Samantha Stosur and Novak Djokovic are the defending champs
The draws for the 2012 edition of the U.S. Open were unveiled last night and there are plenty of great matches to look forward to this year.
The tournament starts Monday and will run through Sunday, September 9th. It will be played as usual at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, N.Y.
The singles defending champs are Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Australia's Samantha Stosur. They will have two very different paths to defending their championships.
For Djokovic, it will be the first time since 2007 that he will not have a matchup in the semifinals against Roger Federer. They have played each other in the semis every year since 2008.
While Federer took the first two, the last two years have seen epic wins by Djokovic. If they meet in the final, it will be the first time they have done so since 2007.
Federer could possibly face Andy Murray in the semifinals, which which would be a another battle between them after their two finals at Wimbledon and the Olympics.
On the women's side, Serena Williams is the favorite despite being the No. 4 seed. She will be going for her fourth U.S. Open crown.
Stosur beat Williams last year in the finals and will have to follow a similar path this year. She would meet No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals and would only meet Williams in the finals.
Maria Sharapova is on the top side of the draw, which means we could see another final between Williams and Sharapova.
Let's take a look at a breakdown of both singles' draws.
Seed No. 1 - Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
Top Seeded Player: Victoria Azarenka (1)
Possible Quarterfinal Matchup: Victoria Azarenka (1) vs. Samantha Stosur (7)
Azarenka faces a loaded section of the draw, including defending champion Stosur, Li Na (9), Sabine Lisicki (16) and Kim Cljisters (23).
But at least Stosur, Na and Cljisters will be squaring off on the lower side to decide who would be facing Azarenka in the quarterfinals. Lisicki, the big-serving German, could face her in the round of 16.
But neither Azarenka nor Lisicki is 100 percent coming into the tournament. Azarenka pulled out of the second round of the Rogers Cup a couple of weeks ago due to a left knee injury, and Lisicki dropped out of the Texas Tennis Open this week due to an injury to her left abdominal area.
That could open the door for whomever emerges from the lower side of this section of the draw to reach the semifinal.
Stosur is the defending champ, but she has not been the same this year. In four of her last five tournaments, she has not made the quarterfinals.
The biggest threat could be No. 23 seed Cljisters. She is unbeaten at the Open since 2004. She won the 2005, 2009 and 2010 editions and missed the other years with injuries. Clijsters has said she'll retire after the tournament.
Na is riding high coming of a win Cincinnati and reaching the final at Montreal before that.
Top Seeded Player: Maria Sharapova (3)
Possible Quarterfinal Matchup: Maria Sharapova (3) vs. Petra Kvitova (5)
Sharapova, the 2004 champion, last played at the Olympics, where she fell to Serena Williams in the final. She had to withdraw from the Rogers Cup due to a stomach virus.
If she has recovered, she should easily make the round of 16, where she would likely face Lucie Safarova, the No. 15 seed.
Safarova won in straight sets in her only match against Sharapova, but that was two years ago and on a clay court in the first round of the Madrid Open.
On the lower side, Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champ, should also have an easy path to the round of 16, where she would likely face No. 11 seed Marion Bartoli or No. 17 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Bartoli and Pavlyuchenkova have split their two meetings, with Bartoli winning on hard courts.
Kvitova has a 4-2 record against Pavlyuchenkova and 2-2 against Bartoli, easily winning the last two. It all points to a possible Sharapova-Kvitova quarterfinal, and Sharapova has won her last three matches against Kvitova.
Top Seeded Player: Serena Williams (4)
Possible Quarterfinal Matchup: Serena Williams (4) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (8)
Of the top four seeded players, three-time champion Williams may have the easiest section of the draw. After her grueling back-to-back tournament wins at Wimbledon and the Olympics, that is a blessing.
Her main competition should come from No. 8 seed Caroline Wozniacki, who has only one win against Williams in six tries.
To make things worse for Wozniacki, she will be coming to the tournament with a slight right knee injury she suffered Thursday during her win over Dominika Cibulkova in New Haven.
Williams' opponent in the round of 16 should be No. 14 seed Maria Kirilenko, who has not beaten Williams in five tries.
In the top part of this section, even with her injury, Wozniacki should at least make it to the round of 16.
But there she will have her hands full against Ana Ivanovic, a former No. 1 player in the world who is the No. 12 seed.
Ivanovic leads her head-to-head matches against Wozniacki 3-2 and should have the upper hand if Wozniacki is not fully recovered for this match.
Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champ and the No. 22 seed, is on Ivanovic's section of the draw. But she is winless in four tries against Ivanovic.
Top Seeded Player: Agnieszka Radwanska (2)
Possible Quarterfinal Matchup: Agnieszka Radwanska (2) vs. Angelique Kerber (6)
Radwanska had the biggest run of her career at Wimbledon this year. She made it to the finals, where she lost to Serena Williams in three sets.
Since then she seems to have lost her winning ways, losing in the first round of the Olympics and then losing easily in straights sets to Li Na in the quarterfinals in Cincinnati and Montreal.
She will have a tough section of the draw. Former No. 1 and No. 30 seed Jelena Jankovic could face her in the round of 32. Radwanska is 2-2 against Jankovic lifetime, and her two wins have been in three tough sets.
Should Radwanska get through Jankovic, she should make it to the quarterfinals. She is a combined 7-0 against No. 13 seed Dominika Cibulkova and No. 20 seed Roberta Vinci—her possible two toughest opponents afterward.
On the top part of the draw, Kerber is the highest seed and the presumed winner of a possible second round match against two-time U.S. Open champion Venus Williams.
Kerber won her last two matches against Williams this year. But even though she is not an elite player anymore, Williams is always a tough opponent.
No. 10 seed Sara Errani could be the round of 16 opponent for either Kerber or Williams. Errani defeated Kerber at the French Open this year, but Kerber has won the only other match they played on hard courts.
Meanwhile, Errani has lost all three of her matches against Williams.
For the quarterfinals, Radwanska would have the upper hand against any of these players, having won at least the last two matches against each of them.
Top Seeded Player: Roger Federer (1)
Possible Quarterfinal Matchup: Roger Federer (1) vs. Tomas Berdych (6)
Five-time champion Federer knows he could face No. 3 seed Andy Murray in the semifinals. But before he gets there, he will have to defeat some respectable opponents.
Fernando Verdasco, the 25th seed, could face Federer in the round of 32. Verdasco has never beaten Federer in five tries and they haven't met in three years. But every match has been hard-fought.
The round of 16 matchup could be against either 12th-seed Gilles Simon or 23rd-seed Mardy Fish.
Fish is slowly getting back into top form and has one win in three matches against Simon. Either player should provide another tough match for Federer on his way to the quarterfinals.
On the lower part of the section, Berdych should get at least to the round of 16. He will probably face American Sam Querrey in the round of 32.
His round of 16 match should be against No. 11 seed Nicolas Almagro. Berdych is six-for-nine against Almagro. But interestingly enough, they have split wins this year, with Almagro winning on hard courts.
Federer is 11-4 lifetime against Berdych and undefeated in five matches against Almagro.
Top Seeded Player: Andy Murray (3)
Possible Quarterfinal Matchup: Andy Murray (3) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (5)
Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray should have been on a roll coming into the tournament, but instead he has two third-round exits in his last two tournaments.
Everyone is looking forward to his possible rematch with Federer in the semifinals, but he is facing a loaded section of the draw, starting with his first-round opponent.
After his surprising first-round loss to Jeremy Chardy in Cincinnati, Murray can't overlook Russia's Alex Bogomolov Jr. Murray has won the last two times against him, but Bogomolov has a win over Murray last year at Miami.
His round of 32 match should be against No. 30 seed Feliciano Lopez, who is winless against Murray in five tries. His round of 16 opponent is likely to be big-hitting No. 15 seed Milos Raonic, who has a win in their only officially played match.
On the lower side of the draw, Tsonga will also have his hands full trying to reach a quarterfinal match against Murray. He could face No. 32 seed Chardy, who defeated Murray in Cincinnati.
His round of 16 opponent will be against either No. 12 seed Marin Cilic or No. 17 seed Kei Nishikori.
Nishikori has won his last two matches against Cillic. If he wins again, he could be the one to face Murray since he is unbeaten lifetime in three matches against Tsonga—all on hard courts.
Murray has easily won his two lifetime matches against Nishikori and his last five against Tsonga.
Top Seeded Player: David Ferrer (4)
Possible Quarterfinal Matchup: David Ferrer (4) vs. Janko Tipsarevic (8)
Ferrer should thank fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal for his No. 4 seed and getting the easiest quarter in the men's draw.
Not only he gets the lowest top-eight seed in Tipsarevic, but his quarter is filled with players he has dominated with one exception, his possible round of 32 opponent, No. 28 seed Mikhail Youzhny.
Ferrer has three wins in seven matches against Youzhny, two of them on clay. Youzhny has won their only outdoor hard-court match and three-of-four on indoor hard courts.
Should he go on, his possible round of 16 opponent will be either No. 13 seed Richard Gasquet or No. 21 seed Tommy Haas. These two have split wins in four matches, with Haas getting the two wins on hard courts.
Ferrer is 7-1 lifetime against Gasquet and unbeaten in two matches against Haas.
On the top side, Tipsarevic will possibly face Viktor Troicki in a battle of Serbians in the round of 32.
On the lower 16th of the top part of the draw, big-serving American John Isner, the No. 9 seed, should face No. 19 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in his round of 32 match, which could be the best in that round of the men's draw.
Isner is undefeated in three matches against Kohlschreiber and has split two matches with Tipsarevic.
Ferrer has three wins in four matches against Isner and two wins in three matches against Tipsarevic.
Top Seeded Player: Novak Djokovic (2)
Possible Quarterfinal Matchup: Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (7)
Djokovic is the defending champion. But to many, this year has been just a shadow of the great year he had in 2011.
Even though he's still the No. 2 player in the world, he has fallen short of the expectations he set for himself last year.
But his route to a third straight U.S. Open final should be easy, at least through the quarterfinals. His round of 32 match should be against No. 31 seed Julien Benneteau, who has only one win in five tries against Djokovic.
In the round of 16, he would face either No. 14 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov or No. 18 seed Stanislas Wawrinka. Djokovic has beaten Dolgopolov both times they have met and has won the last nine against Wawrinka and 11 of 13 lifetime.
On the top of his section, Del Potro should reach the quarterfinals against Djokovic.
No. 10 seed Juan Monaco or 2003 champ and No. 20 seed Andy Roddick should face Del Potro in his round of 16 match.
Del Potro has won two-of-three against Monaco and has won the three outdoor hard-court matches against Roddick while losing his last match against him on an indoor hard court.
In the last two years, Djokovic and Del Potro have split wins in four matches. This year Del Potro defeated Djokovic for the bronze medal at the Olympics. Djokovic avenged that loss with a straight-set win in Cincinnati.