Rafael Nadal led the way at Cincinnati's Western and Southern Open with his ninth title this year. He is only the fourth player since 1990 to pull off the Canadian-Cincinnati sweep, something that even Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have not done.
Only Andre Agassi in 1995 was not able to win the U.S. Open after this feat. Patrick Rafter (1998) and Andy Roddick (2003) rode this momentum all the way to U.S. Open titles.
But if Nadal is playing great tennis, there will still be many battles at the top to decide the U.S. Open champion. There is no overwhelming favorite, but a handful of legitimate champions are all looking to seize the title.
The following slides will count down the top 20 players who can do damage at the U.S. Open. Much of this article evaluates their recent results and potential to play well on hard courts. Who will be ready to make some noise?
The final slide will also reveal what needs to happen for Nadal to reclaim the No. 1 ranking at the U.S. Open.