surface other than clay, Swiatek will look horns with talented Italian Jasmine Paolini in the opening round. A blockbuster second round clash with Sloane Stephens is mouth-watering, while 28th seed Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova is a potential third round opponent. Swiatek has fallen in the quarter of the draw that features the likes of Jelena Ostapenko, Garbine Muguruza and Jessica Pegula with Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa among the likely semi-finals opponents if she can get there.
After some fantastic recent form, experienced Romanian and Grand Slam winner Simona Halep is among the contenders alongside Roland Garros runner-up Coco Gauff, Sabalenka and the most in-form player on Tour, Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia. The women’s singles field is always wide open, as emphasised by Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina‘s victory at the All-England club. Along with the Kazakh, Tunisian Ons Jabeur is also a sneaky chance to win her first Grand Slam title.
Seventh seed Halep will face US Open debutant, Ukrainian qualifier Daria Snigur, with Swiss hope Jil Teichmann a possible third round opponent. Gauff and Halep could face off in the Round of 16, with Garcia in that quarter of the draw and taking on lucky loser Kamilla Rakhimova. Gauff will meet French qualifier Leolia Jeanjean, while past US Open winner Bianca Andreescu has been drawn in the same section and if the Canadian gets through Garcia is a likely third round opponent. Though not likely to do too much damage, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams begins her final campaign of her illustrious career taking on Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic with second seed Anett Kontaveit awaiting in the second round.
First round matches to watch:
 Jelena Ostapenko vs. Qinwen Zheng (CHN)
 Garbine Muguruza vs. Clara Tauson (CAN)
 Emma Raducanu (GBR) vs. Alize Cornet (FRA)
 Danielle Collins (USA) vs. Naomi Osaka (JPN)
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Danka Kovinic (MNE)