It’s US Open time, so let’s break this down. Roger Federer has struggled this summer – by struggle I mean losing a total of four sets (three of which were in tiebreaks) – but he’s still far and away the favorite. And the way the draw came out, I don’t see much in the way of stopping him from hoisting his 12th Grand Slam trophy two Sundays from now.
That said, his draw is on paper quite difficult with Richard Gasquet in the fourth round and Andy Roddick potentially in the quarterfinals, but Federer won’t lose to either on this stage.
And fortunately for Fed, the guys who can give him trouble, namely Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Lleyton Hewitt and Guillermo Canas are not in his quadrant. Sure John Isner and Ivo Karlovic are dangerous big servers, but I don’t think they will get the opportunity to face the World No. 1.
Moving onto the second quarter, which could be the worst section in the history of Grand Slam tennis. Nikolay Davydenko is the top seed, but does anyone really think he can get back to the semifinals after he lost a set to Donald Young? James Blake is probably the favorite, but outside of Patrick McEnroe does anyone really think he can finally reach a Slam semifinal? I don’t. Tommy Haas hasn’t won a big match since who knows when, and Guillermo Canas has been MIA since his two wins over Federer back in March. A healthy Andy Murray would be my pick, but no way is he making it deep with his suspect wrist. That leaves the hot-and-cold Marcos Baghdatis or maybe Sam Querrey. Hell, if David Ferrer was in this group I’d take him. Damn, I’d even take Dmitry Tursunov, but he’s in the bottom half.
So, I’ll go with the American flow and pick Querrey to beat James Blake and ride the success all the way to the semifinals.
The third quarter is a bit more defined with Lleyton Hewitt and Novak Djokovic, who are the clear top two favorites in that section. Too bad they will have to meet in the fourth round, with the winner the likely semifinalist. I also like Carlos Moya’s chances for some inexplicable reason, and I could see Mardy Fish doing a fair bit of damage as well.
When the dust settles I’ll go with Hewitt to emerge. I think he’s got some of his game back under Tony Roche and I think he can take down Djokovic.
Onto the last section where Rafael Nadal would figure to be the man to beat. But Nadal’s record at the open has been less than stellar. Honestly, I would love to just pick Nadal to reach to the semifinals, but I can’t. Same goes with Fernando Gonzalez, Marat Safin, Ivan Ljubicic and even David Nalbandian. They are very good hard court players but somehow I just don’t see any of them getting that far. So pick my pick is Indy champ Dmitry Tursnosov.
And there ya have it, Federer against Querrey in one semifinal and Hewitt vs. Tursunov in the next. Looking at that Final Four lineup makes me think there’s no way that’s going to happen but I’m sticking with it. Time to enjoy the Open!
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