The 2012 U.S. Open is starting to heat up.
Both the men's and women's tournaments have reached the fourth round, which means that positions in the quarterfinals are on offer and a chance to seriously challenge for the Grand Slam crown.
We're now starting to get some fascinating matchups, as the competition contenders begin to sort themselves out from the pretenders.
Here are five favorites who will coast through their fourth-round matches and into the quarterfinals of the 2012 U.S. Open.
vs. Nicolas Almagro
The Spanish clay-court specialist has come a long way in the past few years on the men's circuit. However, on a hard court—against the big serve of Tomas Berdych—he simply doesn't have enough to get the job done. The Czech international will cruise through the fourth round.
The No. 6 seed did drop the opening set of his match against Sam Querry in the third round. However, he looked stronger and stronger as the match continued and should be too much for Almagro, who has already chalked up some serious minutes on the court at the 2012 U.S. Open.
vs. Andrea Hlavackova
Serena Williams, with the home crowd behind her and an inferior opponent in front of her, will simply be too hard to stop at the 2012 U.S. Open. She will cruise through the fourth round of the women's competition.
Her Czech opponent has already played a lot of tennis so far, having played to three sets in her past two encounters.
Compared to the fresh and physically dominant Williams, Hlavackova will be unable to keep up.
The home crowd could witness an old-fashioned Williams beatdown in this one.
vs. Tsvetana Pironkova
Ana Ivanovic might not be as high up the world rankings as she once was, but there's little doubt that the Serb still possesses a very strong ground game and one that's more than capable of moving her through to the quarterfinals at the 2012 U.S. Open.
Ivanovic came from a set down to defeat local hope Sloane Stephens, who is a much tougher opponent than the Bulgarian she will meet in the fourth round.
The Serbain should cruise to victory and set up a mouthwatering quarterfinal against Serena Williams.
vs. Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky
Bob and Mike Bryan (the Bryan Brothers) will go down in history as one of the most dominant men's doubles combinations—if not the most dominant—of all time.
They have simply been unstoppable over the past few years, and they continue on at their home Grand Slam as they look for a place in the quarterfinals this week.
The Bryan boys will simply have too much for their opponents. They will chest-bump, high-five and overhead-smash their way to victory, to book a place in the final eight (even if it is technically only a third-round match).
vs. Mardy Fish
American Mardy Fish will technically have the home crowd behind him, but with the mass-following and support that Roger Federer has on his side, even he will be somewhat daunted when he faces the world No. 1.
Federer has found new life in the past few months—taking Wimbledon and reclaiming the top spot in the world—and looks the goods to progress through to the final eight at the 2012 U.S. Open.
It will take something or someone special to knock off the Fed Express here, and no offense to Fish, but he simply isn't in the same class as the Swiss maestro.
To be honest, few are.
Can you see any of these favorites losing their Round 4 matches?
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