Updated: Aug 29
We listed five players seeded #21 or lower on the men's draw who could cause havoc in your brackets!
The US Open is about to start and we cannot wait to watch all the great matches that are bound to take place in the coming week with you. The US Open is the last grand slam of the year and the draw has provided us with some fireworks on the men's side. But as everyone is talking about a potential 23rd grand slam for Nadal or the potential Alcaraz - Sinner matchup, we want to shed some light on some players that are not the highest in ranking but sure can be very dangerous to any player when on their form. You might call them "underdogs", "floaters" or even "dark horses" but either way here are five players from the men's draw that are bound to shred your fantasy brackets and create an upset or two in the first week:
1. Adrian Mannarino
34 Years old
Currently ranked 65th
Best US Open: 3rd Round (4x)
Adrian Mannarino is a bit of an enigma. The 34-year-old Frenchman has always been a formidable grass player, with the 2019 's Hertogenbosch title as a highlight of his career, but recently he has found his best form on other surfaces too, especially the harder courts. In the past week he put up a show in Winston-Salem which led to him winning his second ATP over Laslo Đere. On the road to that final, he beat another player in hot form in Maxime Cressy and also demolished second seed van de Zandschulp in the semi’s.
Mannarino needs to overcome his 0-19 record against Top 10 players at grand slams if he wants to make a deep run in this US Open but we think it’s certainly a possibility given his recent showings. The French lefty can be hit-and-miss though, very much like his idol Marcelo Ríos. Mannarino always had a good serve and excellent baseline tenacity but past week he put on a clinic only dropping serve four times throughout the whole tournament.
GTL Projected route®
R128: Gijs Brouwer (Q) R64: Lorenzo Musetti (26) R32: Hubert Hurkacz (8) R16: Jannik Sinner (11)
2. Nick Kyrgios (#23)
27 Years old
Currently ranked 26th
Best US Open: 3rd Round (4x)
We must admit, listing Nick Kyrgios as an underdog in this article feels like cheating. The Australian has been in amazing form throughout the year and rewarded his excellent display at Wimbledon with a final in which he proved no match for Novak Djokovic (who?). But it is a bit of a silly season in terms of rankings and therefore King Kyrgios enters the tournament as the 23rd seed and we get the freedom to put up another rant on why this guy might have what it takes to make another deep run.
The Canberran (?) has arguably the best serve on tour and seems to have taken control over the mental demons that sometimes haunt him during key moment in big matches. He has beaten almost every top-10 player this year and boasts a 31-9 year-record which is amongst the best on tour. Kyrgios has looked very dominant on hardcourt this season and if he keeps hitting 90%+ first serve percentages he is bound to cruise through the first rounds. His US open record however is surprisingly poor (Kyrgios never made it to the fourth round in New York) so he will be looking to improve on that.
Can he come out swinging once more in 2022? We certainly like to think so. Wherever Nick Kyrgios goes he sparks joy as well as controversy and all we can do is hope he can focus on bringing his A-game which he will need to make a run in a Grand Slam once again. His draw certainly is tough, but the Australian is one to watch out for as he can beat any player on his best days.
GTL Projected Route® The draw has been harsh, his round one opponent is his best friend Thanasi Kokkinakis. R64 Ugo Humbert R32 Roberto Bautista Agut (16) <- this is going to be a banger, grab the 🍿 R16 Daniil Medvedev (1) <- another banger in the making, more popcorn needed!
3. Maxime Cressy (#30)
25 Years old
Ranked 34th in the world
Best US Open: R2 (2020, 2021)
Cressy is another very exciting player to talk about. Where we called Mannarino “a bit of an enigma” earlier, Cressy seems to have developed his own playing style completely. His consistent serve-volley plays drive opponents crazy to the point that world number one Daniil Medvedev shouted “It's simply unbelievable how lucky he is getting, it's insane I've never seen anything like it” as he was struggling with the American during their Australian open fourth round match earlier this year. Medvedev apologized later but it just shows how much players need to adapt to his style and constant pressure. If you have the chance, we strongly advise you to go and watch at least one of his matches as they provide proper entertainment and usually completely different rallies that what you are used to in singles matches.
Cressy usually thrives on grass and won his maiden ATP tour title in Newport recently but in all his matches against top players on hard court he has been competitive, beating Sock, Karatsev, Sonego and Duckworth recently. We are hyped for a breakthrough US Open in front of his home crowd with his explosive style.
GTL Projected Route®
Márton Fucsovic is the player who will try to dismantle Cressy’s serve-volley in the first round R64 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina R32 Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) R16 Matteo Berretini (13)
4. Yibing Wu (Q)
22 Years old Ranked #178
US Open debut
Chinese tennis is on the rise and Yibing Wu could become one of the frontrunners for sure! Ben and JG already named him as their top qualifier to watch and we are very excited about his potential. The 2017 US Open boys’ singles and doubles champion has a 33-4 record this year and is on a 13 match win streak which brought him a US Open main draw ticket. That 33-4 record on it’s own is already very impressive but it gets even better if we realize that three out of four losses were due to retirement. Wu beat Berankis, Travaglia and Moutet in the US Open qualifiers which is definitely not an easy route and has 5 ITF- and Challenger titles to his name, this year only.
Wu can become the highest ranked Chinese player if he does well and we think its only a matter of time before this happens. The former junior world #1 looks on hot form and no one will want to play him in the first rounds with the streak he is on. Wu is known for being able to spread the play very well and make his opponent move across the court a lot. He likes to grind the rallies and really make the guy on the other side of the net work for it. Let’s see how many opponents he can overcome In his maiden US Open. His draw gives opportunities in the first two rounds and a potential Medvedev matchup n the third round which would me an amazing stage for him to showcase his class. We are definitely on the Wu-train!
GTL Projected Route®
R128 Nicoloz Basilashvili (#31) R64 Ben Shelton R32 Daniil Medvedev (#1)
R16 Nick Kyrgios (#23)
#5 Borna Coric (#25)
25 Years old Ranked #29 in the world Best US Open: Quarter Finals (2020)
Borna Coric is the man of the moment. The talk of the town. A former top talent on a mission this US Open! A lot of people, Ben and JG included, consider him one of the most dangerous players to face given his recent form. Coric always has had this air of promise around him but has been held back by numerous injuries. However, those struggles seem to be forgotten now as he clinched his maiden title in Cincinatti last week, beating Tsitsipas, Norrie, Felix, Bautista Agut, Musetti and Nadal. That is a pretty stellar list of names and he is ready to take some more scalps this tournament.
Coric' talent is indisputable and his recent wins showed again why he was named ATP "Star of Tomorrow" in 2014. It's crazy to think that his first ATP title was already 5 years ago and was ranked as high as 12th in November 2018. The draw has been quite alright for him, with a qualifier in round one and potentially Brooksby in round 2. Can the Croatian continue his hot streak and take some names in the US Open too? We will have to find out but the potential matchup with Alcaraz is one many tennis fans will be looking out for!
Do you agree with our picks? Let us know in the poll who you see causing the biggest upsets or tell us if you have another player in mind. Looking for more insights on the US Open? Check out the Men's Draw Preview by GTL Hosts JG&Ben from yesterday!
That is all for now, hope we see you for at least one of our many watchalongs this US Open so we can enjoy the great game of tennis together.