Arguably the toughest two days in the sport of tennis is the final weekend for the men at the US Open. Saturday semifinal followed by Sunday final, all best of five sets for the final Grand Slam title of the season. It all comes down to who can and who cannot win back-to-back five set matches on a hardcourt against stiff competition.
Roger Federer without question has proven he can do it.
Andy Roddick can do it.
Novak Djokovic might be able to do it.
Andy Murray I think can do it.
Rafael Nadal I don’t think can do it
Juan Martin del Potro probably cannot do it, not yet.
That’s what winning the US Open comes down to, having the ability to win six sets on consecutive days with everything on the line. Some guys can, some guys can’t and we’ll ultimately find out two weekends from now.
That all said, Federer is the clear favorite at this event and that was before he was handed a gift of a draw. Federer avoided the danger floaters DelPo, Roddick and even Jo Tsonga in drawing Nikolay Dayvdenko in his quarter. Lleyton Hewitt, Sam Querrey and perhaps James Blake offer interesting matches on the marquee, but it’s hard to see Federer even being challenged before the quarterfinals – I do think Dayvdenko can give him problems, but that’s about it!
In the second quarter we are probably staring down the barrel at yet another Djokovic-Roddick quarterfinal night match, just as we had a year ago. And this time Roddick’s going to win. But will the match happen? Hard to say. Djokovic looks good out to the quarterfinals – I think he’ll beat his lone stumbling block Radek Stepanek. But Roddick could run into Fernando Verdasco in the 16s, and that’s got danger written all over it. I’ll take Roddick for now and I’m going to move the American cautiously through the semifinals, but the other lefty Spaniard could be the real guy to watch out for.
The third quarter I’m going to take Fernando Gonzalez. That’s right, Gonzo! I’m not sure why but I think he’s ready to make a move at the US Open and his draw looks bloody good. Yes, there are some tricky matches against Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga but I like him to get to the quarterfinals where he’ll upset Nadal. For Rafa, I’m just not convinced of his ability on a fast hardcourt and I don’t think his level of play is where it needs to be. Maybe he gets the career Slam, just not now.
In the final section, perhaps the biggest match of the tournament pre-semifinals is the DelPo-Murray quarterfinal showdown, and looking at the draw I think it happens. I love DelPo’s draw, but Murray has some tough outs with Ernests Gulbis right from the start, Ivo Karlovic and even Maric Cilic. But he’ll manage to get to DelPo and that’s it because I’m picking DelPo. I’ve been high on Murray but I just don’t like his passivity against the big hitters and I think DelPo’simproved his game just enough to overpower the Brit.
So that leaves my semifinals as Federer v. Roddick; Gonzo v. DelPo. Final pick…Federer beats DelPo as the Argy can’t handle the back-to-back task and the moment of being in his first Slam final.
As for the women, in the semifinals I’ll go Safina d. Sharapova; Serena beats Azarenka with Serena hammering on Dinara for the title.
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