The U.S. Open starts tomorrow, and if the Masters 1000 of Toronto and Cincinnati are any indication, the favourites for the title are not very original: world n° 1 Roger Federer and world n° 2 (and defending champion) Novak Djokovic. If the former has a very nice draw, the same can be said for the latter, at least until the quarter-finals.
Does this mean that this year’s US Open Tennis Championships will be won by either of them? Not automatically, of course. Even with the absence of Rafael Nadal, sidelined since Wimbledon with a knee injury, there are, in my mind, only two more contenders, although remote favourites compared to Federer and Djokovic.
The Scot is logical third in the list of favourites to win the title. Runner-up at Wimbledon, Murray then went on to win the Gold Medal at the London Olympics, defeating Roger Federer comfortably in the finals. However, a left knee injury made him withdraw just before his round-of-16 match in Toronto, and he lost in the same round in Cincinnati to Jérémy Chardy.
Then again, this means that the Brit arrives at Flushing Meadows well rested and with a draw that shouldn’t give him many problems until a possible fourth round against big server Milos Raonic, and a possible quarter-final match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, whom he defeated in Wimbledon’s semi-finals.
Murray could face Federer in the semi-finals, and then would come the inevitable question: how much confidence has his Olympic gold win over the best player of all times given him when it comes to Grand Slams? Something tells me that he is able to cause the surprise, although we know that the Swiss has been playing very confident tennis himself of late.
Juan Martín del Potro
The 2009 champion arrives in New York a bit physically diminished, as the very paced calendar had taken its toll on him, who played most of the Cincinnati Masters 1000 with a left wrist injury.
Cleared by his doctors to play the U.S. Open, the Argentine admitted that he was still feeling some pain, and hopes that it will go away by the time he starts playing.
If he wants to win, we hope for him that his wrist will be fine, especially since he has quite a tough match from the start, as he will face his countryman David Nalbandian for the first time since 2008. Nalbandian leads their head-to-head 3-1, but to me, this record is now a bit misleading. After all, many things have changed since then, for both players. Nevertheless, it remains a pretty difficult (and heartbreaking) match-up.
Afterwards, the draw is a bit easier on the Tandil native, who seems to be in an all-Argentine section of the draw, as all of those who aren’t qualifiers are in the same quarter. Leonardo Mayer is a possible third-round match and, in the round-of-16, there is the possibility of facing either Carlos Berlocq (unlikely, as Berlocq is not the best on hard court and has a tough first round match against Bernard Tomic) or Juan Mónaco (who also has a tough draw from the start, with Guillermo García-López for starters).
Of course, I admit I would really like a fourth-rounder between the two Tandil natives, but that’s my being a bit biased. 😉
In the quarter-final would likely await Novak Djokovic, with whom Delpo split encounters over the last month, and a semi-final against David Ferrer is a possibility.
A very tough draw for the Argentine. However, if he comes out of it, he will deserve to win a second Grand Slam title.
Due to work, I will not be able to watch much of the tournament until the end of the week and may write less than I would like. However, you might read some from yours truly on Steve G Tennis, as I will continue my trend and follow the matches of the youngsters as much as possible, just like I did during the qualifications.
You can find links to the three articles I devoted to the U.S. Open qualifications here.
Enjoy the U.S. Open!