US Open Tennis 2013: Stars Who Are Sure to Carry Strong Play into Final Rounds
After just one day of play at the 2013 U.S. Open, a few stars made their presence known with some blowout performances.
Top-seeded players are expected to win these opening rounds. The competition is tilted in their favor, and their opponents in the early rounds shouldn't give them much competition.
That said, upsets have seemingly become the norm at Grand Slam tournaments. In particular, Wimbledon was unkind to high-seeded players in the early going this summer.
While one round doesn't define a tournament, there's reason to believe the following stars are ready to cruise into the quarterfinals—and perhaps beyond.
The King of Clay has been tearing up hard courts this year.
His win against Ryan Harrison of the United States improved his record on hard courts to 16-0 this season, as noted by ESPN Stats & Info:
Rafael Nadal defeated Ryan Harrison in straight sets to improve to 54-3 this season, including 16-0 on hard courts.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 26, 2013
Ripping his signature two-handed backhand down the line throughout the match, Nadal easily dispatched Harrison in straight sets, winning 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. He was unbreakable both times Harrison had a chance and proved particularly dominant at the net, winning 81 percent of his net points.
Nadal has only lost three matches all year long.
Many, including myself, thought his balky knee might cause the star to shut down for most of the rest of this season after his early exit at Wimbledon.
However, the Spaniard has come back with a vengeance, winning ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Canada and Cincinnati in preparation for the U.S. Open.
Nadal is on a roll, and he's going to be tough to beat.
Radwanska isn't exactly a favorite to win this year's U.S. Open on the women's side, but she got off to a smashing start in Round 1 against Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain.
The Polish superstar has never made it out of Round 4 at the U.S. Open. But after beating Soler-Espinosa 6-1, 6-2, as noted by the event's official Twitter account, her past woes at Flushing Meadows appear to be at an end:
The match barely lasted one hour, and the No. 3 seed dominated in every way. Nearly doubling up her opponent with 62 total points to just 34, she dictated the action from the start until the match point.
Radwanska has had a solid season leading up to the U.S. Open too.
She reached the quarterfinals in both of the first two Grand Slam events and then earned a trip to the semifinals at Wimbledon, where she was defeated by Sabine Lisicki, who eventually lost to Marion Bartoli in the final.
After failing to win a single hard-court event this season, the U.S. Open Twitter account asks whether Li could be ready to break through with a surprise title at the 2013 U.S. Open:
One of the most consistent players on the WTA Tour, Li easily breezed through to the second round against Olga Govortsova. Scoring six aces and 28 winners, the Chinese star barely broke a sweat in her opening match.
Which star has the best chance of winning the U.S. Open?
Li is a threat to win every tournament she enters. She reached the final in the Australian Open and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, and she got to the semifinals in the two events leading up to the U.S. Open.
Though Li has never gotten out of the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open, she must be taken seriously as a true contender to win this year's event.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
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