2017 U.S. Open Draw

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There you have it.

Top Half

Nadal‘s route to the final:

R1 with a Serb. . . who looked dangerous vs Federer in Wimbledon, as they went to a first set TB. Or so I heard. Or not really.

Then my boy Tommy Paul (if he survives and arrives) R2 gets a shot at Rafa with his maturing game – athletic, so can track and return via his American east coast roots of clay (rooting for the American, American tennis actually). Would love to see this match.

Gasquet is Nadal’s reward in 3R if he survives the Serb and American b2b.

Berdych (maybe a lunatic Fognini) in 4R.

Dimitrov in the QF and Federer in the SF.

Federer:

R1 American Frances Tiafoe, a 19 year-old we’ve talked about a lot; you know we’re excited about this guy.

Then a Feli Lopez or Verdasco/Pospisil in R3,

followed-by Querrey or Kyrgios in R16, then a Thiem/Delpo/Agut QF, to be followed by, if history allows such an event to take place, a SF with Nadal (their first meeting ever at the USO).

As usual, so much of any such discussion depends on the form of the players.

All things, including health, being equal, Nadal is more vulnerable. I sure hope Paul tests the No. 1 seed, but really Nadal should get his first big test against Berdych or Fognini, both of which could be tough and/or garbage (pardon the honesty). If Berdych is firing, he could be a handful in NYC. He lost 1R in Cincy to a complicated Delpo, in three sets. Berdych should be that 4R match for Nadal.

Dimitrov, ladies and gentlemen, is the Cilic of WB 2017. Where Dimitrov lands would have been my biggest interest or concern. Think of the context of such a QF given their 2017 AO SF. Dimitrov should react very favorably to the Cincy win, his first Masters title. Given his experience, his early 2017 HC run and his coach, I would not want much of any of Dimitrov in NYC.

In case you’re wondering, that means Nadal’s draw is quite tough. Remember, such a potential threat in the QF puts more weight on the early matches. Nadal needs to get to a QF or SF fresh and raging with confidence. Baby-Fed and Fed b2b will be some serious tennis, for anyone. Again, all of this is dependent upon good health.

Federer’s most difficult situation comes about from a rampant Kyrgios.

But I don’t see the difficulty others seem to be saying about Federer’s draw (other than all of this is difficult!).

A case could perhaps be made for the big serve creating some difficulty. He has the potential of seeing Querrey, Kyrgios, Delpo, and Karlovic; or grinders like Agut or Mannarino. Theses are all potential hazards on HC, but the variety of Federer in Bo5 should be way too much for any of these players.

I am not positive that Kyrgios will be in as good a place as Dimitrov, coming off the Cincinnati final. I could be dead wrong, too. Maybe this is the major where Kyrgios comes-of-age, fulfills that (or more of that) prophecy. I watched Querrey hand it to a hot Kyrgios in Acapulco, so maybe we get that re-match. Kyrgios still has to prove he can weather big-time adversity for two weeks.

I see Federer, if his back is 95-100% good, having a test in this 4R if Kyrgios is manic, but other than that, his ticket to the historical SF should be secure.

Nadal might have, in my estimation, one of the real contenders for this title in his 4R opponent: Dimitrov.

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Bottom Half

Murray‘s 4R match vs. Ferrer or Pouille has some intrigue; Ferrer has been playing well lately, but Murray, if he’s healthy, looks pretty solid in this draw.

The Tsonga/dark horse QF doesn’t pose much threat, either.

We’ll have to wait and see about Murray’s form, but he got a pretty nice draw. Christmas in August we’ll call it.

Zverev, probably a lot of people’s picks here to win it all, has some nice NextGen action with Coric in R2, followed by potential danger in his “hitting partner” Kevin Anderson (they played in D.C. and Montreal) in R3, maybe a Sock or Muller in R4, followed by an Isner/Khachanov/Cilic QF.

We are not sure about Cilic. He could be fighting injury, or he could be healed and rested. He’ll just need to find his HC feet quickly in order to survive that 3R match with Khachanov and the 4R with the likes of Isner.

Is Zverev the favorite from the bottom half? Perhaps, but Bo5 is a big hill to climb for the young German, not to mention the bright lights.

Murray and Cilic have some question marks, so let’s have a look as play gets underway next week.

Health is a big factor here, as it always is, but the subject has even more resonance given this specific draw’s depletion to injury, the 2017 trend with Djokovic, Murray and now Wawrinka front and center (not to mention others missing and Federer’s back). Take this conversation back a year from today and you have Federer and Nadal struggling with injury.

There is a lot of talk surrounding the injury bug.

I will go into this tonight in another post. Some of the changes being suggested to fix this trend are rash and complicated. Mcshow will take-up the challenge, as always.

Conclusion on the draw:

Federer should reach the SF and play either Nadal or Dimitrov (remember our observations of Federer early in Montreal, before he seemed to “find” his form; he looked agitated, pretty poor. We haven’t, then, seen him with any kind of HC form like the one he showed January – March 2017. Between finding that magical form and his back, the more you think about it, the more of a long-shot even Federer seems).

Murray vs. the winner of Zverev v Cilic looks like the other possible scenario.

But things don’t always work-out this way, do they. We’ll continue with this discussion tonight, along with my thoughts on the injury “hysteria.”

Also, have you caught any of the replays of past USO men’s finals being aired on Tennis Channel? You’ve probably scene the matches before, but nice to revisit. They’ve got the last few years on a loop. The 2012 and 2013 USO finals are fairly remarkable, not necessarily in a good way. I will work observation of this tennis into the discussion of injury and other issues of the sport.

Sorry for the delay. Work ramping-up for me, which can be a bit distracting from these other, more interesting conversations. 😀

8 comments

  1. Spot on regarding health being the key factor, Matt. The field itself is a testament to how crucial health can be. Federer is odds on favorite to win by most bookies. But this again relies on how healthy he actually is.

    If Wimbledon 2017 taught us anything, appearance of injuries could be concealed up to a point…a la Murray, for example. IIRC Murray picked up the hip injury in the warm up tournament. At earlier rounds, he didnt show any signs of this injury, even obliterating some opponents convincingly. But these all unraveled once he faced a tough customer. Federer, eerily, picked up the injury at roughly the same time as Murray, respective to the GSs. So if Federer obliterates his early opponents, that is not necessarily a sign that he really did recover. A tough opponent is what is needed to tell one or the other.

    If he is really healthy, though, I think the assumption is correct that he is the man to beat. But big if there. I just watched his 2015 USO. In that USO IIRC he didnt lose a set going to finals. Even in the finals, had he that tad bit more clutch, especially in the BPs, he might have won it. And this was against prime Djokovic while he was still in the nascent development stage of his current ultra aggressive game, still no neo BH. When on his game, I have an impression that USO may be even more favorable to him than Wimbledon. Weird and possibly wrong, but anyway…

    To me, a Federer-Zverev rematch or Federer-Murray will be very nice…of course assuming Fed is healthy and either of those two did their parts to get to the final.

    1. Good call on the injury-progression. This major is a grind, the greatest test on the circuit, where the greats have shined the brightest. If he’s healthy, I don’t see who can compete against that game. But like I said, we’re yet to see him play really good tennis on HC in the second half of the season. AO/IW/MI was a long time ago.

      That ’15 final was awful from Federer’s perspective. He was 3/100.000 on BPs, no? Ha.
      That was the stylist, the aging stylist. This version of Fed has a bit more at the biz-end of those exchanges.

  2. Nice analysis Matt. As a federer fan the one guy I didn’t want to see in his quarter was kyrgios. The errant aussie brings his best against the best and if his serve gets in a groove it could be a shootout. Tiafoe is also not an easy opener. Rafa should stroll through the first three rounds (especially R3, haha). Berdych if they meet in R4 could cause him problems. The big czech is a guy whose game is tailor made to discomfit nadal but in the past he’s allowed rafa to intimidate him. It’s all set up for dimitrov to beat the spaniard if he gets through that one – turning the tables from AUS. But we’ve been here before with dimitrov. I’ll believe it when I see it.
    What’s really striking is how loaded the top half of the draw is. I was dubious about zverev’s chances but with that draw and with cilic and murray potentially injured I’m reconsidering. If Murray isn’t injured then he also has a great chance of making the final.
    Really the guys who rig the draws for roger and rafa have failed badly here. Those lizardmen just can’t be trusted.

  3. Let’s see Kyrgios take care of his end, like beating Querrey. At this point in the year, we have to see who’s on form. Kyrgios, Federer, Cilic, Murray. . .all have been dealing with some injury. Mostly likely, many many players are banged-up.

    Darwin comes to mind.

    The top is certainly loaded unless Cilic is rolling, too. Murry definitely got a nice draw.

What say you?