Both Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev are already U.S. Open champions and one will put himself a win away from a second triumph in New York when they go head-to-head on Friday night. It’s Alcaraz (the defending champion) vs. Medvedev (the 2021 winner), with the winner to battle either Novak Djokovic or Ben Shelton for the title on Sunday. They have faced each other on three previous occasions. Medvedev rolled through their first meeting 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, but Alcaraz has rolled twice already this season (6-3, 6-2 in the Indian Wells final and 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the Wimbledon semis).
As hopeless as Medvedev looked in that pair of 2023 encounters, he should have a much better chance at the U.S. Open. The surface was too slow for him at the Indian Wells Masters; it was too fast and low bouncing for him at Wimbledon.
Conditions in New York, however, are just right for the Russian. This is without question his favorite tournament, as he was runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2019 and crushed Novak Djokovic in straight sets for the title in 2021. Medvedev is back in the semis following defeats of Attila Balazs, Christopher O’Connell, Sebastian Baez, Alex de Minaur, and Andrey Rublev.
Of course, Alcaraz also loves this event. The 20-year-old is two wins away from successful title defense after beating Dominik Koepfer, Lloyd Harris, Dan Evans, Matteo Arnaldi, and Alexander Zverev. He surrendered only one set to Evans on his way to the last four.
Although many pundits are forecasting an Alcaraz beatdown, this actually should be a great match. Medvedev will surely learn from his mistakes at the All-England Club and play with more aggression–and closer to the baseline. That will likely work for a while and give him a better chance than he had at either the Indian Wells Masters or Wimbledon, but will be enough? Probably not.
Look for Alcaraz to have too much firepower in the end and set up what will most likely be another showdown against Djokovic.
Pick: Alcaraz in 5