Sunday, August 27, 2017

US Open Predictions: Broken Takes on a Whole New Meaning

Hi All. Galileo here.

Can you believe how injured everybody is?

Federer's back is not good. Murray's hip is out of whack. The winner might be the last one standing. The top ten is decimated. Only one of the four semi-finalists from last year will be here. Some other names battling injury who have done well here recently or are in form are Tsonga, Gasquet, Kyrgios, Goffin, Cilic and Del Potro. That's just the seeds. So prepare for something totally different.

1. DIMITROV... GRIGOR DIMITROV...Well, this is what it's come to. The Bulgarian has the form, the weapons and the game. We are in uncertain times on the ATP tour right now. But not so uncertain that a player like Dimitrov doing well would be a shock. He opens with Vaclav Safranek, a Czech qualifier. Bedene and Cuevas. That is all fine. But in the fourth round Gael Monfils beckons. Every three years they plan in New York.

Various highlights for you throughout the years. Now the head-to-head is 4-0 in the Frenchman's favour, but would he even get to the fourth round? Who knows? Dimi has to serve well and he should come to the net. He can actually volley. It is a valuable asset.
2. MONFILS... He owns Dimitrov. He has a workable draw. Chardy, Young and Goffin are all paper tigers. The Frenchman turns up and he'll make the quarters, no sweat. He needs to be aggressive when possible and hit that forehand with authority. But he made the semi-finals last year. The draw is wide open. Opportunity beckons for the crazy Frenchman.
3. BERDYCH... That's it. Throw a strait jacket on me. Lock me up. I'm clearly mad. But look at Nadal's hard-court record this year. Think of his knees. Berdman made the Wimbledon semi-final and managed to bother Federer a little bit. Nobody else did. He is an in-form seven time slam semi-finalist. His forehand is still crazy good and he is 12th on the aces list right now. The catch? He opens with Harrison, followed by Dolgopolov and Fognini. He should be fine, but that's a gauntlet of trouble.
DARK HORSE: NADAL... We all know the drill by now. He will go as far as his knees will take him. At this slam this BACKSPINNER would guess round four. With luck and decent conditions. He is not going to win. But if he makes the semi-finals he has a shot at finishing year-end number one.
WILD HORSE: FOGNINI... For as long as I draw breath and as long as he is still playing he will be put in this slot. Forget Dolgopolov, Fognini is the one.
DONKEY: GOFFIN...That was a career-ender. The Belgian will still play and he will still be a decent top-ten guy, but that is going to have serious long-term conequences. He's just not right mentally or physically right now.
=In the End...=
Monfils makes it two in a row. Berdych bests Rafa, for a change.


1. FEDERER... The greatest player of all time with a bad back versus 127 players, all of whom are flawed. It's 50/50. But in this quarter, at least, the call is an easy one. Yes, he opens against Frances Tiafoe, then has Youzhny and Lopez [probably] in his way. But can any of those players live with him over five sets? Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round looms, but can the Australian's body stay intact until the fourth round? Federer's backhand is a big weapon, like it hasn't been for a long time. He needs to keep hitting through it. He also avoids Alex Zverev until the final. Chances are the German loses before then. If he does, Federer will certainly win
2. KYRGIOS... This section is so weak. If the Aussie can just stay healthy he will go on a run here. Sam Querrey in the third round is the only test on the horizon before his match-up with Federer. He has to remember to behave and to not overuse the dropper. If he can use that wicked slice backhand a lot, too, that will undoubtedly help. He needs to use the rest period constructively, too. The fiery Aussie has a good shot at the semi-finals in New York if he can just hold it together and, the tricky part, defeat Roger Federer.
3. DEL POTRO... One of the key BACKSPIN rules is that you always respect the former champion. Eight years is a long time, yes, but the Argentine still has that forehand, still has the mindset of a champion. If that forehand can get firing he will ride it to at least the semi-finals. Let us not forget his heroics from last year.
DARK HORSE: BAUTISTA AGUT... Nobody will notice him do anything until he's facing Delpo on Ashe. At which point, collectively, we'll all go 'oh yeah that guy'. He will not lose early, and go until somebody with too much talent stops him. Expect a solid 3 or 4 win performance. If he makes the quarters that's a great result.
WILD HORSE: LOPEZ... The Spaniard is doing well just to be seeded. He plays well here and could send a big name or two home early. Just making his seeding would be a good result.
DONKEY: THIEM... He refuses to adjust his schedule. He will not change the amount of tournaments he enters to a more manageable number. It is a waste of potential. Plus this is not European clay. Taylor Fritz will see him off in the second round, if De Minaur can't in the first round. He is so out of form right now that, unless he draws on past history, he will quickly fall.
=In the End...=
In 2001, Roger Federer made his first US Open fourth round. Agassi beat him 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. This time, 16 years later, it'll be different. Let's hope for another chapter in the Federer/Delpo rivalry.


1. A. ZVEREV... Yes, sometimes the seedings are accurate. Anything less than a semi-final here would be a disappointment. Not reaching the final would feel like a letdown, too, to be honest. There is so much pressure on the shoulders of a kid who hasn't done it before. Zverev resembles the Oakland Raiders. We know he can do it, we know he can pull out extraordinary wins. But we have never seen him do it when it really matters. Qualifier Darian King had a good week in Memphis and has won a few qualifying events throughout the year. He lost just one set in qualifiers. He will get Coric or Vesely next and then possibly Gulbis. In the fourth round it is probably Jack Sock. Not an easy path, but he is good enough to get through. Zverev was the hunter and now he gets to experience being the hunted. There is no Murray. He has to make the final. When will he get a chance as good as this?
2. QUERREY... The American got a huge boon. When Murray withdrew he got upgraded to a top 16 seed. It was even better for Isner. He is now 'seeded' to make the quarters. Querrey will ride his serve and forehand combination all the way to the fourth round. Karan Khachanov is not ready to beat him over five sets. And in the fourth round he will get John Isner, or maybe Zverev [the older one]. Either way he is in for tiebreaks. But I think Querrey's 'variety' will be an ace in the hole. He plays a lot like Todd Martin used to. He will go on a run here.
3. ANDERSON... Anderson has been touted by many as a dark horse. He is, but he does not belong in the dark horse section here. He opens with a qualifier before going up against Gulbis. He'll easily make the third round. But can he out-muscle Zverev [younger]? He will have to come up with a strategy for that backhand. It's unfortunate that with the draw the way it is Anderson got stuck near one of the only guys who is actually dangerous. Anywhere else and a run would be on the cards. The South African is an excellent player and a quarterfinal run would have been good to see.
DARK HORSE: M.ZVEREV/G.MULLER... Have we ever had a US Open quarterfinal between two brothers. I know we've had sisters and I would guess the McEnroes probably did. But we could have another here. We have two big serve-volleyers who are lefties. I am not going to pick one and leave the other. Muller has a QF here, from 2008. Either could go on a run. Either could make a quarter. Muller versus Sock could be a classic.
WILD HORSE: TOMIC... He is going to lose to Muller in the first round. At this point I just feel for the kid. He doesn't deserve the hate. The ATP has tried to help him but they could have done more. Instead of being passive they could've pushed his father away like they tried to do with Damir Dokic. Honestly, you'd need to ask Todd about the Tomic/Dokic comparisons...but I think you could draw them.
DONKEY: ISNER... All the seeds and big names here will be just fine. Isner may crash out early, but even that isn't certain.
=In the End...=
Muller's form continues, but Zverev has all the answers. His backhand and solid return game will be enough to see him through to the semi-finals.


1. TSONGA... He has gone 17-6 on hard-courts this year. Most of those were on indoor courts in his beloved France, however. Murray is gone. Cilic is going to be a wreck. There is nobody here. Tsonga is automatically the favourite. To be honest, it doesn't matter what I pick because it won't happen. Anything is, and could be, possible here. So i'm just going to talk about a few favourites and then go from there. I'll try to make an educated guess about proceedings, but Todd is the far better picker of results. He should really pick this section. Tsonga needs a semi-final here to achieve the Nalbandian slam - a SF at all four. It is so much harder than you think. His second round clash against Medvedev or Shapovalov will be tricky. Haase in the third round will not be easy, either. But the fourth round will probably be a journeyman. This section should really be called the ****.
2. FERRER...Another short of the Nalby slam. Another who knows this is his last shot. Ferrer is seeded 21st, but nobody else who is physically able here has done what he has done. Nobody else has his experience or his grit. Pouille, Donaldson and a broken Cilic are in his quarter. He'll be fine.
3. SHAPOVALOV... He successfully navigated the qualies. Now it is time for the big leagues. I expect him to beat Medvedev. He will then play Tsonga and the winner will go to the quarter-finals, if not further.
DARK HORSE: DONALDSON... A third round run is on the cards here. If it comes off he will get a nice rankings boost. He will crack 1000 points for the first time and should rise into the top 50. He is on form and he has a home crowd. He should shock Pouille in the second round.
WILD HORSE: KOKKINAKIS... A wildcard is a precious thing. In this quarter it is even more invaluable. He can actually use it. He has recent form and a big chance to make some ground in the rankings.
DONKEY: CILIC... I'm not going to critisize him for once.

He endured unimaginable trauma. Monica Seles had a minor wound just as he had a minor injury. But the psychological effects endured after the incidents... well, the fact he is even back so soon is noteworthy. But he isn't going anywhere. We wouldn't expect him to.

=In the End...=
I have been saying it for months. I think it's going to happen. We will have a quarter-final in which we see two veterans fight to the bloody death. It will go five on Arthur Ashe and last until 3 a.m. It will be a modern epic. And Ferru might finally avenge that painful five set loss to Verdasco.

Tsonga d. Carreno Busta
Ferrer d. Kokkinakis
Ferrer d. Tsonga

Federer d. Monfils
Zverev d. Ferrer

...I think Federer will be tested by Monfils, but the Frenchman has never been able to outlast the big four over five sets. Zverev will win because of fitness. Plus, he has serious weaponry.

Federer d. Zverev

...If this was the German's second final, I'd pick him. He would be my favourite. I want to pick him. But his first slam final? Against Federer? Nope, can't see it.

This BACKSPINNER thought there were nine potential candidates for the top women's ranking. There are only eight. Here are the power rankings of the eight, in order from most likely to least.

1- G. Muguruza
2- E. Svitolina
3- S. Halep
4- V. Williams
5- S. Kuznetsova
6- K. Pliskova
7- J. Konta
8- C. Wozniacki

Muguruza has been in great form and only has to make the fourth round to make herself eligible. Svitolina is not a good slam player, even in France, but she has to break the hoodoo eventually. Halep landed the Supernova. Plus, she has never lived up to the hype. Venus and Kuznetsova are in the same boat - former champions with good form recently. But you can trust Venus. You might trust Sveta to boil an egg, but to win a slam? We've seen very little from the world number one. Konta would need a lot of help, but she has the weapons. To have a shot at the top spot the Dane would need to win a slam. The day that happens is the day the New York Jets win a Super Bowl.

#1 Pliskova d. #14 Mladenovic
#8 Kuznetsova d. #20 Vandeweghe
#15 Keys d. #25 Gavrilova
#13 Ostapenko d. #6 Kerber
#9 Williams d. #5 Svitolina
#3 Muguruza d. #18 Garcia
Stephens d. #7 Konta
#22 Peng d. Sharapova

...Pliskova is 3-0 in finals this year, all of them premier. She made back to back semi-finals in March and another semi at Roland Garros. It's not exactly stellar. But this is her slam. And her draw is easy. Unless Lisicki catches fire she'll be fine. I see Strycova there but I also Kiki. She could upset the top seed, the Frenchwoman, but I'll put my faith in the world's best player. The Russian opens with Vondrousova. She also has Safarova lurking. Toughest of all is going to be her third round clash with Catherine Cartan Bellis. She missed out on a seed by a whisker. But if she makes it to the third round you would think the Russian would have too much slam experience. Radwanska up the top is ripe for the upset. I'll take Coco over Yulia.

It's a horror draw for Svitolina. She has Siniakova, Bouchard, Gavrilova and then Keys. I'll take the field in that scenario. She hasn't looked good at slams and one of them will pick her off. Why not Dasha? If Keys can survive Mertens she'll roll to the quarters. Last year Ostapenko went 0-4 in slams. The year before she lost in qualies at Roland Garros, but did win two slam matches that year. This year I think she'll make it three quarterfinals [or better] in a row. She'll get past Dasha K, A-Pavs and then Kerber. It won't be smooth, but that doesn't matter. I don't know about Kerber. She'll win three matches, though.

Watch out for Maria Sakkari. Apart from her, this section is all about Venus and Caro. Aggression and defense. The number one versus the slam winner [you know what I mean]. And there isn't a slam in the world where I'd take Caro over Venus. And with the American crowd here combined with the fact Venus is a two-time winner...well, it's a no-brainer. Plus, the Dane has never figured out how to play at slams. She has been to six semi-finals at slam level, five of them in New York. She has beaten an unseeded player in the two she won. In the other four in which she played a seeded player she has won just a single set. In the other section, the Spaniard will reign supreme. Garcia will beat Kvitova, who isn't really back yet.

A fourth round would be a fantastic result for Stephens, backing up her two semi-finals. She'll beat Vinci, Cibulkova and Barty. Konta has gone 2-2 on the hard-courts. If she even wins four matches she'll be no match for Stephens. Now that the Brit has finally found self belief she is a far better player. In the final quarter, Halep drew the worst name possible. She is 0-6 against the Russian. I just can't go against that. But how much does 'Pova have in the tank?

#8 Kuznetsova d. #1 Pliskova
#15 Keys d. #13 Ostapenko
#3 Muguruza d. #9 Williams
#7 Konta d. #22 Peng

...Kuznetsova is 2-2 in the head-to-head with the Czech. But she is 2-1 on hard-courts, and knows how to beat her. If Sveta gets here and Pliskova is still struggling, the Russian should win. In the other the NY crowd will push Keys over. If that matchup happens it will be one of the best of the whole tournament. I am not picking against the Spaniard. Not even Venus can beat her on top form. We know this. In the final quarterfinal, Stephens is just a better player than Peng. The home crowd will give her a boost, too.

#8 Kuznetsova d. #15 Keys
#3 Muguruza d. Stephens

...The last time Sveta made the quarters of Wimbledon she got trounced by Justine Henin in the final in New York. The same will happen here. Keys has been hurt this year and she may struggle to find rhythm against the Russian. The American is going to run out of steam here. Muguruza will singlehandedly end American hopes at the slam. Unless, of course, Taylor Fritz does something extraordinary.

#3 Muguruza d. #8 Kuznetsova

...You thought it'd be Sveta, didn't you? Nope. Each time the Spaniard has beaten her this year she has won the title. It'll happen again here. The inside-out backhand of Muguruza will be key, and the return of the Russian's second serve.


Read more!


Post a Comment

<< Home