Top 8 USO contenders

#1 Roger Federer
Absolute favorite once again. There’s nothing that proves otherwise. Djokovic? If he makes the final, he will impress more than ever, having the toughest draw of the top seeds. In his L16 section, Richard Gasquet is the threat and this is most likely the 4th round match-up.
Gasquet and Roddick are the only ones who actually stand a slight chance. He COULD run into Canas in the SF, but I really don’t think Canas will make it that far. Davydenko and Blake stand in his way. Does it matter who he plays in the final? Not really, unless it’s a fired up Novak who has sailed through in easy short matches. BUT: watch out for Gasquet, Roddick and Djokovic.

# 2 Rafael Nadal
I genuinely believe this guy is capable of winning this. Don’t care what experts are saying, but his draw is harder than Federer’s. Tipsarevic, Tursunov, Ferrer, Nalbandian, Safin, Ljubicic. These guys are very good on HC. Nadal is just better than these guys, who have not delievered on HC. Maybe except Tursunov and Ferrer. I think Nadal’s “Canas” is actually Mikhail Youzhny, who I just don’t see losing to Nadal on these fast HCs. Loved their match last year, and it could well be that they meet in the SF. If Youzhny keeps his shots deep and low, like he usually does, Nadal will not be the threat he is. I am positive that Youzhny would have won in Wimbledon had his back been ok.

#3 Novak Djokovic
Ever which way you want to put it, Novak is still a top 3 final contender. Poor guy, he has Ancic (on his way back), Stepanek (maybe playing his best tennis), Del Potro (on the rise), and Hewitt (also getting there) before an QF against Youzhny or Fish. I’m getting tired by just lookin at the names! Yes, Novak is 20 and young but this could easily be a 4 set average for him in the early rounds! That’s why I don’t think Djokovic will make it past Hewitt. If he does, he still needs to beat Nadal and Federer.

#4 Andy Roddick
Poor Andy. He should sail past his two first matches. But then comes Karlovic! Always tiebreakers! Both are excellent servers, lousy returners, hence 6 all. Then comes Berdych potentially. That’s the key word. He hasn’t done anything on HC this year due to illness. No good prep at Roger’s and Cincy. But still, it’s Berdych. Do I hear another tiebreak? At last QF and here is the great Swiss. Roddick said that nobody beats him ten times in a row. We believe him and want him to succeed. But he needs to find the level he had last year and especially try to figure out how he got match points in the Masters Cup last year. I mean, even with a 13-1 h2h, he actually is relatively close each time they meet. This is his chance in front of his home croud and NOT in a final where Federer usually plays his best.

#5 Lleyton Hewitt
What? Did I run out of players. No, I think Lleyton’s chances, considering the draw, are way better than many of the higher ranked players. I think 3 relatively easy rounds and then BAM a tired Djokovic. If Djokovic is rusty after tough matches, Hewitt will take advantage. If not.. OUT! He could meet Youzhny and Nadal after that. Not easy but Lleyton has won here before and I think at his best he should beat these two. I would be surprised, but not extremely surprised if Hewitt is in the final and Nadal or Djokovic is not.

#6 James Blake
Good draw, except for Roger Federer. This takes him from maybe #4 spot to #6 because he has never beaten Federer and just won’t do it here either. SF would be a good run for him and I think that’s where he goes. His only major threat is Baghdatis if he plays well.

#7 Nikolay Davydenko
This guy is good, but not good enough to wipe out any top 10 player in this slam. SF is his greatest achievement and I think that’s where it stops. He has an ok draw, but I think QF against Blake is where to road ends for him.

#8 Mikhail Youzhny
Great potential! A little more luck against Roddick last year would have given him a final spot. Played really well on HC at the start of the year, but has had back problems and not seen great results recently. If he is 100% fit, the draw gets him to a QF against Hewitt which he surely can beat. And then Nadal in the SF. Why not finally breaking through and beating Federer in the final? Inconsistency and finally a nerve or two will probably not allow that.

That is it. Just don’t think there are other players even worth discussing in this list. Although I would give fairly small chance for any other player to beat Federer. Like I said, he needs to be taken down early on, either by Gasquet or Roddick.

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