It is time to put the spectacles on and see if we can guess the outcome of this Saturday's men's semifinals and women's finals at the US Open.
On this Saturday, we have some barn-burner matches that may exceed the talent we have seen in most of the past US Opens.
Favoring David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Victoria Azarenka today may seem as insane as picking the United States soccer team to win the World Cup. Yet, as the US Open has progressed this year, Novak Djokovic (Roger Federer's pick to win the championship), Andy Murray and Serena Williams could all lose in the most upsetting Saturday in memory.
Tomas Berdych vs. Andy Murray in Semifinals
Berdych, despite his loss to John Isner in his home state tournament in Charlotte where he had three match points in the final tiebreak (3-6, 6-4, 7-6(9)), will break through in this tournament, being the favorite underdog to win it all.
Murray periodically appears less stoic, but we have to assume his legs are not perfect as he has periodically spilled his way to this point in the tennis season.
Murray won the Olympics on his home turf. The US Open is not home for Murray, whose results have been less than stellar here with his runner-up coming in 2008. Look for this to be another disappointing match for Murray fans.
David Ferrer vs. Novak Djokovic in Semifinals
Djokovic is almost middle-aged in tennis years at 25, Ferrer is at the slowly disintegrating "old" age of 30.
To put this match in perspective, imagine putting Jimmy Connors at 22 up against nearly forty-year-old Ken Rosewall in the 1974 US Open. No contest, as it turned out. Connors won 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 in the most lopsided final ever.
Ferrer has bad feet, but everyone is playing with injury. The bet here is that Ferrer, one of the most well-liked players on tour, will be a favorite of the crowd, which will help seal Djokovic's fate.
With today's nutrition and body work, Ferrer is no longer at the end of his career, but peaking.
Look for the boy kept in the closet to tough out the match against Djokovic. Djokovic's superior speed will be defeated in the end by Ferrer's equally impressive placement and great defensive game.
This one could be the match of the US Open.
Miss it at your peril.
Victoria Azarenka vs. Serena Williams
This night match could be another classic.
The problem is that Serena is not ready for Azarenka because of her demolishing play against Sara Errani and anyone else you want to pick in this US Open, which will be the most telling part of this match as it begins with a shocking first set loss to Azarenka.
Azarenka has proven to her critics that she is by far the best in the crop of current non-Williams players.
If it goes three sets, this is the match that will be remembered as proof that the women's game is now equal to or even better than the men's game as long as Serena can get her ground game going.
Unfortunately, Serena's crushing defeat of Errani provided evidence of her likely loss to Azarenka. Her ground strokes are no match for Azarenka, who not only reinforced her No. 1 status in her match against Maria Sharapova, but is ready to start one of the greatest runs of any No. 1 in history.
If she would only end her screaming, she could become one of the most well-liked players in tennis history by fans, TV analysts and opponents alike.
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