Men’s Draw Surprises

Aug 31, 2010

First, let’s admit it: Aiur probably has it right: the four semi-finalists are going to be Nadal, Murray, Roddick and Federer.  And, yes, probably it will be Murray and Federer in the final.  I think Murray wins that one if it happens.

But  let’s assume that conventional wisdom is wrong for a moment and consider the possibilities.  Rafa will probably have little trouble with Denis Istomin, or with the Simon/Kohlschreiber winner in the third, though both matches contain elements of danger for Rafa.  If Rafa wins those two, he has a virtual walkover in R16.  That’s when it gets tricky, friends.  He gets whoever comes through of Verdasco, Ferrer and Nalbandian.  No problem, you may say: Rafa owns the other Spaniards.  True enough, but Nalbandian is Argentine, and I think he makes it through to the quarters with a nearly even shot against Rafa.

Murray will waltz through to the quarters, where the only thing that can keep him from meeting Berdych would be a miracle recovery by John Isner followed by a great serving day in R16.  Personally, I’m hoping that occurs, but I’m not exactly holding my breath.  In all likelihood, it’s Murray over Berdych in four sets, but if Murray were having an off day serving and Berdych were able to overcome his nerves, an upset could occur.

Roddick will roll over Monfils in R3.  He has only the Davydenko/Gasquet winner to worry about before the quarters.  Once again, there it gets dicey.  He will meet the winner of Djokovic/Fish.  This is absolutely guaranteed to be someone playing extremely well, and Roddick will have his hands full.  In spite of his breathing problems and undistinguished play this summer, I liked the Djoker to pick it up a notch, make it through to the quarters, and give Andy a contest — though he’s less likely to upset Andy than Mardy is.  After seeing the first round, though Djokovic showed great heart and good conditioning, his struggles with breathing and serving made him look very vulnerable.  Fish may well win that match.  If he does, Andy will have all he can handle.

Federer absolutely owns everybody in his quarter of the draw.  Only injury can prevent him making the semis.

So the best longshots to make the semis, in my opinion, are #31 seed David Nalbandian and #19 Mardy Fish.  And how much of a longshot is Nalbandian, really?  A former world #3 player who’s been having a great summer while making an impressive comeback from surgery, his toughness on the court is legendary.  He has career wins over everybody and has been at various times the nemesis of practically all the top players.  At #19, which isn’t exactly dark horse territory for the semis, Fish is more of a longshot than Nalbandian and always has been.  So if you’re looking for rank outsiders to come through the men’s draw at the U.S. Open, you’ll have to wait till next year.

Written by: Don

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