The draw is out, the storylines have been set and we’re now only a few days away from the start of the last Grand Slam of the 2014 season. There were already a few surprises this week leading up to the US Open, which starts Monday August 26th, the most shocking being Rafa Nadal’s announcement he would be withdrawing due to a wrist injury. With last years champion out of the tournament before it even starts, the field is wide open.
Let sort through each section of the draw to see where this year’s upsets, juicy matchups and cakewalks might occur.
#1 Seed Novak Djokovic’s Quarter of the Draw
Simply put, this side of the draw is stacked. Murray as an 8 seed, Tsonga as a 9 seed and 13 seed John “I-have-the-crazed-American-crowd-in-my-corner” Isner are all threats to make it to the semi final (alright, maybe not Isner…). Sure, Murray hasn’t beaten anyone in the top 10 this calendar year and Tsonga just lost in the first round in Cincinnati off the back of winning in Toronto, but they are both more than capable of booking a place in the semis this year. Either way, any challenger will have to go through Novak Djokovic. Though Djokovic is solidly the favorite, he’s coming off back-to-back round of 16 exits in Toronto and Cincinnati respectively. Are we primed for massive upset in this side of the draw?
- Upset Watch: Benneteau will beat Tsonga for the 2nd time this season in an all French matchup.
- Who Will Advance?: Djokovic will make it out of this side of the draw with tough matches against both Isner and Murray.
#3 Seed Stan Wawrinka’s Quarter of the Draw
There are plenty of interesting matchups brewing in the side of the draw. Both the favorites, Wawrinka and Raonic, have been playing the best tennis of their careers this season but have not experienced much success in Queens. Raonic has never been out of the 4th round and Wawrinka only has a quarterfinal and semifinal appearance in nine tries. I’m hoping, but not convinced, Jack Sock can muster a run buoyed by the confidence that comes with both winning a doubles title at Wimbledon and having the American crowd behind him. How about a 2nd round upset of Kei Nishikori? This American tennis fan can dream can’t he?
- 1st Round Matchup To Watch: Nick Kyragios vs Mikhail Youzney – One a seasoned vet the other the new kid on the block, but both fiery personalities. Expect an intense match.
- Who Will Advance?: I like Wawrinka to make it through on his favorite surface (a title and a semifinal in his last two hard court Grand Slam appearances), but Raonic won’t make it easy in a grueling quarterfinal matchup.
#4 Seed David Ferrer’s Quarter of the Draw
David Ferrer always seems to get lost in the shuffle, no one ever giving him a shot to win. I’ll keep this trend going and say he’s not getting to the semis. I’m more interested in the peripheral players in this side of the draw. Noah Rubin, the 18 year old USTA National Champion, qualified automatically for the draw and is the most talked about Junior in the country right now. His first US Open may give us some insight into whether he has the chops to be a force on tour in the long run. The 11 seed Ernest Gulbis is trying to prove that his semi-final appearance at Roland Garros was not fluke and the 15 seed Marin Cilic has made impressive runs on hard court tournaments this year. Both are players to watch.
- Upset Watch: Hewitt will turn back the clock and take down the 6 seed Tomas Berdych in the 1st rd, saving the NY crowd from having to see Berdych in any more dopey H&M outfits.
- Who Will Advance?: I’m going to go way off the map and say Cilic will advance to the semifinals. I know, a slightly outrageous pick but regardless, I believe this side of the draw is bound to get wild.
#2 Seed Roger Federer’s Quarter of the Draw
I fully expect Roger Federer to find himself in the semifinals in about 2 weeks. Fogini and Karlovic, two of the seeded players he could meet prior to the quarters, are a combined 1 and 13 against him. I’d be interested to see how the 17 seed Roberto Bautista Agut fairs against Federer considering they’ve never met before. The only real test for Roger will be Dimitrov who has been all the rage this season not just his good looks this time around. Expect him to solidify himself as a social media god #manmeat.
- 1st Round Matchup To Watch: Ryan Harrison vs Grigor Dimitrov- Goodness. This is the 2nd Grand Slam in a row Harrison will meet Dimitrov in the first round. He got smacked around at Wimbledon and I’m just hoping the crowd can fuel a close match (If you haven’t caught on the US Open crowd is the only hope for any of the American men)
- Who Will Advance?: Federer will cruise only dropping a single set to Dimitrov in the quarters.