The planet’s best tennis player sits in his rightful place atop the 2009 U.S. Open Draw. Roger Federer will endure some disappointment at this U.S. Open, but it will not diminish the status of the tennis Master of the Universe.
With 15 Grand Slam Championships including two of three in 2009 and with 5 consecutive U.S. Open titles to his credit, nobody would dare dispute this seeding. Switzerland’s Roger Federer is the best tennis professional to have ever played the game. He serves the game, his fans and his opponents well.
With that said, it still looks like too bumpy a road to the title in 2009. Beginning in the third round, there are some familiar names that could pose serious problems for the 2009 French Open and Wimbledon champion. Australian Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 Champion, never goes away quietly and should be Federer’s third round opponent while either crowd favorite American James Blake or Spain’s Tommy Robredo loom as fourth round opponents.
In the quarters, Federer can look forward to Sweden’s Robin Soderling, whose big serve is well suited for New York or Russian Nikolay Davydenko, who is rapidly climbing the rankings.
Federer may be the top seed, but that is no ordinary bracket. In fact, Roger may have a more difficult time reaching the semis than in any other event this year.
Should Roger escape the quarters, there will be some hungry talent across the net for the semis. Either the fourth seed, Novak Djokovic or the fifth seed, Andy Roddick will be waiting.
Djokovic’s biggest tests will come from Russian Igor Andreev (3rd round) and German Phillip Kohlschreiber or Czechoslvakia’s Radek Stepanek(4th round) in a bracket that looks decidedly less imposing than Federer’s.
Homestanding and Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick will have legions of fans trying to push him past German Tommy Haas, Spain’s Fernando Verdasco. Roddick’s new mindset and improved play make him a hard out for anyone. Expect Roddick to reach the semis and then watch out.
The unlikely third seed is Spain’s enigmatic Rafael Nadal. Nadal has never won the Open and has only accomplished the semis once. His court demeanor does not bode well with the New York crowds, who will once again be all over his act. Nadal has a relatively smooth path to the semis with Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez and France’s Jo Wilfried Tsonga providing the steepest challenges. Of late, neither Gonzalez nor Tsonga have been especially successful on the large stage. Nadal will only have himself to blame if he does not reach the semis.
Second seeded Andy Murray has a tougher road to the semis. Sixth seeded Juan Martin De Potro looms as a likely quarterfinal matchup. There will be some business to do for Murray to get that far. Croatian Ivo Karlovic and Switzerland’s Stanislaus Wawrinka or Marin Cilic could present challenges to the unpredictable Murray.
Murray is always the most difficult player to assess. Loaded with superstar talent, one must question the Brit’s will to win. Something always seems to happen to the flamboyant star. Perhaps the Scotsman will fare better on this side of the pond. His profile shows that Murray seems to wilt under the media focus. Unfortunately, Murray’s career is marked with dynamic wins in meaningless matches. When he reaches center stage, he seems to alter his game plan and play outside his superior talent level.
We think Del Potro will overcome Murray and meet Nadal in the semis. We also see Federer stumbling to Davydenko who will fend of challenges to reach the semis.
Roddick will ride the crowd past Djokovic and storm past Davydenko to reach the finals again. Nadal will fall to Del Potro who will claim the eventual title in a five set thriller. However, if Del Potro goes into one of his inexplicable lackluster periods, Roddick will seize the moment and never look back. Del Potro rallies to win the Open. You heard it here!