By Chris Oddo / Friday, August 23, 2013
Fifteen days of bliss will begin on Monday in Queens, New York, and for many it has already begun with players practicing and qualifying rounds being played out around the U.S. Open grounds.
The draw gods were kind to some and harsh on others. Here's our breakdown.
Photo Source: Jared Wickerham/ Getty
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Read on and you shall know...
1. Shunned By the Draw Gods: Ryan Harrison
What do you do when life gives you lemons, Ryan Harrison? Hopefully, the 21-year-old has an answer, because he'll play Rafael Nadal in the first round.
2. Nadal: His Draw is Much Better Than People Are Saying
I've heard pundits opining that Nadal has a tough draw. First off, when you are the best in the world, as Nadal has proven over the last two weeks, no draw is difficult. Second, just because Vasek Pospisil and John Isner are big servers does not mean that they have a chance to hang with Nadal over five sets in a high-stakes venue like the U.S. Open.
Additionally, Nadal is better off facing Roger Federer than Tomas Berdych or Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarterfinals. And, finally, Nadal avoids Djokovic or Murray in the semis and will instead get Ferrer or whoever takes his place.
Rafa's draw is very favorable, certainly much more favorable than pundits are saying.
3. Federer a Seven Seed?
That's just crazy. It's like seeing the word “food” spelled “fewd” or “fude.” It makes sense in some ways, but in other ways it makes you question everything you thought you knew about the world. Speaking of which, what do we know about Roger Federer heading into the U.S. Open? If his battle with Rafael Nadal is any indication, he's about to get his swagger back just in time for New York. He should have no problem getting to the quarterfinals if he is confident.
4. Best First-Round Matches?
Men: Nicolas Mahut and Mikhail Youzhny
Women: Kirsten Flipkens and Venus Williams
5. Better Draw, Azarenka or Williams?
This is a tough one, but we'll go with Serena. After a tricky first-rounder with Francesca Schiavone, Williams could face either Sloane Stephens or Jamie Hampton in the round of 16. She could face Li Na in the semis if the seeds hold but overall not too many minefields for Serena to deal with.
Azarenka has Sam Stosur and Petra Kvitova in her quarter, and she's 3-5 career against Caroline Wozniacki if the Dane can somehow reach the semifinals, but if Azarenka is playing with purpose and not looking too far ahead, she's a good bet to stay on track and make the final.
6. Possible Popcorn Third-Rounders
This could be an electric night session if it materializes. Djokovic already paid Dimitrov back for upsetting him in Madrid when he thumped him at Roland Garros, but if Dimitrov brings his A game and Djokovic brings his B game, this could be the first giant upset off the tournament. Not likely, but possible.
After a quarterfinal appearance at Wimbledon, Li Na is feeling like she can tackle the big stage in New York. She may meet Laura Robson, who famously upset Li last year in the third round at the U.S. Open, with a spot in the second week on the line. If Robson channels the energy that make her such spectacular viewing in New York last year, she could once again threaten the likeable Li.
7. Most Wide Open Section of the Men's Draw? David Ferrer's Quarter
The Spaniard has gone 1-2 since Wimbledon, and unless he can flick the switch, this section will be up for grabs with such talented yet unpredictable names as Jerzy Janowicz, Milos Raonic, Richard Gasquet, Janko Tipsarevic and Ernests Gulbis all bidding to reach the second week and beyond.
8. Sitting Pretty: Caroline Wozniacki
New York isn't New Haven, but if the Great Dane's current form catches the taxi from Connecticut to Flushing Meadows then she might actually have a shot to make the semis in New York.
Prior to her New Haven semifinal with Simona Halep, Wozniacki has won six of seven matches on hard court, losing only to Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati. With three qualifiers in her section and nobody higher than No. 10-seeded Roberta Vinci standing between her and the quarterfinals, this is a golden opportunity for Wozniacki to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since January 2012.
9. Possible Early Exit, Men:
John Isner, who could face Gael Monfils in the second round.
10. Possible Early Exit, Women:
Petra Kvitova, who could face Andrea Petkovic in the second round.