Start at the top.
It’s a bit fruitless to complain about certain players’ draws, their luck or bad luck, and/or hint at some sort of suspicion or conspiracy. Two recent major draws that seem a bit soft are the 2018 Aussie Open for Federer and the 2017 U.S. Open for Nadal — won by each respectively.
Haase and Gasquet were any immediate threats in his AO draw; he ended-up with Gasquet in the 3R and because of early upsets (Raonic and Querrey both knocked out), he got Fucsovics in the R16. He saw Berdych in the QF, an injured Chung in the SF.
Keep in mind, echoing my point yesterday that it’s a shame and worth reminding our collective tennis brains that Djokovic did not maintain his attendance in 2017 and much of 2018 where he would have had a chance to play that ascendant Fedal. Djokovic lost to Chung in the R16. So as easy as this draw is, upsets do happen. The draw itself was actually decent and I probably shouldn’t even have included this in the easiest-fucking-Major-draws in the history of the world.
Cilic was a tough finals opponent there, who actually had a shot, but the Maestro closed-out number 20. Chung was a wrecking ball as he beat Zverev, as well. Berdych, Federer’s QF foe smashed Del Potro in their 3R match. The point is there were guys in that draw, but Federer appears to have avoided the upset.
Nadal’s 2017 U.S. Open draw has been called one of the weakest major draws of all time, based on seedings. Look at his half of the quarter. Best case scenario would have been a Berdych, who had fallen of the face of the earth.
The other half of that quarter had these top seeds: Goffin at #9 and Dimitrov at #7. Rublev came out of that bracket to play Nadal in the QF. He did get a little test in the SF v Del Potro, but the Argentine was gassed from his Thiem come-from-behind R16 and his win over the ailing Federer in the QF. Of course, the final v Anderson was about as suspenseful as watching my dog take a shit.
All this to say, Nadal has another breezy draw here in the 2018 U.S. Open. I have heard several people say (mainstream media) that his R1 match v countryman Ferrer is a tough match-up. These people are lying or they’re slow in the head. Ferrer is retiring. He’ll give his king a nice hug after getting smashed. How in the world is David Ferrer a tough match-up for Nadal at this point? Because he can grind from the BL? Get the fuck out of here.
Khachanov in a 3R match could be good tennis, but Nadal shouldn’t be tested here really. He just beat him in Toronto, it’s Bo5, and Khachanov doesn’t seem a guy ready to take-on the establishment quite yet.
R16 is a joke. Best case scenario here is a rampant Edmund. Exactly. The rest of that bracket is extremely underwhelming. “Hey, but Jack Sock, seeded 18, is in there!” STFUP. Sock sucks now, probably just committing to doubles. The numbers, folks, can be, in effect, lies.
His QF is from the likes of Thiem or Anderson. In the context of Nadal in his present form, neither is much to write home about, especially with Thiem’s health.
Think about all of the other potential threats in the field.
Nadal’s quarter has what amounts to:
That’s Nadal’s path to the SF. Get the fuck out of here.
The second quarter has this ensemble cast:
The third quarter goes like this:
and several lower-tier fellas like Tiafoe, Haase, Mannarino, and Schwartzman.
Not the toughest quarter on paper, but the players in there can certainly do some damage.
The infamous fourth quarter, hence:
The Nadal quarter is a joke.
The Del Potro quarter is loaded.
The Zverev quarter is thin but dangerous.
The Federer quarter is a monster.
Nadal survives his quarter with all kinds of energy to spare in this endurance event.
Del Potro probably does not survive. Too many potentials in there. As I said back in Toronto, Stan is starting to peak at the right time. But he has a Dimitrov in R1? WTF. Stan should survive that and still be a force in that quarter, hopefully finding his pal Nadal in the SF. Del Potro finding 2009 potency may be an impossibility at this point, has been since the career-saving surgeries. Del Potro has Murray in the 3R. Brutal quarter.
Zverev’s quarter probably comes down to the two top seeds there, if Lendl has enough pull with the major-challenged German. Can Nishikori or Goffin break-up the Cilic v Zverev QF? Zverev v Nishikori in R16 might help us answer that question (Monfils is lurking in there, as well).
The last quarter is a monster. Kyrgios is the biggest douche-bag on tour but can beat anyone. He’s most dangerous when he’s the underdog. No doubt.
Federer has Kyrgios in the 3R. Think about that. This is haunted. Federer will be under all kinds of pressure then and there. Then it’s potentially Chung or Fognini, if he survives the Aussie’s huge game.
If Djokovic does not make the QF, we have a massive upset and the draw goes wide-open.
Without really spelling this out, the Federer/Kyrgios/Djokovic quarter has the most fire-power of any of the quarters, especially if Federer and Kyrgios are playing well.
As I said in my previous post, all you really need to know is
SF #1 Nadal v Del Potro/Wawrinka/or 1-2 others in that bracket.
SF #2 Djokovic (Federer/Kyrgios outside shot) v Cilic or (seems a stretch but his draw looks good and Lendl might be that fear factor he needs) Zverev.
How this isn’t Nadal v Djokovic I really have no idea.
I actually think a couple of Swiss former champs might be the only possible factors to prevent another Rafa v Nole war from happening.