Men’s Bottom Half [Really? How can any half having Fedal not be TOP Half!!!!]
FEDAL Quarter – Possible Path for Federer:
5 time US Open champion has expressed his excitement towards gearing up for US Open, boosted by the fact that “his tactics started to yield”. The city of Newyork seems to have blessed its past champion with arguably the easiest draw for a Big 4, until he faces his old nemesis, Rafael Nadal in the marquee quarter final.
R1 – RF Vs Grega Zemlja: 9 games in two encounters don’t bode well for Grega’s team and Fedex is expected to rollover.
R2 – RF Vs Carlos Berlocq: Carlos had faced Roger in the Rome Masters 2012 where his serve managed to restrict evade a blow-off from Roger. However, his return game left a lot to be desired.
R3 – RF Vs Sam Querrey: 5 years…what has taken them so long to attend their 3rd career meeting? Federer has done well enough to not concede a set to Querrey, but it wasn’t a cakewalk for the Fedex. Despite his triumph in L.A, Querrey had his share of defeats indicating that he is yet to hit his eluding rhythm.
R4 – RF Vs Kei Nishikori / Bernard Tomic: Kei has been heard talking high of his best win of his career, which happens to be his victory over Roger himself. The duo met at Madrid earlier in the year and Kei was solid enough in his baseline game to outlast Roger. However, Kei has stiff challenger in Bernard Tomic and it remains to be seen if Kei can get past the Aussie ‘lad’.
QF – FEDAL: We witnessed it…we cherished it…and we await it! FEDAL could be on the cards for the first time in Newyork ever since its inception. Strange as it sounds, one should wonder how the time has played its part in reserving yet another chapter in a wonderful book. For a change, Roger goes in as a “favorite against a title favorite”.
FEDAL Quarter – Possible Path for Nadal:
“Man of the moment” has landed in Newyork and boy, is he in some form. Masters’ double at Montreal and Cincinnati makes him the first lefty to have accomplished this ever since the early 1990s. Would he be excited about what is to come his way, as the tournament progresses? Let us find out:
R1 – Rafa Vs Ryan Harrison: Local talent meets the Spanish bull. Their first meeting happened at Indian Wells earlier this season and Rafa, despite struggling to read the Harrison’s serve, started to settle down as the match progressed. While I see no alarming issues here, the tentativeness Rafa has adopted to big servers in initial rounds remains a worrying factor for tennis fans.
R2 – Rafa Vs Vasek Pospisil: Canadian has been making serious progress on circuit and made the front lines after his inspired, and miraculous as he terms, run at Montreal. He has jumped to a career best rank #39 and his sky-high confident. Canadians, Americans…they come with big serves! And, Pospisil is no exception to this. While Pospisil has to deal with varying pace, bounce and physically grueling rallies, return game will be crucial to Rafa’s confidence as he moves ON!
R3 – Rafa Vs Nikolay Davydenko / Ivan Dodig: Davydenko holds a 6-1 head to head lead over Rafa on hard courts which is as astounding as it can get. However, the 32 year old has bigger problems to deal with. His recent performances have little to argue against a chance of early exit before he hits at Rafa. Ivan Dodig is another probability to meet Rafa in R2 and he too leads Rafa 1-0 on hard courts. Early scares all along the way for Rafa and his fans!
R4 – Rafa Vs John Isner / Philip Kohlschreiber: Another American meets the Spanish bull! Does Rafa get a break? This is a real test to a man carrying momentum. How long can he survive? Having reached R4, one would expect Nadal to have adjusted to the court / ball pace and bounce. You may call him to have fallen into the groove. With Isner, no grooves are deep enough to hold you firm. This being a rematch of Cincinnati 2013 final, Isner would be keener to make an impact. Kohlschreiber has a decent chance of making it to R4 and if not threatening, he can be challenging and more pleasing opponent to face for Rafa.
QF – FEDAL: Tactics have worked for Roger Federer and that is a bad omen for Rafael Nadal. Nadal is suddenly getting hunted, which he doesn’t relish as well as he is expected to. Federer would believe that the prey has slipped through his grab at Cincinnati and he would be ready with a concrete game-plan. We witnessed it…we cherished it…but, I guess Rafa fan’s don’t await it!
Small Men’s Quarter – Possible Paths for Ferrer / Gasquet:
David Ferrer seems to have derailed in the 2013, barring his feat in Paris. His challenge could start from a R2 encounter with Thomaz Belluci who reminds me of Feliciano Lopez. He’s then awaited by Ernests Gulbis in 3rd round and Jerzy Janowicz in the 4th. While I had earlier suggested that Rafa could have landed in the toughest draw, this prompts me to rethink of that. He should be a relieved man to have crossed two of the most destrucive players on circuit. Haha, irony of life! He gets to meet Milos Raonic or Richard Gasquet, in Quarter-Finals!! Just WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! [Group of Death, for sure!!!!]
Gasquet’s Path to quarter final seems far less dangerous than what Ferrer has to deal with. Michael Russell in 1st round doesn’t sound too overwhelming. A chance to face off with Dmitry Tursunov in 3rd round starts to heat things up for Gasquet. Tursunov, who has had a decent outing against JMDP in Cincinnati Masters, can prove competitive for Gasquet. Milos Raonic, finalist at Montreal this year, awaits him in R4. Feliciano Lopez could be peeking over the corner for his chance as well, considering his overall ability on hardcourt game. I’d expect Gasquet to be meeting a taller man in the Quarter Final!!
Men’s Top Half [Apologies to Nolandy Fans!!!!!!]
Hardcore Quarter – Possible Path for Djokovic:
Remember the last time Nole has won a slam outside his empire in Melbourne? Yes, you guessed it right! It was at flushing meadows, 2011. Fans have been rearing to watch the dashing dominance of Nole-2k11 version in majors and what better place than Newyork to witness Nole reassert his presence at top? Five time hard court slam winner and 2011 USO champion is definitely the best hard court player in the current field, barring few hiccups he was served by the best player of 2013 and the best server in the current field.
R1 – Richard Berankis: Nole opens his quest against Lithuanian Berankis. I don’t expect this unfamiliar encounter to be surprising Nole much!
R2 – Lukas Rosol: Dynamite serve, ground strokes, keenness to earn quick points could make his case against Nole. While their previous encounter should be a forgettable one for Rosol, where he took a 6-1, 6-0 drubbing at the hands of a ruthless Nole, Rosol would like to get his ground right to prevent another embarrassment.
R3 – Grigor Dimitrov: Baby Fed is all set to meet the world no.1 in majors for second time in 2013. After his epic match at Madrid, Dimitrov was touted as a potential challenger for Nole at Paris. But, experts were quickly reminded that Nole at major is a different animal. Follwing his 3-set thriller against Rafael Nadal at Cincinnati, Dimitrov may not be an easy man to be pushed aside.
R4 – Fabio Fognini: 2 hardcourt encounters…Bagel…Breadstick… and a [7-5] set is all Fognini has managed to get from Nole. While his variety can trouble Nole, lack of penetration on ground strokes and wavering temperament could bring Fognini’s downfall.
QF – JMDP: This high voltage entertainer is expected to lead the contention for “match of the USO 2013”. Not long ago, spectators at Wimbledon have been treated with JMDP’s bullet paced forehands matching Nole’s top class resilience. Very few power hitters can overwhelm the ground strokes of Novak Djokovic and get him running like a rabbit. JMDP is certainly among that list. Can the spectators witness another epic 5 setter at Flushing Meadows? Only time will tell!
Wimbledon Champ’s Quarter – Possible Path for Murray:
Andy Murray gets the “touch” man Michael Llodra in 1st round. Even though the Brit leads Llodra by 3-0 in their career H2H, spectators have one good reason to tune onto this match. 8 games in 2 matches doesn’t put Victor Hanescu in contention to inflict an upset when he faces Murray in R2. Florian Mayer / Juan Monaco could be next for Murray. I’d love to place Florian Mayer against Andy Murray in R3 and see how he responds to aggressive game style early in the tournament. While Nicolas Almagro has had his troubles on hard courts, Denis Istomin has shown spark to challenge in his night showdown against Nole.
While the draws for Rafa and Nole have started tough, Murray has a luxury of easing his way into the tournament. But, does it keep him ready to shield the power of Berdych in Quarter-Finals? Murray had an issue of stringing points together when the ground strokes from Gulbis and Berdych unsettled him at Montreal and Cincinnati; strokes so pure and powerful that Murray was beaten within reachable distance. He struggled to find his timing, thereby pulling the trigger too early or too late. As once Fedal had done and recently Nole did, Murray has started believing in reserving his best tennis for majors. So, his performance in masters could mean nothing when he heads for Newyork. It remains to be seen if he can avenge his loss to Tomas Berdych or if Bridman can add insult to the injury!