US Open Preview: The Men

Written By: achangeofends - Aug• 27•10

On to the men. Let’s jump right in.

First Quarter:

Seeded Players: Rafael Nadal (1), Philipp Kohlschreiber (29), Feliciano Lopez (23), Ivan Ljubicic (15), David Ferrer (10), Ernests Gulbis (24), David Nalbandian (31), Fernando Verdasco (8)

The biggest question going into the US Open is whether Rafael Nadal can complete his career slam at just 24 years old. Nadal’s definitely capable. He’s won the French and Wimbledon this year and won his first hard court slam in Australia in 2009. He’s proved he can do it, but I don’t think this is the year. Nadal generally burns out by the end of the season which means an early (for him) exit in New York. Nadal’s managed his schedule a little better this year, but based on his hard court season, I just don’t see him winning the USO this year. While I don’t think Rafa will win the USO, he will make the semi finals. He’s still 3,000 points ahead of Roger in the rankings and a semi final finish will maintain his points from last year which means he will end the year as number 1. The majority of the Armada is in Nadal’s quarter so he should know his opponents well. He could see countryman Feli Lopez in the 4th round and possibly Verdasco in the quarters. Ferrer is also floating in there somewhere. One of the best stories coming in to the Open is the resurgence of David Nalbandian. He sneaks in as the last seeded player, but has had a smoking hot summer after returning from injury. My guess is he will make it past Verdasco and Gulbis and into the quarters before losing to Rafa.

Semi Finalist: Rafael Nadal

Possible Sleeper: Alexandr Dolgopolov

Best First Round Match: Ernests Gulbis vs. Jeremy Chardy

Second Quarter:

Seeded Players: Andy Murray (4), Stanislas Wawrinka (25), Sam Querrey (20), Nicolas Almagro (14), Mikhail Youzhny (12), John Isner (18), Radek Stepanek (28), Tomas Berdych (7)

This is an interesting quarter. None of these guys have ever won a Slam, but several of them look well on their way to hoisting a trophy one day. Leading the charge is Andy Murray. Players, commentators, and journalists have all touted Murray as the best player not to win a Slam and often say with certainty that he will win whatever event they’re covering. Murray has previously made the final in New York and this year he made the final of the Australian Open. Both times his quest for the title was easily stripped by Roger Federer. Murray actually has a winning record against Roger Federer, a real oddity on the tour, but can’t seem to get it together in finals. However, he did win Rogers Cup in Toronto this August, defeating Roger Federer for the first time in a tournament final. I expect Andy to get to the semi finals, but he’s got some serious competition on the way. A month ago, I would’ve said that John Isner could have had a real break out at the US Open this year, but he injured his ankle in Cincinnati and it looks very likely that he’ll pull out of the USO draw before the event begins. Tomas Berdych is the biggest threat in the draw. He beat Andy Murray convincingly at the French Open this year en route to the semi finals and made it to the Wimbledon final for the first time. This has been an amazing year for Tomas Berdych and the confidence he’s gained from these Slam results has done wonders. He’ll meet Murray in the quarters and that will be quite a match to watch.

Semi Finalist: Andy Murray

Possible Sleeper: Andrey Golubev

Best First Round Match: Michael Llodra vs. Tomas Berdych

Semi Final: Andy Murray d. Rafael Nadal

Third Quarter:

Seeded Players: Nikolay Davydenko (6), Thomaz Bellucci (26), Gael Monfils (17), Andy Roddick (9), Marcos Baghdatis (16), Mardy Fish (19), Juan Monaco (30), Novak Djokovic (3)

The universe was smiling on Andy Roddick when this draw came out. He’s seeded ninth, which means he could’ve ended up with a much less favorable opponent in the 4th round and the quarter finals. According to the seeding, his 4th round opponent should be Nikolay Davydenko, who he has a fairly solid winning record against. In the quarters, he is slotted to play Novak Djokovic, but I’m suggesting our first bracket buster here and I’m going to say that Mardy Fish will take out Novak Djokovic in the 4th round. Bold move, considering Fish has never played well with expectations, but I’m working off the assumption that he’s a new man and will be able to deal with the pressure. Djokovic is easily the weakest of the top 4 players right now. He’s dealing with some health issues concerning the heat, and the first week of the US Open is likely to be hot. I think Nole’s schedule (night matches vs day) will play a big role in how far he makes it in the tournament. Mardy Fish has had an awesome summer, winning two back to back titles, and making the finals in Cincinnati. I would love to see him do well in front of the US crowd. Baghdatis also deserves a mention in this quarter. He’s had a great summer and could do some damage, but he’s played a lot of tennis and might be a bit tired. All that said, I think Andy Roddick is do some love and will make the semi finals. Unfortunately, he’s set to meet Roger Federer there. If the tennis world was a movie and Andy Roddick was the hero, Federer would be his nemesis. Without Federer, Roddick would be a 5 time Grand Slam champion instead of just one. I hate to say it, but I think Federer will stymie Roddick’s quest once again.

Semi Finalist: Andy Roddick

Possible Sleeper: Thomaz Bellucci

Best First Round Match: Janko Tipsarevic vs. Olivier Rochus

Fourth Quarter:

Seeded Players: Robin Soderling (5), Fernando Gonzalez (27), Albert Montanes (21), Marin Cilic (11), Jurgen Melzer (13), Juan Carlos Ferrero (22), Lleyton Hewitt (32), Roger Federer (2)

The final quarter includes the GOAT, Roger Federer. I don’t care if he comes in as number 1 or number 2 or even number 3. Federer should never be underestimated in a Grand Slam tournament. He has won more of them than any other player and is the owner of 5 US Open trophies. He was a finalist last year and lost an extremely close match to Juan Martin del Potro. The articles saying that Fed’s all washed up are just ridiculous. He may be 29, but he’s definitely got Slam potential left. Roger’s even put a number on it. He would like to retire with 20 Grand Slam titles. This number may sound out of reach for a normal human, but not Roger Federer. He already has 16 titles. What’s 4 more? Plus, by my calculations, he’ll be on trophy closer to his goal in a little over 2 weeks. It’s a shame that Lleyton Hewitt will face Federer in just the 3rd round. They always put on a great match and it really should’ve been further down the line. Lleyton may have taken their last meeting at Halle, but I think Roger will certainly take this one. The biggest threat to Roger is Robin Soderling in the quarter finals. Soderling beat Federer for the first time this year at the French Open, but Roger still has a steep lead in their head to head.

Semi Finalist: Roger Federer

Possible Sleeper: Dmitry Tursunov

Best First Round Match: Dmitry Tursunov vs. Jurgen Melzer

Semi Final: Roger Federer d. Andy Roddick

Final: Roger Federer d. Andy Murray

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