The draw for the US Open is out and Federer's landed a good one. In fact on paper it looks peRFect but of course matches aren't played on paper, they're played on the court so I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. All I know is I'm excited for the tournament ahead and hoping Fed continues his form from Cincinnati.
I think with this draw and Fed's hard court game he has a great shot at making the final and then anything can happen. I would say on balance that Roger's going into this slam as second favourite but it's close between him and Djokovic. I make Djokovic pre tournament favourite purely because of his Wimbledon victory and his consistent record in New York over the last 4 years. Federer is up there because he's bang in form on the hard courts and has a pretty imperious record in New York, after all he won it 5 times in a row. Djokovic has been the best hard court player of the last 3/4 years, and he's won the US Open… a grand total of once.
Federer Seeded Opponents
- 1st Round: Matosevic
- 2nd Round: Groth / Ramos-Vinolas
- 3rd Round: Karlovic
- 4th Round: Fognini
- Quarter Final: Dimitrov / Gasquet
- Semi Final: Ferrer
- Final: Djokovic
Thoughts on the Draw
First up for Roger is Australian Marinko Matosevic whom he beat earlier in the year at the Brisbane International. Up until the French Open this year Matosevic had lost in all 12 of his first round Grand Slam matches. Safe to say his record over 5 sets is very poor.
I think he can be dangerous when he's free hitting but this guy is such a loose cannon and I can see Fed dispatching him easily. Maybe there will be a close set in there but Matosevic has a very short fuse and I don't think he can handle a pro Federer crowd on a packed Arthur Ashe court.
The second round will either be against another Aussie, big serving Sam Groth, or Spanish leftie, Albert Ramos. I can't see either of those guys doing much damage. Fed schooled Ramos 6-1 6-1 6-1 in their only previous encounter and he's never played Groth who has a huge serve but not much else. Ramos hasn't played a single hard court tournament heading into New York either so I'm not sure what he can really expect of himself. I'll pick Groth to come through that one.
The third round could be Karlovic but I'll pick Granollers to make it to the third round from that section. I think he has too much consistency for Melzer and should beat Karlovic. I suppose Nieminen can't be ruled out either and he's actually troubled Fed before so that could be one to watch.
The fourth round is seeded to be against Fognini, but he has the reliability of an Italian car so I just don't see him making it. There's nobody else really there though other than Bautista-Agut who is a pusher at this level so it's really wide open. Mannarino could even make it if he has a solid run.
The Quarter final could be an interesting one with Dimitrov the seeded opponent but his form hasn't been fantastic after Wimbledon. Gasquet is there too but he withdrew with injury at the Roger's Cup and he's been plagued all year so I can't see him performing well over 5 sets.
The semi is seeded to be Ferrer and I think he will get there as he's the most consistent player in that half of the draw and has been in good form in Toronto / Cincy. It would be interesting to see Roger face Ferrer here for the third tournament in a row and it would be their first ever meeting in a Slam. 16-0 H2H but no meetings over 5 sets, quite surprising.
The final is of course seeded to be against Djokovic but I have no idea if he makes it or not. That half of the draw is wide open, as is the whole tournament really as Murray is out of sorts. Maybe Tsonga can play like he played in Canada but I think it's unlikely.
Elsewhere in the Draw
Top 10 Seed 1st Round Matches:
- Novak Djokovic vs. Diego Schwartzman
- Roger Federer vs. Marinko Matosevic
- Stan Wawrinka vs. Jiri Vesely
- David Ferrer vs. Damir Dzumhur
- Milos Raonic vs. Qualifier
- Tomas Berdych vs. Lleyton Hewitt
- Grigor Dimitrov vs. Ryan Harrison
- Andy Murray vs. Robin Haase
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Juan Monaco
- Kei Nishikori vs. Wayne Odesnik
The other half of the draw is definitely tougher and Murray especially doesn't have it easy with Robin Haase, Radek Stepanek, Fernando Verdasco, Tsonga, Djokovic, and either Wawrinka or Raonic all potential opponents if he were to make the final. That's a tough route considering he's not in very good form. Maybe he can finally get back to his slam contesting level but he hasn't looked convincing so far on the hard courts.
Djokovic has it pretty tough too with a potential third round against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and a fourth round against John Isner who has beaten him before on US hard courts. Big John's fitness is questionable though after he withdrew from Winston Salem and his body is clearly made of glass which gives Djokovic a huge advantage over 5 sets. Murray is of course his seeded quarter final opponent and then Wawrinka or Raonic are the seeded semi final opponents. He's clearly better than all those guys on his day but might have to expend a lot of energy to make the final.
Interesting First Round Matches
- Lleyton Hewitt vs. Tomas Berdych
- Marcos Baghdatis vs. Marin Cilic
I can see Baghdatis taking out Cilic here and Hewitt could easily go 5 vs Berdych if he is at full fitness. Good news for Fed if so as we definitely don't want a USO 2012 Quarter Final repeat.
My Darkhorse Picks
- Philipp Kohlschreiber
- Mikhail Kukushkin
- Gael Monfils
So overall I think Fed has landed a very favourable draw but it really means nothing in the grand scheme of things as it's just one match at a time. It's definitely hard not be optimistic as a Fed fan heading into the tourmament but the final is 7 matches away. Fed would be stupid to look that far ahead and so would his fans. First task is getting rid of the unlike-able Aussie Matosevic.
I won't make a prediction and I don't want to either but I've always given him an equal or better shot at winning the USO than Wimbledon. This year I didn't give him much chance of winning Wimbledon as it would have been a shock considering he didn't have a great clay season yet he made the final. Making the final in Toronto and winning Cincy is definitely a huge stepping stone just like Nadal last year so it's not impossible he can go one better this time around.
See you guys next week on live chat. Personally hoping for day matches so I'm not hooking myself up to a drip at 3am 🙂