Federer the Easy Pick at the US Open

by Sean Randall | August 27th, 2007, 5:10 pm

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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41 Comments for Federer the Easy Pick at the US Open

JCF Says:

I admire you for having the balls to at least make your picks known before hand. Some of those picks are wild and quite illogical — You snub Blake because he hasn’t made a semi, yet you pick Sam Querry to make the semi? Ditto Tursunov. You say players like Nadal, Gonzalez, Safin, Ljubicic, Nalbandian are good players but you can’t see them getting that far, yet you don’t offer any reasons why they won’t (but Tursunov will), other than ‘just a hunch’?

I get a feeling you will be embarassed this time when the result turns out different, like you have been before. But kudos to you again for not being afraid to reveal your picks publicly.

If Blake is not in Nadal’s quadrant, then I’m picking either Nadal or Gonzo to make the semi.

Shital Green Says:

I don’t see much basis for your pick of Tursunov. I don’t buy that Davydenko will not make it anywhere because he lost a set to Donald Young. You will be wrong about Querrey, too, though I would like to see him getting there.

Kiran Says:

I like all your picks except Querrey, although my four SF’ists are Federer, Blake, Djokovic, Nadal and a Federer vs Nadal final!

jane Says:

That quarter wth Blake is, I think, the toughest to call. Querrey could surprise, but so could Murray if his wrist holds, granted that’s a big “if”. Maybe a Canas will find his form? Then we’d be in for an interesting Semi against Roger.

Shawn Says:

i’m just glad you didn’t pick Nadal to win it all. Picking Federer to win it all may be safe, but it’s far and away the most logical choice.

jane Says:

Guess Querrey won’t be a surprise after all – it’s looking like he’ll be knocked out imminently. That quarter continues to puzzle…maybe Blake is the best bet to reach semis, given his last two tourneys and fan support.

Shital Green Says:

Sadly, Querrey got knocked out badly.

You are wrong, again !

Shital Green Says:

My pick Djoko sails smooth and easy, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 against Robin Hasse.

I liked Wayne Odesnik taking out Udomchoke in 5 sets (1st and last sets in tiebreak).

One upset was Dr. Ivo. He lost a fierce battle against Arnaud Clement.

John (1) Says:

My picks:

Isner will face Federer in the 3rd round.

QF: Federer/Roddick, Davydenko/Blake, Robredo/Djokovic, Safin/Ferrer
SF: Federer/Blake, Djokovic/Safin
F: Federer/Djokovic
W: Djokovic

JCF Says:

One of your semifinalists, Sam Querry is out in rd 1. I really would like to know how you rationalize a pick like that.

But again, props for being brave enough to open yourself to the line of fire.

Shital Green Says:

Not only Querrey is out in the 1st round but also devastatingly, Sean, your Tursunov got knocked out by a retiring player, Henman. Sorry !

jane Says:

John 1,
After today, now that we’ve seen one round from all contenders, I am liking your picks. Though I’d pick Youzhny over Robredo on hard courts for the QF against Djok. If Nadal’s knees can hold, he may still reach that QF, but that’s a big “if”. Maybe Ginepri will make another run here?

John (1) Says:


Here are my picks on the women side:

QF: Henin/Serena, Dementieva/Ivanovic, Petrova/Kuznetsova, Chakvetadze/Sharapova
SF: Henin/Dementieva, Kuznetsova/Chakvetadze
F: Dementieva/Chakvetadze
W: Dementieva

jane Says:

Thanks for those John 1 –
Interesting picks – I’d never have picked Dementieva to win it all (even though she plays well on hard) because of her weak serve. But I’ll be watching – and I think she’s due so I hope you’re right.

jane Says:

Well – the man with the black shorts just became an easier pick as he won’t have to face Gasquet, who just gave Donald Young the walkover.

achilles190 Says:

I sense that a lot of people are sensing Djokovic as this years US open champion…..and a lot of it based on Montreal……..I saw that match and what I really took from it was that Federer should have won that in straight sets—-

If Federer were to play as well as he did last night agaisnt Djok ovic i believe there would have been one close set and a straight set victory. Djokovic can hurt Federer with his concictency if Federer starts spraying…..and Djokovic serving even under pressure will soon rival the Fed’d but heavan help Movak if Roger starts dialing in on his serve and starts returning agressively at key points in a match to break….

Djokovic is the real deal but I think in the near future he will give Rafa more trouble that he will give Roger——

Daniel Says:

I agree 100% with you achilles!
Since they are going to be N° 2 and 3, they will face each other before getting to Federer.

Yesterday the man was on fire! 11 Unforced Errors against the Chilean guy, who wasn’t afraid of Fed and stayed playing aggressively, was what Fed needed to show everybody what he can do, vanishing a couple of bad matches.

I am looking forward to see Federer and Isner. A practice with a serve & volley is just what Federer needs to get in the second week in his best form.

grendel Says:

Daniel, don’t think it is the case that that #2&#3 will face each other before winner faces #1. Tejuz explained it once, but I gather numbers 1,2,3 and 4 are all equally likely to face each other – the draw is done randomly. I heard it explained this was because the rankings tend to change rather slowly, and so to avoid having eternally the same semi-finals, we have the random draw.

jane Says:

Happy to see that Murray is coming along – I like him in that quarter but he’d have to get past both Blake and Davydenko which is unlikely. But it was good to see him playing his talented game today against Bjokman, who also played an entertaining match.

Tejuz Says:

Agree Grendel… seeds 3 and 4 are randomly picked to face 1 or 2 in opposite halfs. In cincy, Djok was drawn to face Fed in semis even when he was the 3rd seed there.

grendel Says:

Yes, I knew there was something wrong the way I put it, Tejuz, but couldn’t think what it was . But obviously #1 and #2 can’t face each other before final!

jane Says:

Quite the match between the “magician” and Blake. Santoro used every trick in the book. But at least Blake FINALLY has a 5-setter under his belt. And he deserved to win, although once again, he was on-and-off throughout the match. If Blake could only play consistently well, and a little more carefully…he such a great shot-maker when he’s “on.”

Anyhow: kudos to him on that match. He stayed focused and that’s something in those crazy-Santoroish-under-the-lights-cramping-midnight-hour circumstances.

Daniel Says:

Look at the last 10 Slams!
Number 1 and 3 or 2 and 4 never face each other. In master series and small tournaments that even occurs but in slams, I remember only one time in Wimbledon some years ago.
The draws are organized in way that the semis are 1 and 4, 2 and 3, just check it out!

This year Rafa and Djoko have already made 2 matches in semis, without Djoko maintaining n. 3, and are suppose to make a third match, with Djoko as n.3. If Djoko plays well the next tournaments, he doesn’t even need to win them, because Roddik will lose to Federer and lost 450 points, witch will make his rankings collapse. Davydenko will always be around but I don’t see him passing Djoko. So, Federer never will have to win both of them in a slam, which seems to be the only chance of him losing in slams, if, Djoko starts gaining some sets over him.

We’ll have to see it this year and next Australian. I’m predicting that if Djoko keeps getting better, he will be the one to beat Nadal in Paris. Five sets in 2008!

Daniel Says:

I miss a sentence:

“If Djoko plays well the next tournaments, he doesn’t even need to win them, because Roddik will lose to Federer and lost 450 points, witch will make his rankings collapse, HE WILL SUSTAIN HIS NUMBER 3 SPOT”

ross Says:

Sampras said this recently about Fed:
“He’s a phenomenal player,” Sampras continued, “but he’s playing in a generation where I don’t see as many great players as in my generation. He’s not up against three or four serious threats. The game is probably stronger across the board. The guy ranked 25 today is probably better than he was in the ’90s. But at the top, outside of Nadal, who I think is a legend in the making, it is a little bit thinner than in the ’90s.

“I was facing multiple grand-slam winners.”

Again, it was him showing his “sore” face.

Why aren’t there multiple grand slam winners today – has anybody bothered to find out? Because of federer, he is winning them all, except on clay. he has won 11 of the last 17 slams, something nobody has done in ANY sport. So obviously you won’t see many multiple slam winners around (though there still are some – hewitt, safin, and of course nadal – hewitt and safin beat the crap out of sampras at the US open)

So interpreting the lack of multiple grand slam winners today as being due to less competition is naive and flawed logic. Just a little bit of scrutiny would immediately reveal that it actually shows that Fed is doing exceptionally well, not that others are doing poorly.

suck it up Pete.

jane Says:

Hmmm…I think Pete has a good point. No one has been a serious threat to Fed except Rafa, which makes it easier to reel in the trophies. I am not saying Fed isn’t a fantastic – one of the greatest – player, but…I still think Pete has a point.

If Fed had more people who could beat him consistently, like Pete did, would he have as many trophies?

After all, there are really only a bunch of up-and-comers now. Roddick was never a threat because his game isn’t well-rounded enough. Davy and Hewitt and tough opponents, no doubt, but not artists (although one could make the case for Hewitt).

So who? Safin is one, but he doesn’t have it mentally.

I know I’ll get shot down IMMEDIATELY AND QUICKLY for saying this, but I really do think Pete has a point. It’s just like when Borg and Connors and Mac and Laver and Lendl were playing – so many right at the top.

So here goes – I throw myself to the wolves.

jane Says:

Ross –
I think Fed hit his prime when one generation was fading (Pete’s) and when the next generation wasn’t as strong (Roddick, Hewitt, Ferrero et al). Only now, with this new generation finding their form, will Fed be really challenged. Now we’ll see some great stuff from all of them, I hope.

As I say – attack if you will. But people are entitled to their opinion, even if it isn’t downright Federer worshiping.

grendel Says:

Jane, this particular argument has been fought many, many times – including on this board, especially between Agassi Fan (who, sadly, seems to have disappeared) and Samps.

On the board I mentioned to you – but its on MessageBoard – they go on and on about it, in immense detail, bringing out phenomenal arrays of facts about all the various players Fed and Sampras faced. All kinds of analyses, highly inventive name calling, invitations to fight – and so on. And guess what: nobody ever changes their mind for one second. And the reason for that is that at the end of the day, this is an emotional issue, and people use facts, and sometimes supposed facts, not with the intention of discovering the truth, but to bolster their own positions.

Everyone who is interested – and not everybody is – has already made up their mind, and nothing will change it. And furthermore, it is quite impossible that anything new can be said on the issue.

jane Says:


I figured this was probably a polarized issue but couldn’t resist casting my line. I’m a bit of a baiter, you know.

BTW, did you know there will soon be a new animated version of Beowulf? Apparently it’s not for children though. Hopefully better than the most recent abysmal adaptation.

grendel Says:

Didn’t see the Nadal/Tip match, but judging by the score against a tough opponent, Nadal is o.k. I would worry more about Djokovic – he looked exhausted after that great battle with Stepanek. Incidentally, I think the joker proved his credentials in this match. He wasn’t at his best, but where it mattered, he was there. Stepanek, by contrast, choked several times at big points – even early on. That’s why you could see him going to 5, but not to winning.

But the demise of Hewitt a real shock – to me. Seems you were right, Samps, a few weeks ago, predicting Hewitt would not win another slam.

Daniel Says:

I’m totally with Ross!

We will only see the dimension of what Federer is doing in 10 years.

This year he can win 3 slams for the third time. Who ever did that? And I think he’ll win this open without losing a set, again.

Pete Sampras had win slams from 1990 to 2002, One a year. As he said, a 25 ranked player could win more easily a top 5 or 10. This fact makes more difficult for a player to keep winning slams for 10 year. I speak to myself and others that we don`t see Federer winning slams in 2012 or 13 (when he will be 31, 32) or Nadal in 6 or 7 years because of his physical game. In the past the players could have longer careers than today.

But, this is all speculation. This two phenomenal players, Federer and Nadal can (I hope so) have a long life in tennis. Because they are two of a kind, and I don’t believe we are going to see others like them very soon. I am thankfull only for being able two watch them play!

Pete Sampras is definitly afraid because he already knows that his records and ohters will soon be broaken, and know he is making excuses for something that hasn`t happen yet.

ross Says:

“If Fed had more people who could beat him consistently, like Pete did, would he have as many trophies?”

More people could beat Pete consistently BECAUSE he was more beatable! That’s the whole point. If someone SO good shows up, obviously he is going to win almost everything, and it will look AS IF the competition is weak.

Pete’s point is a cheap one that anyone can make, by definition (whenever someone astoundingly good shows up), but is not correct, precisely for the same reason.

jane Says:

But Ross – The exact opposite can, and has been said: Fed looks so good because he broke through at a time when there wasn’t any great competition (you’re evading that issue). Had he been playing in another generation/time, he’d still be great but perhaps not as dominant. One could also say it’s is easier to gloat over G.O.A.T. than to truly analyze the situation.

I don’t think there IS such a thing as a “greatest ever” player anyhow, because there are too many variables to consider besides the basic numerical stats. One of those is the quality of the competition – that’s all Pete is trying to say.

grendel Says:

Like I said, it’s all been said a million times Before. And incidentally, Jane, you say you don’t believe in G.O.A.T.

Well, Pete does.

Guess who he’s rooting for.

jane Says:

Ross –

(Sorry Grendel but I haven’t participated in those conversations so I choose to continue here.)

Besides quality of competition, there is variance in equipment, and hence style of play, not to mention changing court conditions and even surfaces (e.g. US Open). There are changing requirements on the tour, matches played per calendar year, for instance, prestige of slams (and hence competition at those – many didn’t used to play at the AO as it wasn’t, apparently, an esteemed slam), and so on.

With all of these variables in mind, simple numbers/stats/records don’t add up to G.O.A.T.

There can only be a on-going (thank goodness) list of great players, not a “best ever.”

This is because there are always more players to come. So logically, how can any one ever claim so-and-so is the best “of ALL TIME”? Seems dumb to me. Unless the world is going to end tomorrow, there will be more players, and records will continue you to be broken. Federer may be the greatest as present, but that will change – just as, and I don’t think I am being overly optimistic here, the sun will come up tomorrow.

So why not appreciate Pete AND Roger AND Borg AND Lendl AND Laver….and so on….ad infinitum, or, at least until the Apocalypse / Ice Age / Whatever?


grendel Says:

Absolutely, Jane. We all have our favourites, though.

JCF Says:

“Hmmm…I think Pete has a good point. No one has been a serious threat to Fed except Rafa, which makes it easier to reel in the trophies. I am not saying Fed isn’t a fantastic – one of the greatest – player, but…I still think Pete has a point.

If Fed had more people who could beat him consistently, like Pete did, would he have as many trophies?”

Maybe the reason why people aren’t beating Fed consistently like they were Sampras is because Fed is a better player than Sampras? That never occurred to him did it…? At the very least, he has a more complete game. Pete had a great serve, and great volley. But he served and volleyed pretty much every point. And on receiving, he’d chip and charge the net. That’s pretty one dimensional. And he sucked on clay. Fed has the complete package. That’s the difference between the two. Serve is not as good, but he can volley, and he can rally from the baseline. Overall, a more well rounded player.

By the way Sean, two of your semifinalists were knocked out in the first round, and one was knocked out in the second round. The only one you’ve been right on so far is the most obvious one. Anyone would have picked Federer for a semi. Better luck next year eh?

The other guys you picked were longshots (well, ok Hewitt not so much). I don’t know how you picked Tursunov and Querry of all people.

Giner Says:

“But Ross – The exact opposite can, and has been said: Fed looks so good because he broke through at a time when there wasn’t any great competition (you’re evading that issue). Had he been playing in another generation/time, he’d still be great but perhaps not as dominant. One could also say it’s is easier to gloat over G.O.A.T. than to truly analyze the situation.”

If you want to look at it objectively, you have to look at what each player is capable of doing. Fed just has a more complete game than Sampras had. Is he winning so much because he’s an excellent player, or is it because his opponents all suck? I think it’s very clear from the talent that Federer possesses that it’s the former and not the latter.

What Pete doesn’t realize is that if Roger wasn’t so good a player, Roddick, a guy he chastizes for holding only one slam, would have at least four slams. He’s made 2 Wimbledon finals, and a second US Open final. Plus he’s fallen to Federer at semi final stages at the Australian and 03 Wimbledon. If he didn’t have to face Federer so often, he’d be a multi slam winner. Dare I say it, possibly even six slams. His Wimby final opponent would have been Philippoussis in 03, which he would have beat. And Gonzalez at AO 07.

How many slams would Hewitt have won had Federer sucked? He lost to Fed in 3 slams in 04, all 3 of which Fed won. He lost to Fed again at Wimby 05 and USO 05.

Pete should just swallow his pride and realize that the current players are just as good, or better. It’s just that Fed is THAT much better than they are.

JackOfAllBalls Says:

I agree with Giner: The point is that Fed is so much better than everybody else, not that everybody else is so much worse. Every great champion is unique, but I guess Fed with “Rocket” Laver stand out even among them, because of their shotmaking ability – they outplay the opponent, not outrun or outhit.

And I love the way Gulbis plays – very solid guy for his age.

jane Says:

What’s with this Latvian giant youngin – never seen him play before and yet he’s 88 in world. Blew Robredo of the court – interesting. Where’d he come from?

John (1) Says:


On August 28th my picks were:

QF: Federer/Roddick, Davydenko/Blake, Robredo/Djokovic, Safin/Ferrer

SF: Henin/Dementieva, Kuznetsova/Chakvetadze


QF: Federer/Roddick, Davydenko/Haas, Moya/Djokovic, Chela/Ferrer (my picks 5/8)

SF: Henin/(Venus or Jankovic), Kuznetsova/Chakvetadze (my picks 3/4)

Not perfect, but not too bad either.

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