Monday, 25 August 2014

No new winner likely at Flushing Meadow

Without Rafa Nadal to defend his US Open title this year, you could be forgiven for thinking that the draw has opened up for a number of players in the men's singles in New York.  It has potentially cleared the path somewhat for top seed Novak Djokovic and the player he overcame in the Wimbledon final, Roger Federer.  Federer comes into the final Grand Slam tournament of 2014 as the number two seed, thus avoiding Djokovic until the final should he reach that far.  Even Andy Murray, the 2012 winner, is on the opposite side of the draw from Federer.

The hard court tournaments leading into the US Open have been confusing more than definitive.  Toronto was spectacular for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who smashed Djokovic on the way to a final in which he outplayed Federer to take the Masters title.  Sadly, the form did not continue in Cincinnati, and the exciting French player fell at the first hurdle.

Djokovic not only lost to Tsonga in the third round in Canada, but suffered an even greater shock when given his marching orders by Tommy Robredo at the same stage in Cincinnati.  Federer won Cincinnati defeating a gallant David Ferrer in the final and on that form, and with a generous draw, should be a hot favourite to make the US Open final and stand a great chance of winning.

However, Djokovic brings his best to the majors, and having made the past four finals at Flushing Meadows, and the finals of the last two majors this year, it would be foolish to discount his chances of a second success here in two weeks time.

Tsonga, of those yet to taste success at this level, could be the one to give most cheek this year, and  I suspect he may have too much for Murray if they clash in a fourth round match.  That should ensure another encounter with Djokovic who may well have Wawrinka awaiting in a semi final, and the memory of their last battle here will endure for many a day.

Federer needs to beware of Berdych should Tomas be switched on, as he has been upset by him in the past in the US Open.  A semi final between the two is entirely possible, although Dimitrov and Ferrer respectively represent stern opposition prior to that eventuality.

For what it is worth, and with no real confidence, I believe that Djokovic will defeat Wawrinka in one semi final and Federer will prevail over Berdych in the other.  Only his better record at Grand Slam level in the past few years sways me to select Novak Djokovic to win the 2014 US Open over the great Roger Federer.

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