Nick Kyrgios facing Thanasi Kokkinakis in US Open first round, Serena Williams could meet second seed in second round

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis have been drawn collectively in a bittersweet first-round encounter on the US Open for the chums and double companions.

In a Flushing Meadows males’s subject with out Novak Djokovic resulting from his unvaccinated standing, Rafael Nadal will open his bid to match him with a twenty third grand slam title in opposition to Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata when the primary draw kicks off on Monday.

Friends Kyrgios and Kokkinakis have been pitted in opposition to one another in a troublesome quarter, which additionally options Russian high seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev, who Kyrgios just lately beat in Montreal.

The Australian Open-winning pair, who may even be looking for a 3rd title of the yr collectively in the lads’s doubles, have by no means performed in opposition to every on the primary tour, although Kyrgios did win their two lower-level encounters once they had been up-and-coming teenagers.

Kyrgios is seeded twenty third and is one of many favourites for the title after his run to the Wimbledon last and subsequent victory in Washington, however he has a minefield draw.

If he beats Kokkinakis, he’ll probably play harmful French leftie Ugo Humbert in the second round and battle-hardened sixteenth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the third, earlier than a doable match-up with Medvedev.

But the entire males’s subject will really feel their possibilities have been lifted by the absence of Djokovic, who introduced on social Media lower than two hours earlier than the behind-closed-doors draw that he wouldn’t be coming to New York.

US guidelines wouldn’t enable the Serb, who continues to be unvaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, to enter the nation to bid for a fourth US title, opening up an enormous alternative for second seed Nadal to get his fifth crown at Arthur Ashe.

So Hijikata, the 21-year-old prospect from Sydney who has been handed a wildcard as a part of US tennis’s reciprocal association with their Aussie counterparts, has a dream — or doubtlessly nightmarish — encounter first up.

Alex de Minaur, the Australian primary and 18th seed, will open in opposition to Serbian Filip Krajinovic.

And there’s one other all-Australian conflict first up, with James Duckworth assembly fellow Sydneysider Chris O’Connell, whereas the in-form Jason Kubler will purpose to proceed his breakthrough yr by beating Sweden’s Mikael Ymer.

In the ladies’s draw, all eyes had been on 40-year-old Serena Williams’s first opponent, at what is predicted to be the final event of Williams’s profession.

She will face Montenegro’s world quantity 80, Danka Kovinic, with a possible second-round encounter in opposition to quantity two seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.

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