Roger Federer, 36, will start another US Open Tennis Championships bid, and the first one since 2015. Last year, he skipped the final Major of the season as part of a six-month sabbatical, a decision that turned out to be a game-changer. His most recent participation in New York (2015) had Federer as the runner-up to Novak Djokovic. But, in the meantime, the landscape changed in a quite dramatic fashion. The US Open draw is thinner than ever compared to the past years. Even so, Federer will face a tough road en route to perhaps another Grand Slam final.

Him sharing the draw with Rafael Nadal killed all the hopes of having another Fedal treat as the closing act of the tournament. Their roads may come across to one another in the semis.

Roger Federer and his possible trajectory in New York

Entering the last Grand Slam of the season as the third seed gives some undeniable benefits. Federer will have two rounds to work out the latest adjustments to his game. The warm-up season didn't go as expected with Federer reaching the final in Montreal and then being forced to withdraw from Cincinnati due to an injury. So, he could use the inaugural match against Frances Tiafoe as a starting point to another fruitful campaign. NextGen tennis star Tiafoa is currently ranked 70th in the world, but his game has been following an upward trend lately.

If he gets past Tiafoe, Federer will face the winner of Mikhail Youzhny vs. Blaz Kavcic encounter. The third round may bring one of the seeded players on the other end. Feliciano Lopez is likely to emerge even though Fernando Verdasco will try to make his move too.

The higher stages will bring tougher opponents for Federer

Starting with the Round of 16, things will kick into another gear with Nick Kyrgios looming from the other end of the quarter.

The 22-year-old Aussie is expected to continue the upward path he started in Cincinnati where he was a runner-up to Grigor Dimitrov. Moving one step deeper, the last eight stages may produce an easier opponent. Dominic Thiem, Roberto Bautista-Agut, del Potro or Mannarino are the seeded players expected to advance deeper into the contest.

All of those are players that Federer can handle with ease especially on a hard court. If he survives the first five sessions, he will be in the semis where Nadal or Dimitrov are likely to emerge. The final act may put Federer against Alexander Zverev or Marin Cilic, two strong players he had to deal with recently.

Earlier this year, Against Cilic, he took no wrong steps in the Wimbledon finals, capturing his eighth title. But, Zverev is an unpredictable opponent. Before Wimbledon, Federer crushed Zverev in Halle's final. A few weeks ago, Zverev outplayed Federer in Rogers Cup's final.