Roger Federer enters the 2012 U.S. Open as the favorite coming off wins at Wimbledon and the Western & Southern Open. Despite being drawn into the same side of the bracket as Andy Murray, Federer will continue his strong play and advance to the final.
With Rafael Nadal having pulled out of the tournament, the tournament draw was sure to favor one of tennis' big three: Federer, Murray or Novak Djokovic. Two would be on the same side with a possible semifinal match-up; the other had the easier route to the final.
Djokovic got the luckier draw as Federer and Murray are facing a semifinal matchup, barring an upset somewhere earlier in the tournament.
Federer and Murray have already squared off in big-time matches this year, with Federer beating Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 at Wimbledon and Murray beating Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the Olympic final.
While the Wimbledon match was close, Murray dominated the latest meeting and will carry that confidence into a potential semifinal. Murray looked much more energetic than the 31-year-old Federer did.
Federer opted not to play in the Rogers Cup, citing a desire to rest following "a long stretch of tournaments." With two weeks of rest between the Western & Southern, Federer should be back to form after the grueling stretch of the last couple months. That's bad news for Murray, who would need to wear down Federer.
Another reason Federer will advance to the final is that Murray, who has proven that he can play with anybody, hasn't been able to seal the deal with a Grand Slam victory. The pressure has been too much to bear at times for Murray; one need only consider the last two tournaments at Wimbledon.
This is in contrast to Federer, who has handled pressure extremely well on his way to 17 Grand Slam titles. Federer boasts an unlimited ability to withstand pressure and can face whatever situation is thrown at him. Because of this, he remains the heavy favorite over Murray in a potential semifinal matchup.
While Murray will get his time to shine eventually, it's still Federer's game at the moment. Federer is the better player of the two and will beat Murray, despite Murray putting up a good fight should the two meet up in the tournament.
If the pair do meet up in the semis, a likely final against Novak Djokovic would be looming.