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 US-Open preview 2010

 

By 

 

HARTMUT HESSE

 

The 2010 US-Open will kick off tomorrow and it looks like the men’s and the women’s tournament will offer some very interesting matches and a possible first time US-Open Champion. Especially the men’sdraw is as open as it has not been in the past 7 years, since the dominance of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal started. And with Serena Williams not playing this year’s tournament, the women’s draw is also wide open for a surprise champion.

 

I want to start my preview with the men’s tournament, where Robin Soderling and Thomas Berdych might be two of the hottest candidates for a first Grand Slam title of their career, after reaching their first Grand Slam final this season in Wimbledon (Berdych) and Roland Garros (Soderling). Even though they have not been very convincing in the past hard court tournaments, I am sure that one of them will make a splash at the US-Open this year. Berdych won’t have many problems in his section of the draw, before he might run into Isner or Youzhny in the 4th round. A match against John Isner, especially at the US-Open, is always a tough one. But I think he will go through, due to his newly found level of concentration and confidence. If he plays Youzhny, I see even fewer problems for him. But in the Quarterfinals he will meet Andy Murray and that will be the match that determines if he is ready for the title this year. I see the match at 50% – 50%, but if Berdych wins this one I think he will reach the Final as well. If Murray wins it, I would still put my money on Nadal, if he gets to the semi final.

Which brings me to the top half of the draw and Nadal’s section. His draw is not easy, because he has red-hot David Nalbandian in his part of the draw. The good news for Rafa is, that Nalbandian has to beat the no. 2 and 3 spanish players (David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco) before he could earn a spot in the fourth round. And these two matches will cost the reignited Argentine a lot of energy, even though I see him as the favorite against both. But before Nadal plays him, he also has his hands full with Michael Kohlschreiber (who trained with Roger Federer to get ready for the US-Open…) and probably Ivan Ljubicic. But I believe Nadal will go through and will face Nalbandian in a tough fourth round, 5 set match. I think that it all depends on how many sets Nalbandian lost to Verdasco and Ferrer, if he has a chance to reach another Grand Slam semi final at the US-Open. But right now I would put my money on Rafa, even though his warm-up tournaments in Cincinnati and Toronta have not been very successful. I think Nalbandian will play 9 sets against Verdasco and Ferrer to reach the match against Nadala and will be very tired. On top of that his Uncle Toni will be on his side again at the Open, and he will be ready and motivated for some tough matches. So my finalist of the top half of the draw will be either Nadal or Berdych.

In the bottom half of the draw Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the top seeds. Novak Djokovic is running into Marcos Baghdatis or Mardy Fish in the fourth round, which  both showed great form in the past hard court tournaments. And Fish beating Djokovic in Cincinnati. So there might be some surprises around the corner and this section is very hard to predict, since all three players are very unpredictable themselves. If Djokovic goes through he will face more trouble, with Roddick, Monfils or Davydenko. Roddick will have to play Monfils before the winner will face Davydenko. This is probably the toughest section of the men’s draw and I see 6 players with basically the same chances to reach the semi-final.

If I have to put my money now, I would say Djokovic against Davydenko with a slight edge for Davydenko to win it, if he does not lose too much energy against Roddick or Monfils.

The Russian will face the strongest man in the Federer section of the draw, and if you just look at the stats of the past 5-7 years, there could be only one man coming out of this section. And his initials are RF…

But stats are there to be broken and especially after his surprise early exits at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, there are some reasonable doubts. Even though he has the easiest section of the draw to reach the 4th round and the quarterfinals. He might face a former US-Open champion on his way to the fourth round with Lleyton Hewitt, and maybe plays another one in the fourth round (Ferrero). But both players have never given Roger too much trouble. The highest seed to reach the fourth round against him is Juergen Melzer, but he is not in good form and has not won many matches on hard courts this year. So, from all the top 10 players, Federer is the best bet to reach the quarterfinals. But that’s where the big test will come for him. He will most likely play Robin Soderling in the Quarters, who will have his hands full with De Bakker or Gonzales, and then Marin Cilic before he will have the honor to challenge the big Fed for a semi final spot. I see Federer a favorite for this match with 60%, because he will be very eager to take some revenge for his loss at the French Open, which was favored by many rain delays for Soderling. But with Soderling you never know. If he keeps hitting his winners, not even Fed has an answer…

If Soderling wins this match he will go to another Grand Slam final.

And who knows, it might be the two surprise first time finalists of the French and Wimbledon, who could meet in the final. It might be Berdych against Soderling. Like this at least one of them will have his first Grand Slam crown. And this could indicate a big change to come for 2011, in the Federer-Nadal-dominace of the past years.

But I would prefer another Federer Nadal final for this year’s Open. Berdych and Soderling still have some time left and I am sure the majority of the tennis fans would like to see the same final like I do. And if you just look at the stats, then it simply has to be Roger against Rafa.

Federer is always in the final… and he always played somebody else in the final for the past 6 years. So, why not Rafa?!? If Rafa wins, he would be the only player besides Rod Laver who won 3 consecutive Grand Slams in one year!

 

Here are some more interesting stats and facts about the past US-Open tournaments:

 

Nadal on his way to a career Grand Slam

Nadal, who captured his eighth Grand Slam title at Wimbledon last month, is a US OPEN title away from completing a career Grand Slam. The 24-year-old Spaniard reached the semi-finals in Flushing Meadows the past two years. He would be the youngest player to accomplish the feat and he would become the seventh man to complete a career Grand Slam, joining Don Budge, Fred Perry, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Andre Agassi, and Roger Federer.

 

Stats for no. ranking

Nadal enters the US-Open as the No. 1 player for the 59th week overall (as of Aug. 30) in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, the 10th-most (of 24 players). This past week he tied Jim Courier, who held No. 1 for 58 weeks.  Nadal enters the US OPEN with a 3,530-point lead over No. 2 Federer and he is guaranteed staying No. 1 after the tournament.

 

Federer – Nadal reign:

Since Nadal won his first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2005, he and Federer have combined to win 20 of the past 22 Grand Slam tournaments (except '08 Aust. Open, Djokovic; ’09 US OPEN, del Potro). During that stretch, Federer has won 12 Grand Slam titles and Nadal eight.
    

                                          

2010 Wimbledon                    Rafael Nadal d. Tomas Berdych

2010 Roland Garros               Rafael Nadal d. Robin Soderling

2010 Australian Open            Roger Federer d. Andy Murray

2009 US OPEN                      Juan Martin del Potro d. Roger Federer

2009 Wimbledon                   Roger Federer d. Andy Roddick

2009 Roland Garros              Roger Federer d. Robin Soderling

2009 Australian Open         Rafael Nadal d. Roger Federer

2008 US OPEN                      Roger Federer d. Andy Murray

2008 Wimbledon                  Rafael Nadal d. Roger Federer

2008 Roland Garros            Rafael Nadal d. Roger Federer

2008 Australian Open           Novak Djokovic d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

2007 US OPEN                      Roger Federer d. Novak Djokovic

2007 Wimbedon                   Roger Federer d. Rafael Nadal

2007 Roland Garros            Rafael Nadal d. Roger Federer

2007 Australian Open           Roger Federer d. Fernando Gonzalez

2006 US OPEN                      Roger Federer d. Andy Roddick

2006 Wimbledon                  Roger Federer d. Rafael Nadal

2006 Roland Garros            Rafael Nadal d. Roger Federer

2006 Australian Open           Roger Federer d. Marcos Baghdatis

2005 US OPEN                      Roger Federer d. Andre Agassi

2005 Wimbledon                   Roger Federer d. Andy Roddick

2005 Roland Garros              Rafael Nadal d. Mariano Puerta

 

 

Check out my next blog, where I will take a look at the women’s draw.

 

 

HARDY HESSE

HESSE TENNIS TRAINING

High Performance Training and Coaching for Top Juniors and Professionals

WWW.HESSETENNISTRAINING.COM

 

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