3 Grand Slams down, 1 to go as the top players in the world travel to New York for the 2014 US Open. This year’s event starts on Monday and gives all the players the last chance of Grand Slam glory this year.
Below I’ve decided to preview the Men’s singles with Rafael Nadal the defending champion. Unfortunately Rafa cannot defend his title as he has pulled out with a wrist injury.
Top 16 Seeds:
1 – Novak Djokovic 9 – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
2 – Roger Federer 10 – Kei Nishikori
3 – Stan Wawrinka 11 – Ernests Gulbis
4 – David Ferrer 12 – Richard Gasquet
5 – Milos Raonic 13 – John Isner
6 – Tomas Berydych 14 – Marin Cilic
7 – Grigor Dimitrov 15 – Fabio Fognini
8 – Andy Murray 16 – Tommy Robredo
With Nadal out injured, last year’s Runner-Up Novak Djokovic has a strong chance of adding to his 7 grand slam successes and starts as favourite to advance through the first Quarter. He opens his 2014 campaign against Argentine Diego Schwartzman, with a possible 4th round clash against home favourite John Isner looming.
This quarter is arguably the toughest as Novak may have to overcome Andy Murray or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-final, with the pair set to meet in the 4th round. 2012 champion Murray, has a tough looking draw ahead of him but tough draws always seem to bring the best out of the Brit, so don’t be surprised to see him go far. Tsonga’s first round opponent is a potentially tricky Juan Monaco, with French compatriot Julian Benneteau a potential third round opponent. Michael Llodra enters his final career Grand Slam, and faces Daniel Gimeno-Traver, in what could possibly be his last match at Grand Slam level.
Projected 4th rounds:
Novak Djokovic (1) V John Isner (13)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (9) V Andy Murray (8)
The highest seed in the second quarter, Stan Wawrinka, opens up against youngster Jiri Vesely, with a possible third round encounter with Jeremy Chardy looking likely. His projected quarter-final opponent Milos Raonic, faces a qualifier in the first round, before a potential 3rd round match-up with fellow big-server Lukas Rosol. Also in this quarter is the talented Kei Nishikori, who despite being recently injured, poses a huge threat to both Wawrinka and Raonic. Recent Cincinnati semi-finalist, Tommy Robredo, could provide plenty of shocks and could face Wawrinka in the 4th round. Nadal’s 2014 Wimbledon conqueror, Nick Kyrgios, faces veteran Mikhail Youzhny, and his draw could open up if he was to defeat the 21st seeded Russian. Vasek Pospisil could have a surprise run here, and a third round meeting with Kygrios would be exciting.
Projected 4th rounds:
Stan Wawrinka (3) V Tommy Robredo (16)
Milos Raonic (5) V Kei Nishikori (10)
The third quarter appears to be the most open, with players such as David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Ernests Gulbis and Marin Cilic contained within. Ferrer faces a first round clash with Damir Dzumhur, before facing the winner of the intriguing match between Bernard Tomic and Dustin Brown. His projected quarter-final opponent Berdych, has his work cut out in the first round as he faces 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt, with Gulbis playing Kenny De Schepper and Cilic facing Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the first round respectively.
Also featuring within the quarter are big-serving Kevin Anderson and Feliciano Lopez, who are capable of beating top 10 players. Another big server Jerzy Janowicz, could face Anderson in the second round, so bring your hard hats if that match appears.
Projected 4th rounds:
Tomas Berdych (6) V Ernests Gulbis (11)
Marin Cilic (14) V David Ferrer (4)
Cincinnati champion Roger Federer, arrives in New York as many people’s favourite, and his draw only furthers that claim. Marinko Matosevic provides the first test for the 5-time champion, with the winner of Sam Groth and Albert Ramos-Vinolas awaiting in round 2. Federer’s potential toughest match could come in the quarters, with Grigor Dimitrov his projected opponent. Dimitrov faces American wildcard Ryan Harrison first up, before a potential third round with Joao Sousa in the third round. He could face either Gael Monfils or Richard Gasquet in the 4th round, with the French pair set to face eachother in the round before. Erratic Italian Fabio Fognini is projected as the highest seed Federer could face before the quarters, with Roberto Bautista-Agut, the next highest seed. Ivo Karlovic looms as a third round foe for Federer but he must come through the small section of Jarkko Nieminem, Jurgen Melzer and Marcel Granollers. In-form David Goffin is placed in this section, and must come through a qualifier first up. With the form he’s in, he could make a mark in New York.
Projected 4th rounds:
Grigor Dimitrov (7) V Richard Gasquet (12)
Fabio Fognini (15) V Roger Federer (2)
With this being the last slam of the year, I can see a few early upsets occurring before the draw takes a normal feeling to it, with the top seeds advancing to the latter stages. On paper Federer has the nicest draw out of the top seeds and I expect him to make the latter rounds, defeating either Dimitrov or Gasquet on the way, with the prediction that Gasquet will defeat Monfils. Federer’s semi-final opponent is very tough to pick, with this quarter being the most open for me. I don’t usually do this but I’m going to have to disappoint people and say I’m sitting on the fence with this one, but I expect it to be out of Gulbis, Cilic or Ferrer. I’ve ruled out Berdych as Hewitt poses a strong threat in round 1, and I think Gulbis would just edge him out if they were to meet. Lopez also looks to be in good form recently but the big occasion often gets to him, but he could reach the quarters here. Cilic and Ferrer is tough to call, with the Croatian winning their only meeting at Grand Slam level.
In the top quarter, the projected fourth round match between Tsonga and Murray looks a cracker but Murray’s large lead in their head-to-head makes the Brit favourite to win if they meet. His quarter-final opponent should be Djokovic, who I expect to make this stage easily, despite his poor recent form. If Djokovic advances to the latter stages then his form will be strong and that makes him near unbeatable in my view. I think he’ll have too much for Murray and face Raonic in the semis, as he’s been alot more consistent than Wawrinka recently and Nishikori has only just returned from injury.
This is the hardest Grand Slam to predict for a long time, but I expect it to be a repeat of the Wimbledon final, with Djokovic facing Federer. The Swiss man has been the in-form player in the world at the moment so I wouldn’t be surprised if he lifted his 18th major title, but Djokovic will pick form up throughout, and if he makes the final it will be hard to rule him out.
Winner: Novak Djokovic
Dark horses: Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic
Potential surprise runs: Vasek Pospisil, David Goffin
5 first round matches to watch:
Julian Benneteau V Benoit Paire
Stan Wawrinka V Jiri Vesely
Mikhail Youzhny V Nick Kyrgios
Tomas Berdych V Lleyton Hewitt
Marin Cilic V Marcos Baghdatis
Thanks for taking the time to read my preview of the men’s singles draw at the US Open, I hoped you enjoyed it. Why not join the debate and comment your predictions for the men’s singles draw at the US Open? For any questions or queries on this blog, or other blogs, either contact me on my twitter handle – @Tennis17MAD or via email at – firstname.lastname@example.org