Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are among the heavy favorites to win the 2010
U.S. Open, but there are no guarantees.
Just for the sake of honesty, I will now enter my picks for the 2010 U.S. Open.
Rafa's quarter: Rafa has had so much trouble getting over the hump in New York. He just doesn't seem to possess the same magic on the surface, sort of as if not having tangible earth directly beneath the treads of his tennis shoes is philosophically and spirutually against his constitution. But if Rafa is anything, he is a battler, and he will battle himself through the barrier that he has run into for the last few years.
His effort, which is more than likely going to be the best of his career (and more inspired than ever) in New York, should get him through a tough quarter that features a revitalized David Nalbandian, ornery Ernests Gulbis, and compatriots Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez, and David Ferrer, constitution or no constitution.
Murray's Quarter: A lot of folks are picking Andy Murray to win it all after what he did in Toronto, and the way he has responded to the turbulence of parting ways with coach Miles Maclagan. Turns out that Andy's good with having a little extra responsibility, and his brilliant play (and result) in Toronto should do wonders for his confidence.
He should do will in New York, as he is a former finalist, but there will be challenges waiting, including Sam Querrey or Nicolas Almagro, and more notably, newly minted member of the ATP's top-ten, the big, bad, and uber talented Tomas Berdych.
Djokovic's quarter: There is nothing harder than trying to prognosticate the future of Novak Djokovic over the course of a Grand Slam fortnight. If he dominates in the early round, will he lose focus? If it's too hot, will he encounter the familiar respiratory issues? Will he get the crowd on his side or will he turn them against him? Will he send an impostor out to play a night match, so he can spend the evening taping Shakira covers with country mate Viktor Troicki?
Hard to say, but one thing is for certain: Novak showed a lot of heart against Roger Federer in Toronto, even though he eventually lost. If he shows that kind of resilience and ability to remain calm under duress, I think he's the frontrunner in a quarter that also features Nikolay Davydenko, Mardy Fish, Gael Monfils, and Marcos Baghdatis.
Federer's quarter: Roger's amazing on the Wimbledon Grass, but New York is a place where not only he is amazing, but his arch rival is also kind of un-amazing. For this reason, incentive will be high for Federer to march into the final, in the hopes that he'll face Rafa in a place where he has a very good chance of exorcising some demons against him, or, better yet, he'll face the player who has upended Nadal.
Either way, I don't think run of quarterfinal losses at Grand Slams will continue, even with Robin Soderling's ornery presence directly opposite him in this quarter.
Semis: Nadal over Murray in 5, Federer over Djokovic in 5
Final: Federer over Nadal in 4