These five matchups will be awesome, if they happen. On the night a Grand Slam draw has been “revealed” – when the dust has settled – it’s always good to take a second and third look at the thing that will become your best friend for the next two weeks. You have to weed through that mass of names with your critical eye – let the tournament unfold in your mind.
It’s a pastime. A sacred sanctuary by which we the tennis obsessed tick time. With that in mind… we probed the depths of our draws and came away with five must-watch-if-they-happen third-round matches at this year’s US Open.
We don’t know if these five matchups will come to fruition, but if they do get your popcorn ready…
1.  Borna Coric v  Carlos Alcaraz
A spirited affair between a future No.1 and a former World No.12 who is on his way back to elite? Hard to say no to that.
Coric reminded us all that he is an absolute beast on many levels with the way he won the Cincy title last week. Will Coric – and his recently repaired shoulder – be able to keep the same form in New York?
Meanwhile, Alcaraz, perpetually on the rise, is nowhere close to his ceiling. In 2022, he’s 44-9 in 2022 with four titles, including two at the Masters 1000 level – remarkable for a 19-year-old.
2.  Caroline Garcia v  Beatriz Haddad Maia
First, let’s take a moment to recognize how insane it is that Haddad Maia and Garcia have basically been the WTA’s best players for the last three months. The pair are a combined 45-11 since the start of June, WITH FIVE TITLES!
It would be tremendous if these two phenoms met for the first time in week one.
3.  Ons Jabeur v  Shelby Rogers
Two of the warmest people in tennis, both of them having great seasons, what could go wrong?
Probably not much. This would be a high-octane tilt, given Jabeur’s prowess and status on tour, and the fact that the Tunisian has never been beyond the third round at the US Open.
Rogers, meanwhile, has reached the quarterfinals and the round of 16 in her last two appearances in Flushing Meadows. The American comes to life at the US Open and Jabeur would have to be good to beat her.
Head to Head: Jabeur leads the h2h 2-0 but their last meeting went to a third-set tiebreak at Cincinnati in 2019.
4.  Diego Schwartzman v  Frances Tiafoe
Frances Tiafoe is going to do big things at the US Open one day. Maybe even one day this year. But if Diego Schwartzman is standing in his way in the third round, The 24th-ranked American will have to work like a maniac to reach the second week for the third straight year.
These two have recent history. The pair conducted three spirited meetings in 2021, with the Argentine winning the first two (in three sets) and Tiafoe taking the third (in straights). This tilt, if it happens, would be all about vibe, intensity, showmanship and shotmaking.
5.  Elena Rybakina v  Aryna Sabalenka
Strictly because we want these two behemoths to teach all of us weaklings how to hit the cover off a tennis ball. Picture winners whizzing every which way and balls careening into the stands, as wide-eyed children duck and adults gasp. It would be a workout just to watch it.