Monday, September 6, 2010

US Open: Men's Fourth Round Preview

Rafael Nadal [1] vs. Feliciano Lopez [23]
Fernando Verdasco [8] vs. David Ferrer [10]
Sam Querrey [20] vs. Stanislas Wawrinka [25]
Mikhail Youzhny [12] vs. Tommy Robredo

Gael Monfils [17] vs. Richard Gasquet
Novak Djokovic [3] vs. Mardy Fish [19]
Robin Soderling [5] vs. Albert Montanes [21]
Roger Federer [2] vs. Jurgen Melzer [13]

With seeds falling left and right during the first week including the earlier-than-expected eliminations of Andy Murray and Andy Roddick, one would think the draw is lacking any star power and yet that is all I see during the fourth round.

There's one thing we know for certain and that is there will be a Spaniard in the US Open semifinals i.e. whoever wins the Nadal-Lopez-Verdasco-Ferrer section. I'm thinking that's going to go Nadal-Verdasco myself, but weirder things have happened. The other two matches in that half are a bit of a toss-up, but this is a great chance for any of them to reach a semifinal berth.

Favored in their respective matches, look for Federer and Soderling to defeat their not-so-easy opponents en route to a blockbuster quarterfinal match-up. There will be at least one Frenchman in the next round with both Monfils and Gasquet setting up an all-French fourth round match. Monfils is higher ranked, but Gasquet has more experience. Finally, the match of the round probably goes to Djokovic-Fish. It might seem like a slam dunk for higher-ranked Djokovic, but Fish is probably the hottest player of the summer and Djokovic will have his hands full especially playing under the hot sun. I'm leaning towards Fish for this one, but I wouldn't bet any real money on it.

Predictions: My earlier predictions before the tournament is a bit messed up due to both Andys getting eliminated. I still think Nadal, Fish, Federer, and Soderling will make it. The other four? Ferrer, Querrey, Youzhny, and Gasquet. We'll see soon enough how wrong I am probably!

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