The final Grand Slam of 2017 is almost here and the draw for this year's US Open has just taken place. Roger has been in New York for the last few days practicing which alleviates some of the fears his participation might be in doubt after he pulled up lame in the Montreal final. The Swiss has landed in the same half as Nadal and you can see his projected opponents below:
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Frances Tiafoe
- Round 2: Mikhail Youzhny
- Round 3: Feliciano Lopez
- Round 4: Nick Kyrgios
- Quarter Final: Dominic Thiem
- Semi Final: Rafael Nadal
- Final: Andy Murray
Thoughts on the Draw
First up is the up and comer Frances Tiafoe. Roger played him earlier this year and won in straights so I expect something similar here. Tiafoe is obviously getting better day by day but I don't see him having the consistency or game to really cause too many problems.
Round 2 is then likely to be veteran Mikhail Youzhny. Once a force on hard courts where he once schooled Nadal at the US Open but his best days are behind him. The Russian has to face Blaz Kavcic in his opener who's won two hard court Challengers in recent weeks so I can see that one being a 4 or 5 setter quite easily.
Into Round 3 and Lopez is the seeded opponent but Verdasco and Kuznetsov are also in this section. Lopez hasn't had a great US Open series so I wouldn't be surprised to see the Russian come through to meet Roger if he too makes Round 3. You can't count out Verdasco either if his game clicks into gear. Can any of them trouble Roger? Unlikely, Kuznetsov can definitely hang but he's not the toughest guy physically or mentally.
Round 4 has the Cincinnati finalist Nick Kyrgios as the seeded opposition. He's an enigma though and there are still question marks about his durability over 5 sets so perhaps Querrey has a good shout to make the fourth round. The American has had a stellar season and skipped Winston-Salem so it certainly looks like he's prepping for a good run at the US Open to add to his race points.
The Quarter Final sees Thiem as the top seed in his quarter but he's had a poor run in North America so I can't really him factoring. If the courts have any sort of speed they don't suit his game so that section is wide open with Agut and Mannarino surely fancying their chances to make a Slam Quarter Final.
Into the latter stages which are a long way off and Nadal is the Semi Final opponent, although perhaps Dimitrov will be looking to get one over him after the Australian Open Semi Final earlier this year. The Final is then former World Number 1 Andy Murray 🙂 he's not played since Wimbledon but he looks to be in decent shape from the few practice videos and pics I've seen.
Elsewhere in the Draw
With a somewhat depleted field thanks to no Novak Djokovic (elbow), Stan Wawrinka (knee) Kei Nishikori (wrist) and Milos Raonic (wrist) the draw is fairly open. In the same half as Roger is Nadal who has quite a nice quarter with a selection of whipping boys lining up like Gasquet and Berdych but he might have to face off against Dimitrov who surely goes in confident after winning Cincinnati.
As for the other half of the draw, Murray will face Tennys Sandgren first up, and could face Lucas Pouille or David Ferrer in the fourth round. Tsonga is also in that section but he's had a woeful US Open series so I can't see him making the Quarter Finals. Will Murray put a run together? As I mentioned above he's looking lean but then I read he's again limping around in practice so who knows.
Interestingly Zverev goes in here as the fourth seed and he kicks things off against a qualifier. Kevin Anderson is a likely third round opponent for him who he's beaten twice comfortably in recent weeks. It will be interesting to see how Sascha goes, he's surely confident but his record at Grand Slams isn't too clever and he's never beaten anyone in the Top 50 at Slam level which is pretty crazy to say he has two Masters 1000 titles to his name. Fortunately, his section is pretty light with only Cilic in his Quarter but he's not played since Wimbledon.
Interesting First Round Matches
Not many jumping off the page yet but Qualifiers are yet to be added…
- Federer vs. Tiafoe
- Cilic vs. Simon
- Kohlschreiber vs. Paire
Predictions for Federer? Tough to say as we don't know how big a deal the back was in Montreal. He's had 2 weeks to recover and from what I've seen in practice he's looking ok, looking a bit half paced and languid in his movement/return stance but that's often how he practices when it's open to the public. So guess we just have to wait and see how he deals with Tiafoe next week.
Let me know what you think of the draw in the comments.