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Winner: Novak Djokovic
Yes, it's going to be a double kind of year for Novak Djokovic.
He will back up his hard-court slam in Australia with a hard-court slam under the bright lights of New York City. He was bested last year by Andy Murray, but the 2011 champion will not be denied in 2013.
Djokovic is arguably the most dominant hard-court player on tour right now, and he loves playing at the U.S. Open on the big stage. It's tough to bet against Djokovic in New York, but if he runs into Andy Murray again, we could be in for a slugfest of the ages.
Dark Horse: Tomas Berdych
Berdych gave Murray a definite run for his money last season in the semis of the U.S. Open. It was a very tense four-set match, and after Berdych took the first, it looked like momentum might be on his side.
However, the rest is history. Murray blasted Berdych off the court the next two sets, won a tight breaker in the fourth and went on to win the title.
Berdych always leaves fans wanting more; he has showed an ability to beat top players and make deep runs in the big tournaments. He looked strong in the Big Apple last season, and this might be the year he puts it all together.
Player to Watch: Milos Raonic
The big Canadian had a great run last season, losing to eventual champion Andy Murray in the fourth round. He showed a very big game that was well suited for the hard courts of Flushing Meadows.
While Ferrer, Berdych and Del Potro all had fantastic runs worth talking about, Raonic may have had the most surprising one considering his young age, 21, and mental stability at the big moments.
He's cool as a cucumber under pressure, and backed with that strong service game, this might be a tournament year where Raonic tosses his hat into the conversation of Grand Slam champions at New York for years to come.