First Quarter – Djokovic’s Quarter
At first look, this is a scary looking quarter for Djokovic. Pospisil in the second round, and of course Nadal in the quarterfinals. While we are still talking about Rafael Nadal, he can be a rather predictable player. Maybe it’s because he practices at full tilt and plays all his matches with nearly equal intensity that we generally know his form coming into bigger tournaments – he’s not a type of player who waits to “turn it on” for bigger events – but it’s difficult to see this going any way but Novak’s. Five sets on quicker courts will do Nadal no favours, and Djokovic is still the best player in the world.
The only other real challenger in this section is Milos Raonic. He’s struggled to find proper form after surgery, and he never really has much of a chance against Djokovic’s fantastic returning, especially across five sets where it’s tougher to get a bit lucky in a couple of tiebreaks. It looks scary at first, but Djokovic should advance to the semifinals easily, maybe without even dropping a set.
Predicted Quarterfinal – N. Djokovic vs. R. Nadal
Second Quarter – Nishikori’s Quarter
What’s up with both second quarters of both draws being total messes? We all love you, Kei, but you’re impossibly hard to predict when your body is falling apart every other week. Dimitrov is slowly turning into this generation’s Berdych, a player who can look brilliant at times, even beat top players, and look hopelessly lost and checked out at others.
How’s this for another batch of players who are impossible to predict – Tsonga, Monfils and even last year’s champion (hey, remember that?) Marin Cilic. In his defense, Cilic has always performed well at the US Open, but does anyone really know what kind of form he’s in? Could Tsonga show up and make a run? Either way, this quarter more or less guarantees some serious changes in the rankings in a couple of weeks time.
Predicted Quarterfinal – J.W. Tsonga vs. J. Chardy
Third Quarter – Wawrinka’s Quarter
I was legitimately surprised to hear that Kyrgios and Murray were slated to play in the first round, mostly because I thought Kyrgios would be seeded. And therein lies the problem. Nick Kyrgios has yet to put together a good, consistent string or results, and he probably doesn’t have the wherewithal to put together a solid game plan that he can execute against Murray, such as being a bit more patient earlier in rallies. I actually find this quarter rather boring and will likely be very predictable, barring some sort of epic Stan collapse.
Predicted Quarterfinal – S. Wawrinka vs. A. Murray
Fourth Quarter – Federer’s Quarter
This quarter is all about Federer. He should have a couple of easy warm up matches against Leo Mayer and then Darcis or Baghdatis. I’ll be curious to see if Kohls or Isner can push him and take a set or two off of him to see how he responds. Fed was excellent in Cincy, but he was never really challenged, and he can be stubborn when up against someone who is employing a game plan that is working against him. Federer has looked very good of late, but let’s not pretend like this is the Federer of years ago.
Elsewhere, ready your servebot gifs! Isner and Karlovic at night on Arthur Ashe would be hilarious, mostly to see (and hear) people going crazy over aces and ridiculous(ly boring) tiebreaks.
The rest of this quarter doesn’t serve up a heck of a lot, outside of Berdych and Gasquet, who are tough to have much faith on at the best of times. Gasquet/Kokkinakis is likely the second best first round match after Murray/Kyrgios and the best in this section, and the winner of that match will play the winner of the almost equally as enticing Hasse/Brown match. As far as early round ATP matches go, pretty fun. Overall, the top half of this draw looks like it will be a lot more fun.
Predicted Quarterfinal – T. Berdych vs. R. Federer
Predicted Semifinals – A. Murray vs. R. Federer, N. Djokovic vs. J.W. Tsonga
Predicted Final – A. Murray vs. N. Djokovic
Champion – N. Djokovic