The draw is out. And the big swing chip fell on Roger Federer’s side. That chip being Andy Murray. The Scot who’s played some good tennis this summer will (or might) have to go through Federer then Novak Djokovic to win his first Grand Slam title since 2013 Wimbledon.
But first to the top half.
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal Quarter
World No. 1 Djokovic has to like the early rounds of his draw. He’ll open with the other Joao, Joao Souza (with a “Z”). Then perhaps Vasek Popsisil who’s been largely MIA since his Wimbledon quarterfinal before wrapping up the front end with Andreas Seppi and perhaps a rematch against David Goffin in the 16s. The quarterfinals is where things could get interesting. Real interesting because he’s projected to meet Rafael Nadal. But will Rafa even get there? hell, he might not even get out of the first round with kid superstar Borna Coric in the opener then maybe Feliciano Lopez, Mardy Fish or Milos Raonic in the 16s. Nadal should beat Lopez and Fish, Raonic would be tricky, but the Coric match is a real worry. Borna’s has the game, the firepower to wound Nadal, I just don’t think he’s ready for that kind of win on such a big stage like Arthur Ashe. So I think Nadal gets out to the Djokovic match but Novak mops the court with him.
The pick: Djokovic
Kei Nishikori, David Ferrer Quarter
I think I’ve said this before, for some reason Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer seem to end up in the same section more often than not. But it won’t matter this time because with Ferrer having been injured all summer, I don’t think he’ll be able to get out that far. Nishikori is also battling an injury, but assuming he’s OK I don’t see anyone posing a threat to him out to the quarters? Tommy Robredo? JW Tsonga? Gael Monfils? No, no and no. Not if Kei’s healthy. In the quarters he could meet Marin Cilic in a final rematch or maybe Chardy who might build off his Canadian Open semi. Or maybe Ferrer – heck, he has a good draw. Right now I’ll lean Cilic’s way to meet Kei, then Kei gets revenge and comes out of the softest section of the draw.
The pick: Nishikori
Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka Quarter
In the marquee match of the first round, 2012 champ Murray meets the embattled Nick Kyrgios, assuming the brash Aussie even shows up for what will be an Ashe match in front of a hostile crowd. Regardless, looking at this section, it’s hard to see anyone derailing Murray. Thomaz Bellucci, Kevin Anderson? Not really. On the other side, Wawrinka looks good as well. Jack Sock could be a threat in the third round or maybe Gilles Simon, otherwise, like Murray, I just don’t see any issues. So Stan-Andy it is and in this one I’ll slightly go with Murray. Though with Stan you never know.
The pick: Murray
Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych Quarter
Arguably the toughest section has Federer, Tomas Berdych, John Isner, Ivo Karlovic, Phil Kohlschreiber, Richard Gasquet and Bernard Tomic. Ok, it’s not that hard but with those big servers like Isner, Ivo and Berdych it’s always dangerous. Still, I think Federer will be pleased with Leonardo Mayer to open, then Marcos Baghdatis, followed by Kohlschreiber or Rosol before a 16 with Isner/Ivo and a QF with Gasquet/Berdych. Among the matches I’m looking forward to are Isner and Karlovic. Gasquet-Berdych looks good as well. But I like Federer to come through, though he might drop a set or two along the way and Berdych can become worrisome. Sometimes.
The pick: Federer
So for my semifinals I have straight chalk, and why not. That’s how it’s been at most of the top events since last year when Cilic and Nishikori crashed the Big 4 party.
Djokovic d Nishikori
Federer d Murray
Djokovic to strong for Kei and gets revenge from 2014. Federer continues domination over Murray who comes off a tough win over Stan.
Djokovic d Federer
Slower court, Djokovic beaten Federer a few times in New York and he’ll want to revenge.
Overall, it’s a good draw. Well balanced. Several players have easy early roads but then face some real tests in the QFs, like Murray and Novak.
Of the guys, I think Djokovic has the best shot of making the SFs. I know Nadal is in there but I don’t think he can make much of a dent against Novak right now.
Speaking of Nadal, that first rounder with Coric is the most interesting match of the first two days. Moreso than Murray-Kyrgios which I think the Scot will win easily. I could certainly see Nadal losing early.
I’m also interested to see how Wawrinka fares. I called him the X-Factor and he’s got a very workable draw out to the quarters and he’s beaten Murray before in New York. So if he gets on one of those runs, as we’ve seen he can beat anybody.
In the end, though, I still think it comes down to the usual suspects. And really any of the three and even Nishikori could win here. It should be fun to watch, matches begin on Monday!
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