Monday, August 26, 2013

U.S. Open Predictions

Hi All.

Well, this year has gone by fast. The final slam of the year is here . Is Federer washed up? Can Azarenka win a third slam? Will Nadal win a second US Open? All these burning questions and more will be answered, but for now I will just run through the draw quarter-by-quarter in a similar format to Todd's, but a format in which I go Equine...

1. NOVAK DJOKOVIC SRB...He will no doubt be the favourite to lift a fourth consecutive Melbourne title in January, but right now I don't think he is the favourite in most people's eyes. Surprisingly, he has only won this title once. Since Wimbledon 2010, Nodjo has been to every slam final except the French Open in '11 and '13 and Wimbledon in '12. At the US Open he has reached six consecutive semifinals and is 4-2 in those semifinals. He is so dominant (especially) on hard courts and it takes a special effort to beat him. Few know how to beat him. Isner knows and so does Nadal -sort of- as well as Murray and occasionally Federer. This time, though, only Murray is in his half and he actually has a fairly easy section until the quarters.
2. JUAN MD POTRO ARG...JMDP looks very strong right now. He has played some great tennis recently and very nearly had the Djoker at Wimbledon. His section contains only one threat to him and I think he should be too strong fo Haas. If things go according to seeding, then Delpo would meet Djokovic in the quarters. That would be a big match and it has five written all over it, too. Delpo is one of six previous winners in the draw and is one of four in this half. I would not rule out a final for the Argentine.
3. TOMMY HAAS GER...A quarterfinalist in '04, '06 and '07, Haas knows how to win matches here. In fact, he knows how to win matches anywhere. Apart from crashing out at the Aussie, he has had a good year at the slams and I don't think he will be troubled by anyone in his half of the section. In fact, should Delpo stumble, he should make a fourth quarterfinal here.
DARK HORSE: MELZER, AUT...A recent 250 winner, he could really trouble Delpo in the third round and possibly sneak through to the quarterfinals. We know he can do it but will he is the question. The answer is probably not.
WILD HORSES: Young Guns...Dolgopolov, Goffin, Dimitrov and Paire are all here and are all potential land mines if the big players 'land' on them. Over five sets, however, it is unlikely that they can do much more than take a set or maybe two. Perhaps Dolgopolov might upset Youzhny, Haas and then somehow beat Delpo to reach the quarters but he may lose to Goffin in straight sets, too.
EARLY EXIT HORSE: YOUZHNY RUS...If Mahut doesn't beat him, then Goffin or Dolgopolov might do it. He is not in great from and I think he could be in danger of being the first seed from the top half to go.
=In the End...=
QF: DJOKOVIC D. DEL POTRO (Djokovic defeats Delpo in five epic sets.)

1. ANDY MURRAY GBR...Hesitantly, I think I have to back Murray. I don't know if he will even make the semi. He has been very inconsistent this year and I'm not sure how he will do. I think Berdych may have him. He knows how to beat Murray. I think that Murray will not be in the final this year. After winning Wimby, he has almost gone on holiday mentally. I think he is so relieved at having won Wimbledon that he doesn't want this as much as other players might. I think Berdych, if he makes it, might upset the Scotsman.
2. TOMAS BERDYCH CZE...We could see a Del Potro/Berdych semifinal here. I think that Berdych will not be challenged at all until he meets Wawrinka in the fourth round. That is a big match. Vavsy has already beaten him once this year, though that was on the dirt, and Berdych is going to have nerves coming in here. The acid test will be Wawrinka for Berdman. If he thrashes or puts Wawrinka away with ease he will probably beat Murray, but if not...
3. STANISLAS WAWRINKA SUI...If Berdman crashed out in a shock to Benny and Murray somehow loses to Seppi or Almagro via implosion, then he could make the semi but realistically, I think we're looking at a solid fourth round showing here.
DARK HORSE: KEVIN ANDERSON RSA...He could just serve Stan off the court in the third round. He should beat Brands and he is better than Baghdatis or Soeda right now, too. If he can smash Wawrinka off the court, he could then try to get Berdych into tiebreakers where anything can happen.
WILD HORSE: FLORIAN MAYER GER...Perhaps he might upset Monaco and give Murray trouble, but I doubt it. There isn't really a 'Wild Horse' here.
EARLY EXIT HORSE: NICOLAS ALMAGRO ESP...If Istomin ousted him I would not be surprised. I will be impressed if he makes the fourth round. He just does not play as well on hard courts as he does on the clay. He also really struggled and dropped five sets in three matches last year on his way to the fourth round.
UNLUCKY HORSE: JAMES BLAKE USA...He landed Dr. Ivo, the most dangerous qualifier, and that match is going to be a great one to watch. *I have just heard that Blake is retiring after the Open, so that will be a sad moment for me and for every other tennis fan.
=In the End...=
Thinking about it, I'm going to say -but I'm not entirely convinced here- Murray edges Berdych in five tight sets , but doesn't play very well.
QF: MURRAY D. BERDYCH (I'll go safe here, but i'm still not sure.)

1. JERZY JANOWICZ POL...If he serves well, he should make back to back slam semifinals. I think he will serve well and I think he is going to upset Ferrer, too. He has a great game for most surfaces and I think that he has such a nice path through to the fourth round. There are few players here that can stop him over five sets and I think he should easily reach the fourth round.
2. RICHARD GASQUET FRA...No he hasn't had a great hard court swing but his path looks nice. He has Russell then a French qualifier, then perhaps Tursunov and a big server which will be either Raonic or Lopez most likely. Raonic has been to just three fourth rounds, and at slams this year he has been to a fourth, a second and a third round. He has played well recently but I don't think he can beat Gasquet over five sets. Gasquet will be easily able to play himself into form over the first couple of rounds and then he should make the quarters.
3. DAVID FERRER ESP...He opens against Kyrgios, the Aussie qualifier, and then probably Bautista-Agut before Gulbis and then Janowicz. I think he should ease to the fourth round before engaging Janowicz in an epic battle. He will definitely take the Pole to five but I think the injuries he has had this year and his lack of form will eventually mean he crashes out, but Janowicz will have to beat him.
DARK HORSE: MILOS RAONIC CAN...I think he will make the fourth round. If he plays Lopez in the third round, that will be an extremely entertaining and high quality match with a couple of breakers almost certainly. I think he should reach the fourth round but I don't think he can beat Gasquet in five.
WILD HORSE: ERNESTS GULBIS LAT...He should make the third round easily and he could beat Ferrer if he playes as well as he can, but I don't think he has enough to take Ferrer out over five sets. I think he will take a set, maybe two.
EARLY EXIT HORSE: JANKO TIPSAREVIC SRB...A slide only goes one way really and to climb back up it is very difficult. He will fall even further because he will not defend his qurterfinal points from last year.
UNLUCKY HORSE: JACK SOCK USA...He got automatic entry, but lands Petzschner as his opener. He should still triumph, but it was an awful stroke of luck.
=In the End...=
It all comes down to Gasquet's return. If he returns well against Janowicz, then he should go through but if he gets nervy and his game is off, he will crash.
QF: JANOWICZ D. GASQUET (Again not sure, but probably going five.)

1. RAFAEL NADAL ESP...I'm being a realist here, not a dreamer. He should beat Harrison in three sets after a tight set and a bit, he should be challenged for a bit against Pospisil and Davydenko could really trouble him in the third round, but he should comfortably get to the fourth round. Now, lets say that Isner gets there fairly easily, which he should. If he drags Nadal into a couple of breakers and one or two things go his way and then Nadal falters on his serve, Isner might upset him. It is a huge "if," however. Funnily enough, Nadal will probably have more difficulty dealing with Isner than with Federer.
2. ROGER FEDERER SUI...He will have no trouble in getting to the third round where he will face Querrey. He should make the fourth round having dropped no sets before playing Nishikori. He should have too much for the Japanese over five sets and if Nadal loses then he will likely make the semis at least, probably the final.
3. JOHN ISNER USA...He will make the fourth round with no difficulties. If he can beat Nadal or if Nadal somehow loses early maybe due to injury, then he will be well placed to take charge.
DARK HORSE: KEI NISHIKORI JPN...He could easily do some damage here and he did beat the Fed earlier this year. I would not be surprised to see him reaching the quarters or maybe even the semis. I think he might go far in this tournament but he won't because he probably can't get past Fed over five. (Update: Nishikori was shockingly upset by British qualifier Dan Evans in the 1st Round!!)
WILD HORSE: BERNARD TOMIC AUS...If he can beat or take advantage of an early Nishikori loss (!!!), he should be able to reach the fourth round here and possibly challenge Roger, too.
EARLY EXIT HORSE: FERNANDO VERDASCO ESP...Out of form and playing big-serving Dodig, Ferver could be in trouble.
UNLUCKY HORSE: RYAN HARRISON USA...He will never get a decent draw at a slam it seems. He has once more drawn a big name in the first round, poor bloke.
=In the End...=
Isner will take Nadal to five with a couple of breakers in there, too, before falling because of some Nadal magic and witchcraft. Federer takes out the Japanese number one in four tight sets to set up a big clash.
RD.of 16: FEDERER D. NISHIKORI (hmmm, maybe Tomic now?), NADAL D. ISNER


Both these will be in five and I would not be surprised if Janowicz actually won.


Nadal cannot win six matches on hard court in a best of five format then beat Djokovic in that format. I personally do not think he can do that.

#1 Serena d. #15 Stephens
Bouchard d. #12 Flipkens
#3 Radwanksa d. #16 Lisicki
#5 Li Na d. #9 Jankovic
#6 Wozniacki d. #10 Vinci
#27 Kuznetsova d. #21 Halep
#11 Stosur d. #7 Kvitova
#2 Azarenka d. #13 Ivanovic

#1 Serena d. Bouchard
#5 Li d. #3 Radwanska
#27 Kuznetsova d. #6 Wozniacki (I don't know why, there is no logic behind this..which is kind of the reason I guess. I mean she did beat the Woz earlier this year and is 8-2 in slams this year but nothing I can say is good reason, it's just a feeling I have, I guess. Also, I like to try one risky pick for each slam.)
#2 Azarenka d. #11 Stosur

#1 Serena d. #5 Li
#2 Azarenka d. #27 Kuznetsova (I'm not crazy enough to tip Sveta here)

#2 Azarenka d. #1 Serena ( I kind of agree with Todd here and also with the guys at changeovertennis in that I think Azarenka looks like the favourite right now.)

Anyway, thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN.

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