American “The” Donald Young made a run at Vince Spadea’s all-time losing streak record this year before disappointingly ending the run this week at the ATP event in Winston-Salem (he lost again in the 2nd round). Now next week at the US Open, Young will meet the No. 1 seed and possibly the greatest player of all time (GOAT) in Roger Federer.
Rafael Nadal is on the sidelines injured, and Novak Djokovic seems to be struggling with his motivation after a long summer, but the well-rested Federer seems primed to remain at the top of the game — the No. 1 spot, where no pundits saw him residing a year ago.
Federer’s road at the 2012 US Open is (surprise!) not that difficult, with No. 25 Fernando Verdasco in the 3rd round, No. 16 Gilles Simon or No. 23 Mardy Fish in the 4th round, and likely No. 6 Tomas Berdych or No. 27 Sam Querrey in the quarters.
No. 4 Andy Murray is a favorite to meet Federer in the semis if he can get past landmines like Alex Bogomolov Jr. in his opener, and later Feliciano Lopez, Milos Raonic, and maybe Jo-Willy Tsonga in the quarters.
No. 2 Djokovic at the bottom of the draw also has an easy early road, starting against Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi. He can look forward to possibly No. 31 Julien Benneteau in the third round, then Alexandr Dolgopolov or Stan Wawrinka in the 4th round, and probably Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters.
The No. 7-seeded del Potro has a tough start against David Nalbandian. Other tough starts for seeds in the bottom quarter are No. 26 Andreas Seppi vs. Tommy Robredo, and No. 20 Andy Roddick vs. a qualifier.
Djokovic in the semis is looking at either No. 4 David Ferrer, or No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic, but the third quarter of the draw is filled with landmines for the seeds. Ferrer starts against the big-serving Kevin Anderson of South Africa. No. 19 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber faces the net-rushing Michael Llodra, No. 9 John Isner begins against Xavier “X-Man” Malisse, No. 21 Tommy Haas meets Ernests Gulbis, and No. 28 Mikhail Youzhny faces Gilles Muller. No. 13 seed Richard Gasquet and former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt are also in the volatile third quarter draw mix.
It’s hard to not see Federer and Djokovic in the final, but it’s been a long summer, and there are plenty of players ready to make runs.
The 2012 US Open women’s draw is a much more straight-forward affair. Serena Williams is dominating, and also-rans Victoria Azarenka (also known as the No. 1 player in the world), Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams and everyone else are just trying to stay relevant.
Serena is the No. 4 seed, and starts against fellow American Coco Vandeweghe. In the 4th round she is looking at No. 14 Maria Kirilenko, and in the quarters either of former No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki or Ana Ivanovic. In the semis look for Serena to meet No. 2 seed Aggie Radwanska if the Pole is rehabilitated from her recent illness. Venus Williams is also in the 4th quarter and could meet Serena in the semis, she starts against fellow American and wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Azarenka heads the first quarter of the draw, and No. 5 Petra Kvitova the second quarter. Azarenka’s highest-seeded opponent and likely quarterfinals opponent is defending champ Sam Stosur. For Kvitova it is the No. 3-seeded Sharapova. In Azarenka’s quarter is sentimental favorite and No. 23 seed Kim Clijsters, who starts against American wildcard teen Victoria Duval.
When the dust clears, if Serena can add to her run of Wimbledon and the Olympics singles and doubles with a US Open title, start rewriting the record books and the talk of greatest ever. With Federer, there could be two GOATS this year in Flushing Meadows.
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Previews: WTA Finals; ATP Basel, Valencia