New York: No matches have been played yet at the U.S. Open, which doesn't begin until Monday, but as the draw unfolded Thursday, Roger Federer must have felt as if he had already won something.
The withdrawal of the defending champion, Rafael Nadal, bumped Federer up to the second seed and guaranteed that he would not have to face No. 1 Novak Djokovic until the final, should they both make it.
The draw itself paved Federer an even smoother path. While Djokovic's half of the draw includes Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, the Big 4 member Andy Murray as well as No. 5 Milos Raonic and the frequent top-10 denizens John Isner and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Federer's half looks decidedly less onerous. (Also read: No Indian left in singles event of US Open)