Top US Open contenders

I’ve done this for every slam, and for the first time, I don’t think we know the winner before the final day. There aren’t too many contenders, but there are some that stand out and deserve some aknowledgement.

1. Rafael Nadal
Yes, you heard me. I even think you agree. Rafa has a stunning 38-1 on 3 surfaces this past spring/summer season. That is something even Federer has struggled doing in those fine 05 and 06 seasons. If you don’t think he’s hard court material, then a 14-1 since hitting the hard courts is probably one of his best runs ever. Going in with the Olympic Gold, #1 ranking, a whole lotta confidence and a Federer struggling to find winning tactics, the road is clear for a Rafa win in New York. Nadal has never passed the QF at the Open, but this year he seems to perform better and better. Some people think he’s tired, I think he’s inspired. However, there’s a good point made when he has played so many matches this year, and this Cincy-Beijing-New York trip in 3 weeks is no good for any human being. If he doesn’t run into trouble early, he should be good to go on cruise control, but getting passed those first few obstacles might be difficult. I still put him on top though!

2. Roger Federer
Federer is 2nd seed and therefore 2nd favorite. How can he be after winning this thing every year since 2004?! Because he has 4-3 record on his back this fall on hard courts. That doesn’t have to mean anything, because it’s Federer, but look out for other players like Blake who hasn’t beaten you yet. It seems to be the season to beat Federer for the first time. I’ve heard that the grass at Wimbledon quite possibly is slower than the hard courts at the Open. That could be significant for Roger if he runs into Nadal in a final. Rafa moved a lot better on grass and Federer will go in as a bigger favorite then. The only problem is that he has to beat 6 other players before we get there. Djokovic could take out either one of the two top guys, but Roger-Rafa final is more likely than ever in New York. Here’s why….

3. Novak Djokovic
If Djokovic would have beaten Nadal in Beijing, he would be either on 2. or 1. upstairs. I thought that Djokovic’s hard court game is way too stable and reliable for Nadal’s defense. I was wrong and Nadal proved he can beat this year’s first slam winner. He has a final to defend, a thing he has never had to do before. The math is still easy, and he needs to get passed one of the two big guys to achieve this. Depending on his form, he is just as vulnerable as Nadal and Federer in terms of losing earlier. For the first time in years, I actually think we could see some other guys in the title race. One name that pops out is the new Scottish star, winner of Cincy…

4. Andy Murray
The reason Andy has not only hit his best ranking, but finally won a Masters, is his run of consistency. He won Doha the first week of the year, then was very unfortunate to run into AO finalist Tsonga in the first round, only to win Marseille with ease. On clay it wasn’t all the good, because he hates it I guess. Reached his first QF in Wimbledon, SF and W back-to-back before Beijing. He has raised his game and lost fewer matches early in tournaments. This means that he can pull an upset to one of the big guns in the QFs and cruise into a US Open final. I know he’s never passed QF in a slam, but there’s always that first time, isn’t it?

5. Andy Roddick
Andy the 2nd now unfortunately, for him. Unless of course, he retires due to some injury, he should be good to go this year. His plan to skip Beijing and focus on US hard courts seemed like a good idea. Now that he performed under his ability in both LA and DC, things look less bright. The start of the season was very mixed, early loss in Aussie, beating Fed-Rafa-Djok in one month, reached a SF on clay!!, and injured which seems to have ruined his momentum into grass season and now the hard court season. But there’s no doubt Roddick is best in New York and now that Federer is mentally injured from losing to 3 Americans in 6 months, the belief system has gotten a revolution. Don’t be surprised to see him in a SF or better.

6. James Blake
I was so angry when Blake pissed the 3 match points away against Gonzo. He had deserved that win, but choked like a fly in vacuum. For a breif week he was US #1 player and seemed to finally crack the top 5 code. Problem is that he didn’t defend the Cincy final and lost a good chunk of points. Ranking doesn’t really matter when you beat Federer, I think. Federer has stopped Blake at the Open before, but this time Blake can say that he actually has a chance. He won’t step onto the court and think that this is the end. He knows he can beat Nadal and Djokovic could be the toughest at this point. Either way, the fact that he even got to a bronze medal final was a good sign going to New York. Maybe the Americans will rise to the home tuft occasion.

7. Ferrer & Davydenko
What the hell is wrong with these guys?! It’s like they hit a tree when they date the word success. Since hitting the hard courts Ferrer has a strong 1-3. Davydenko shows off with 2-3. I thought people were disapointed with the Americans! I don’t think they even should make this list, because inconsistency like this shows why they will never win 7 straight matches and win a slam.

9. Del Potro and Gonzalez
Del Potro and Gonzalez have to share the final spot. Del Potro has won 4 freakin’ straight tournaments! 19 consecutive wins! He has beaten some lower ranked players, but was able to destroy Roddick in LA with 6-1, 7-6! I can see him easily passing some obstacles like Ferrer or Davydenko early and maybe even giving the more challenging players a good fight. QF?
Gonzalez is a weird guy. No offense! He hadn’t won 2 straight matches since Queen’s, but reached the final in the Olympics. And the way he got to the SF against Blake was impressive. Straight set wins with plenty of breaks of serve. Maybe he didn’t have the nastiest draw, but it always looks good for a player to hold a silver medal before heading to New York. Is Chile only strong in Olympics? We will see.


2 Responses to “Top US Open contenders”

  1. Tim Says:

    No, no, no! Djokovic on 2nd and Blake+Ferrer in front of Roddick.

  2. Allan Says:

    Don’t know why everybody is doubting Federer. He has done poorly in Masters on hard courts this year. That’s it. Clay was good, grass was as good as it gets with a Nadal in play. In terms of Grand Slam: semifinal due to illness, final in Paris due to Rafa, final in Wimbledon due to Rafa.
    If the mono is completely out, which seems to be the case, he should be favorite to win US Open.

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