While Carlos Alcaraz is the clear favourite to advance from this half of the draw, Jannik Sinner will be hoping to spoil the party. The Italian has gotten very close on occasions to spoiling the party for the big players, most notably here where he led 2-1 in sets before falling to defeat in a five hour epic with eventual champion Alcaraz. Sinner plays Yannick Hanfmann, in what should be a routine opener for the sixth seed.
While a shock loss to Dusan Lajovic in Cincinnati will have been a bit of a dampener, Sinner comes into New York with a Masters title to his name from Canada. He took advantage of a kind draw to win it, beating Alex de Minaur in the final in straight sets. The Italian remains probably the best clean ballstriker on the tour but his inability to put away big opponents at the slams will plague him until he achieves otherwise.
Hanfmann achieved a career high heading into Wimbledon but the German has struggled since, even with losses on his preferred clay. He is 0-3 on North American hard courts this year, most recently losing to Juan Manuel Cerundolo in three sets in Winston Salem just last week.
An opener against a clay specialist should allow Sinner to ease his way into the event ahead of tougher matches in the coming fortnight. Although overwhelmed once he got there, Sinner did make his first slam semi final at Wimbledon and will hope to ride that wave through to the latter stages. Although Hanfmann can hit big himself, he is unlikely to be able to match Sinner for both pace and consistency in this one – especially over five sets.
Prediction – Jannik Sinner in straight sets