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Five ATP Tour players to watch this hard-court season

With the dust now settled after Wimbledon, attentions turn to next month's US Open and world number one Carlos Alcaraz will be hoping to follow up his Grand Slam victory at the All England Club with a successful title defence at Flushing Meadows.

Alcaraz defeated Novak Djokovic in a thrilling five-set finale to land the spoils at Wimbledon in July and the Spanish sensation has no concern translating that form to a hard court having overcome Casper Ruud 6-4 2-6 7-6 6-3 to take last season's US Open crown.

The 20-year-old is 6/5 to defend his title, with Djokovic 6/4, but with ATP Masters 1000 events also upcoming from Toronto and Cincinnati in August, there is plenty more at stake during this hard-court season than just major honours.

With that in mind, we have picked out four ATP Tour players alongside Alcaraz that should be watched closely in their pursuit of success during this hard-court swing.

WhatUS Open
WhereBillie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, New York
WhenMonday 28th August - Sunday 10th September, 2023
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming and Sky Sports
OddsCarlos Alcaraz 6/5, Novak Djokovic 6/4, Daniil Medvedev 9/2

Alcaraz tough to knock in US Open title defence

Alcaraz is the future of ATP Tour tennis and he lived up to that billing when downing 23-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic, who was chasing his fifth consecutive Wimbledon win, in the final of the London major last month.

That was only a second Grand Slam victory in the career of the 20-year-old but there is evidently plenty more to come, especially when Djokovic and Nadal choose to follow in the footsteps of the great Roger Federer and down tools.

Alcaraz won his maiden major at the US Open last year and he is a strong favourite to repeat the feat this season. His credentials look even stronger when you consider Djokovic tends to falter come the end of a campaign and has won the States Slam on only three occasions, and not since 2018.

So while the gifted Spaniard could prove vulnerable in the marquee warm-up events in Toronto and Cincinnati, his performances are likely to peak for Flushing Meadows and at 6/5 there will be plenty of punters willing to weigh in with their support.

Medvedev hoping to end successful season on a high

Last season was deemed a disaster for Daniil Medvedev but the Russian has responded well to those setbacks and the world number three will be hoping to finish the campaign on the frontfoot.

Medvedev is the exact definition of a hard-court specialist with 18 of his 20 career titles coming on the faster surface, four of which have come during this season - he managed only two title victories in 2022.

The 27-year-old's greatest achievement came at the US Open in 2021, when he claimed the title at the expense of Djokovic, and his run to the semi-final of Wimbledon this summer bodes well for him in his repeat bid - he is 9/2 to take Alcaraz's crown.

Medvedev has landed two Master 1000 titles already this season in Miami and Rome and he won the Canadian Open in 2021 so, if Alcaraz falters, he may be most likely to prosper.

Ruud not to be underestimated

Clay may be the favourite terrain of two-time French Open runner-up Ruud, but the Norwegian is no one-trick pony and was also a finalist in the US equivalent last year. 

Ruud was no match for Alcaraz then but it was a fine effort from the world number four, who has claimed hard-court silverware before and is still on the improve at 24 years of age. 

Prior to finishing runner-up at Flushing Meadows last season, Ruud had made the semi-final of the Canadian Open, which further enhances his versatility regarding the surface, so odds of 18/1 about him going one better may underestimate him.

Rune is the real deal

The man most expected to serve up the challenge to Alcaraz's dominance in the years to come is world number six Holger Rune and it is easy to see why.

The 20-year-old Danish talent is excellent on the defence and has a high-energy game that suits any surface, something which would be sure to see him compete for Grand Slam silverware in the years to come.

Rune had made back-to-back Grand Slam quarter-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon while his biggest success to date came on a hard court in the Paris Masters last season.

Winning the US Open may prove beyond Rune at this stage of his career but it would be disappointing if he didn't at least make his presence felt in competitions in Toronto and Cincinnati.

Sinner edging closer to a big prize

Jannik Sinner is a seven-time winner on the ATP Tour and while a big pot may still evade him, it is only a matter of time until the Italian gets his day in the sun.

The 21-year-old broke new ground at Wimbledon most recently, making the semi-final having previously lost in all four of his Grand Slam quarter-final appearances.

One of those quarter-final runs came at last season's US Open when the big-serving Monte Carlo resident lost out in a five-set epic to eventual champion Alcaraz.

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