Tennis has arrived at the last grandslam lap of the season. The year’s final major is preparing to thrill the fans over a memorable fortnight in the city that never sleeps. Fans had enough share of suspense and drama until last week about defending champion Rafael Nadal’s participation till thecurtains were put on the speculations when Rafa announced on his official Facebook page that he won’t be coming back to defend his title because of his ailing wrist. He becomes the third player in 21st century to do so in New York city following Pete Sampras who retired from pro-tennis after his winning run in 2002 and Del Potro who missed the event in 2010 after his historic title victory over Roger Federer in 2009. Incidentally, Del Potrois missing this year’s open due to injuries too.
Men’s Top Half:
The world no.1 and 2011 US Open champion Novak Djokovic is flooded with some serious contenders in his half of the draw. TheSerb’s game was far from its best in the tune-up events where he was soundly beaten in straight sets by Tsonga and Robredo in Toronto and Cincinnati. In fact, he looked vulnerable in all the four matches he contested since winning his second Wimbledon. Hewill be hoping that he survives the early rounds and also that Murray and Wawrinka, who are drawn to play him in quarters and semis respectively, lose early. A positive for the Serb here would be the dismal performances by Murray this year so far. Murray has failed to reach a final since returning from the back surgery last year. Also, an out of form Wawrinkahasfailed to replicate his Australian Open winning level.
Another big player who could potentially stop Djokovic well before the finals is American hope John Isner who is drawn to play him in R16. But Isner himself has to deal with his nemesis Kohlschreiber, who has beaten him in last two years on Arthur Ashe Stadium, in the third round. Murray too has a tough outing before his showpiece quarter final against Djokovic as he will be playing Verdasco in third round and Toronto titlist Tsonga in fourth round. Wawrinka has a better draw when compared with that of Djokovic and Murray as he may not be tested until the quarter finals where big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic awaits. Also in his path isRobredo who beat Federer last year and who he is slated to meet in R16. Raonic is supposed to play a blockbuster fourth round match against Kei Nishikori as per the draw’s order but it seems unlikely as Michael Chang’s charge is still suffering from the injury he sustained in the Madrid final.
Men’s Bottom Half:
With the absence of Nadal, five time champion Roger Federer is seeded second for a third straight tournament since Wimbledon and starts as hot favorite to emerge as winner from his half. Roger has not had this type of draw over many years as he’s not going to meet any of his fellow big four rivals until the title decider. Being the only top ten guyin good form coming to New York, Roger will be bidding for an unprecedented record sixth title at the US Open. This could be the best chance for Roger to win a major since 2012 Wimbledon. If he can achieve this memorable feat, he would ascend to world no.2 and will be a big contender to finish as year-end no.1 for a record sixth time tying his idol Pete Sampras.
Major threats on his path to the final probably could be Dimitrov in the quarters and Berdych or Ferrer in the semis. Possible showdowns against the Karlovic in third round and Fabio Fognini or Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round could prove to be entertaining affairs.
Ferrer, Berdych and Dimitrovthemselves could potentially have some difficult matches before moving into the second week of the tournament. Berdych begins his campaign with a mouthwatering first round against 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt and could playbig hitter Klizan in the second round. He could then face ErnestsGulbis or Feliciano Lopez in the fourth roundand Ferrer in quarter final. Ferrer has to overcome a similar draw en route to the quarters in which he could face Bernard Tomic or Dustin Brown in the second round followed by Gilles Simon in the third round and Cilic or Anderson in the fourth. Dimitrov opens with a high-profile contest against American future prospect Ryan Harrison followed by potential matches with David Goffin in the third round, Monfils or Gasquet in the fourth round and what could be the match of the tournament in the quarters against Roger Federer.
Djokovic vs Isner
Murray vs Tsonga
Wawrinka vs Robredo
Raonic vs Nishikori
Federer vs Fognini
Dimitrov vs Monfils
Ferrer vs Anderson
Berdych vs Lopez
Djokovic vs Murray
Wawrinka vs Raonic
Federer vs Dimitrov
Ferrer vs Berdych
Djokovic vs Raonic
Federer vs Ferrer
-Harish Narahari [Harish Narahari is a Sports Analyst for the Tennis Galaxy at Sportz Cosmos He tweets here]
3 thoughts on “US Open 2014-Preview”
I just do not see Raonic and Ferrer reaching the semifinal. Not even Berdych. I think Federer will play a surprise semifinalist. Let us see.
Nice write up Harish…. a very exciting GS in making….. so many story lines…. Hope to see some one from the “shot-making” quarter of Fed/Dimitrov/Gasquet/Monfils make it all the way….
Andy is a doubtful for quarters now. Looking at his and Tsonga’s form, a Nole-Tsonga rematch is all possible. Andy hasn’t failed before quarters in slams for a long time though…