How can Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal surprise us at the US Open
The Final Grand Slam of the year begins tomorrow in New York and with the top 99 players in the World all in the mash up draw, which one should ensure as fascinating a tournament at Flushing Meadows.
The last seven tourmanets have produced 6 different champions, including the only ever Slams for Juan Martin del Potro and the Croat – Marin Cilic, along with Andy Murray’s first major in 2012.
Last year’s final between Cilic and Kei Nishikori was the first Slam decider since the Australian Open in 2005 that did not feature Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic, this adds some more spice to our mix as a new winner is quiet likely.
Djokovic will certainly be going in to the tournament as the man to beat, with Roger, Murray and Wawrinka being THE ONES to counter his movements.
The Serb has been the most consistent player over hte last 4 years and has reached semi-finals or better in the 20 of his last 21 Grand Slams, he also participated in the final of the last 10 tournaments he played! He also won 2 of the 3 Grand Slams and lost to the mighty Stanislas Wawrinka in the final of French Open.
Meanwhile, Federer is continuing to defy his 34 years and playing terrific tennis as last seen in the final of Cincinnati against Djokovic. Roger’s extremely offensive play had Novak on the back foot in the entire match, his volleys and court coverage was astonishing throughout the match. His victory in Cincinnati ensured him the second seed position, this means he won’t see Djokovic all the way until the final.
Murray also comes into the tournament with some real confidence winning Montral two weeks ago, with Djokovic in the final. It was his first win against the Serb in eight encounters over a two-year spell and was really… needed mojo booster. Without a doubt he has become a terrific competitor with insane comebacks against the likes of Richard Gasquet and Grigor Dimitrov.
However… Here are the good news for my followers, Murray has not won his last 5 encounters against Federer including the semi-final in Cincinnati and the Wimbledon semi-final.
French Open champion, Stanislas Wawrinka is without a doubt, the most powerful player on tour and when he is on his game, he is more than capable to beat anyone on court as we saw his victories at Roland Garros. We also saw a bit of failures from him in the earlier rounds of the tournaments as he is the most dangerous, only when carrying momentum on his shoulders and often comes out flat in the early stages. Djokovic comfortably beat him last week.
Last year’s runner-up Kei Nishikori will again be a threat but with his recent injuries it may be an unknown how we performs. His last year’s breakthrough in multiple tournaments showcased some of the best tennis against the likes of Wawrinka or Djokovic. Nishikori co-coached by 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang, has had a solid 2015 reaching number 4 in the rankings and winning 3 titles in total, outplayed only by Djokovic and Federer. As stated before though, injuries have been a real struggle for him and he even pulled out of Cincinnati with a hip problem.
So now… What’s up with 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafa Nadal who is experiencing the worst run of his carrer.
As it is, Nadal’s situation will struggle to improve, he hasn’t advanced past quarter-finals of any Grand Slam this season. 17 out of the last 20 players to beat the Majorcan have lost their next match in the same tournament. It will be a turn up if he progressed beyond the quarter-finals.
Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Marin Cilic all have powerful tennis capabilities however none of them consist of the consistency to win required seven matches.
Having said all that, Federer vs Djokovic final is very likely and with the way I see it, Roger has it to beat Novak.
Williams, winner of the last 4 Grand Slams and past 3 US Opens, she is trying her chances at taking her 22nd Grand Slam! Serena’s quarter of the draw reads the likes of Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams, Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Keys – all capable of wonders, when playing their best tennis.
The women’s tournament is attracting as much interest as the men’s side as Serena can be the first player to win the Calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988. She won the US Open 6 times in her career – her first victory was back in 1999 as a 17-year old. The hardcourt suits her play style allowing her to maximise her powerful tennis, she will also have the patriotic crowd behind her as she closes in on history.
So what hope is there for anyone going against her in this case? With Williams just a month away from her 34th birthday, suffered a collapse against an up and coming star – Belinda Bencic in the semi-final of the Toronto Open. Although Serena won the final of Cincinnati, her serve was really on and off most of the time, she was also close to losing the match against Ana Ivanovic, thankfully her game went back up to highest standard deep in the 2nd set.
She also almost lost to Heather Watson in Wimbledon whe she seemed to feel the pressure closing in on the ‘Serena Slam’. Based on all that, there’s a chance she can choke up under the expectations at Flushing Meadows, however we would need to expect the likes of Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka or Simona Halep to up their game against her.
Halep had poor opening 6 months of the year including losing in the first round at Wimbledon, but now we see some sort of revival from her, reaching the finals in Toronto and Cincinnati. She was able to counter the top-25 side of the table to the Toronto decider where she retired due to illness against Bencic.
Simona was able ot beat Serena on hard court last year in the WTA Finals. Her recent improvements she will be seeded 2nd meaning Simona – Serena match up would have to wait all the way til the final.
Another big enemy can be Azarenka as they both met in the final twice in 2012 and 2013, both of which went in to the deciding 3rd set, taken by Serena on each occasion. The former world number 1 is one of very few players that is capable to consistely return Seren’a serve and not get outpowered in the battle of forehands.
Petra Kvitova, along with Belinda Bencic, is the only person to beat Williams in a singles match this year. Czech’s victory took play on clay in Madrid. However, Petra hasn’t advanced past 4th round of US Open in her career.
Last year’s runner-up Caroline Wozniacki has had good history in Flushing Meadows, reaching at least the semi-finals in the fourt of the last 6 years however with recent slump of form it will be definitely harder for her to reach the standard of game she was able to unleash in the previous years.
Surprise Wimbledon runner-up, Garbine Muguruza was defeated by qualifiers in her two matches since Wimbledon, however she tends to turn up the heat for Grand Slams, I would still rule her out completely though.
All in all, Serena has had it tough in the past days but in general, Serena with the momentum is unstoppable.
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