Five of the top-10 Men's singles stars will not be taking part in US Open 2017, starting Monday, August 28 in New York.

Defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic have ended their seasons early while Andy Murray (hip), Kei Nishikori (wrist) and Milos Raonic (wrist) have all joined the injury bandwagon, taking the sheen out of the season's last Grand Slam event.

Also read: Quarter-final prediction and seeding information

However, Flushing Meadows is gearing up for an epic showdown between newly-crowned world number one Rafael Nadal and world number three Roger Federer, who starts as favourite to win his sixth US Open crown.

Federer has been phenomenal this season, winning two major titles already -- Australian Open and Wimbledon. His record win-loss on hard-courts this season is awe-inspiring (24-2).

The 36-year-old stunned quite a few when he started dictating terms in the early-season hard-court swing as he went on to win the Australian Open, beating Nadal in a blockbuster final and followed it up with his third Sunshine Double.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer.Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

On the other hand, Nadal has been scripting his own history this season as he is back on top of the world after having a dream run on the dirt, in which he won four titles, including the French Open.

However, the two giants won't be meeting in the final in New York as they have been drawn in the same half. Nadal though does not even want to face Federer in a potential semi-final clash.

"It sounds very good, but the real thing is I'd prefer to play against another player, an easier one if it's possible," Nadal said, as quoted by ATP's official website.

"Of course I understand that it is going to be great for our history. It is true that we played in all Grand Slam finals. But anyway, meeting him here in semi-finals, if that happens that will be something great and amazing."

How to watch live on TV, online

India: TV: Star Sports Select 1/ Select 2. Live streaming: Hotstar

UK, Rest of Europe: TV: Eurosport. Live streaming: Eurosport Player

US: TV: ESPN, ESPN 2. Live streaming: Watch ESPN, Tennis Channel

Japan: TV. WOWOW

Canada: TV: TSN, RDS

Africa: TV: Supersport. Live streaming: Supersport Live Streaming

South East Asia: Fox Sports. Live streaming: Fox Sports Go

Notably, Nadal will open his campaign against unseeded Dusan Lajovic while Federer begins his hunt for a third Grand Slam title this year against 19-year-old local hope Frances Tiafoe.

rafael nadal, tennis
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty

Fifth seed Marin Cilic, who played a dramatic final with Federer, returns to competitive action. Also local hopes John Isner [10] and Jack Sock [13] will have the crowd support to make an impact at the Flushing Meadows.

Watch out for Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios

With the absence of quite a few big names, the two men to keep an eye on in the upcoming US Open are Zverev and Kyrgios.

Zverev, the 19-year-old German, is seeded as high as four and will avoid both Federer and Nadal until the final.

Murray's withdrawal has provided Zverev with a great opportunity to reach his first Grand Slam final. His recent form has been brilliant as well as he went on to win titles in Washington and Montreal.

Alexander Zverev
All eyes on Zverev in the second half of the drawMinas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

On the other hand, the mercurial Kyrgios was in beast mode in the lead-up to US Open, beating the likes of Nadal and David Ferrer enroute to a runner-up finish at Cincinnati Masters.

Also in focus is Grigor Dimitrov, the seventh seed, whose is proving to be a tough nut to track on hard court. Notably, the Bulgarian, who reached the Australian Open semi-final, won the Cincinnati Masters earlier this month.

Women's singles prediction

In the Women's singles, in-form Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta are favourites for the titles.

However, all the spotlight is on Maria Sharapova, who is in line for a blockbuster Grand Slam return as she faces second-seed Simona Halep in the opening round.

Either of the two is expected to face seventh seed Johanna Konta in the quarter-final.

Also, reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza is likely to face ninth-seed Venus Williams or fifth-seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-final.

Key first-round matches to watch out for [Times may vary according to Order of Play]

Men's singles [Tuesday, August 29]

  • Rafael Nadal [1] vs Dusan Lajovic -- 2:15pm local/11:45pm IST
  • Roger Federer [3] vs Francis Tiafoe -- 8:15pm local/5:45am IST [Wednesday]

Women's singles [Monday, August 28]

  • Simona Halep [2] vs Maria Sharapova -- 7pm local time/4:30am IST [Tuesday]