Thursday, August 22, 2013

US Open 2013 -- Men's Preview

Juan Martin Del Potro 2009
Note: Had to abandon the one word title format for tonight and tomorrow

The US Open starts Monday. It's been nice not having a full-time job all year. I get to watch way more tennis than usual. Today we preview the men's draw, tomorrow the women's. As usual, I only list the seeded players that interest me. 

Novak Djokovic
Quarter One
Seeded Players: Novak Djokovic (1), Juan Martin Del Potro (7), Tommy Haas (12), Fabio Fognini (16), Benoit Paire (24), Grigor Dimitrov (25)

I haven't even looked at the other quarters of the draw yet, but let's just call this The Hot Quarter. Youzhny is probably the least hot of the eight seeded players, but since I couldn't find a shirtless picture of him I can't make that statement with any certainty.

As for the tennis, the best first-round match is likely to be
Grigor Dimitrov

between two unseeded players – Lleyton Hewitt and American Brian Baker. I should say it will be a good match if both of them live through it. There are a couple of orthopedic surgeons that probably own small islands thanks to these two.

Even with the top seeded Djokovic, this is a pretty wide open quarter. He could meet Dimitrov in the third round. Grigor's going to have to make a big splash at a major soon or be content with being a top 20 player for his whole career (assumes he even makes the top 20). It's not likely to happen on hard courts against Nole.

Fabio Fognini
Benoit Paire
If Paire and Fognini play in the third round, Logo could air it as gay soft porn. In a quarter that is riddled with hotness, these two are near the top of the list. I actually know nothing about Paire's game. Fognini won a couple of smaller tournaments right after Wimbledon, which both included wins over Tommy Haas. Unfortunately, he'd have to beat Djokovic for the first time in his career (0-5) to even have a chance of playing Haas.

Speaking of Haas, he and Del Potro probably both get to the round of 16 without much problem. Delpo has already beaten Haas twice this year on hard courts. No reason to think he won't get the hat trick (showing off my knowledge of hockey lingo there).

My heart says Juan Martin over Djokovic in the quarterfinal. My head isn't fully on board, but I'm going with it anyway.

Juan Martin Del Potro

Stan Wawrinka
Quarter Two
Seeded Players: Andy Murray (3), Tomas Berdych (5), Stan Wawrinka (9), Andreas Seppi (20)

Andreas Seppi
This looks to be a pretty straightforward (if not particularly pretty) quarter. Murray hasn't had a great summer since winning Wimbledon, but he should get to the quarterfinal without too much trouble (probably beating Seppi in the fourth round). If Berdych gets past Wawrinka in the round of 16, he's got a fighting chance against Murray. He has a winning record head to head and he beat Murray earlier this month in Cincinnati. Still, Murray has gotten to the final of the last four majors he's played in, winning two of them (plus the Olympics). In a big moment, he's likely to stomp all over Berdych. I'd be surprised if Murray even loses a set in that match.

Andy Murray

David Ferrer
Quarter Three
Seeded Players: David Ferrer (4), Richard Gasquet (8), Milos Raonic (10), Jerzy Janowicz (14), Janko Tipsarevic (18), Feliciano Lopez (23)

This quarter has everything. Guys willing to stay on the court for six hours at a time, guys with giant serves that can almost knock you down, a young American player with a lot of potential, a couple of super hot guys. Oh wait. It is missing one thing – even one player with a chance of wining this thing.

Gasquet, Raonic and Lopez are at the top of the quarter. I can
Feliciano Lopez
say without even going to Google that I don't think there is even one big win at a major between them. If I have to pick one of them, I'm going to say that Raonic probably gets to the quarterfinal.

Janko Tipsarevic
In the bottom of the quarter we've got Ferrer, Janowicz and Tipsarevic. Ferrer got to the French Open final and he's probably the toughest mentally of the bunch, but Janowicz has a big serve and is coming off a pretty good Wimbledon, getting to the semifinals. If he stumbles against Tipsarevic in the third round, I think it's a toss up between Ferrer and Tipsarevic. But I don't think Janowicz will stumble. In fact, I think he's getting to his first US Open semifinal.

Jerzy Janowicz

Quarter Four
Seeded Players: Rafael Nadal (2), Roger Federer (7), John Isner (13), Sam Querrey (26)

I momentarily thought about only listing Nadal and Federer here, but two things stopped me. First, I did that in my Wimbledon preview and we all know how well that turned out. Second, Isner has played very well this summer and has a legitimate chance against Nadal in the fourth round. I added Querrey to the mix because Federer hasn't played well all summer and that's who Querrey could meet in the second round. It will be interesting to see if Roger can pull it back together in New York. Here's a stat for you. Federer hasn't beaten a player in the top ten since he beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. Here's another stat. Nadal now has a winning head-to-head record on hard courts against Federer (7-6), but not one of the 31 matches in their rivalry has been at the US Open. It would be a treat to finally see them play there. If they do, I suspect Nadal will extend his winning record.

Winner: Rafael Nadal

I'm going with my heart all the way to the end. Del Potro beats Murray in the first semifinal, while Nadal gets past Janowicz in the second.

Del Potro
in four sets

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