Who's Looked Most Like a Champion at 2013 US Open: Nadal, Murray or Djokovic?

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Who's Looked Most Like a Champion at 2013 US Open: Nadal, Murray or Djokovic?
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We're 10 days into the US Open, and so far the top men have been cruising around with very few bumps along the way.

Novak Djokovic hasn't dropped a set, Rafael Nadal has only dropped one and Andy Murray has dropped two, but that's just because he likes to do things the hard way.

Though there are five other men still in the men's draw, including the No. 4 seed David Ferrer, it feels like the trophy is going to end up in the hands of one of the Top Three men in the world.

But who's looked most like a Champion so far? Let's take a look.

 

Novak Djokovic

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

As stated above, the world No. 1 has had the easiest path through the draw so far—he is into the quarterfinals without dropping a set. In total he's served up three bagels, one breadstick and only lost more than three games in a set once—in his first set against Benjamin Becker in the second round.

Through four rounds he's hit 28 aces and 136 winners, and he has been virtually untouchable. 

Of course, it's important to note that he hasn't had a really tough opponent yet. Upsets have taken over his side of the draw, and that continues in the quarterfinals—instead of facing his slated opponent Juan Martin del Potro, he'll play the 21st-seeded Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny.

It's likely we won't really know how well Djokovic is playing under pressure until he (presumably) plays Murray in the semifinals. Still, it's good news that he hasn't wasted any energy in the first week.

 

Rafael Nadal

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Nadal has been the best player on the ATP tour—not an opinion, the numbers support it—and there has been nothing the past 10 days at the US Open to suggest that he isn't going to continue that reign here.

Sure, he dropped a set in an entertaining match against Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round, but Kohlschreiber is a tricky player who has actually beaten Nadal before. Plus, even though he lost a set, he still hasn't been broken on serve all tournament!

The most amazing thing about his serving prominence is that it's not because of power—he's only served three aces per match—but rather his phenomenal placement and precision, as Doug Robson of USA Today explained

Instead of getting the much-hyped Federer-Nadal match tonight, he'll face his countryman Tommy Robredo in the quarterfinals. His 6-0 record against Robredo means there's a good chance that Nadal will get into the semifinals, where he'd be the heavy favorite against either David Ferrer or Richard Gasquet.

Things are looking pretty good for the 2010 champ.

 

Andy Murray

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Don't forget about the defending champion. Murray has looked the most vulnerable of the top guys, dropping a set to Leonardo Mayer in the second round and Denis Istomin in the fourth round, but hey—it's not like he was dominant from start to finish last year either.

Part of what makes Murray great is that he enjoys the suffering on the court—he thrives off of gritting out matches where he's not playing his best, which is good, because his form has not been in tip-top condition.

His first-serve percentage has been in the 50s for a few matches, he hasn't been hitting many aces and he's been scowling, growling and berating himself throughout the first week of the tournament.

But the most important thing is that he's still hanging around. He faces an in-form Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarterfinals, so his draw doesn't get any easier, but he wouldn't enjoy it if it was.

 

The Verdict

After an upset-filled Wimbledon, it's nice to be this far in the US Open and still have the Top Three—Top Four if you include Ferrer—still hanging around. 

So far Djokovic has looked the best, but he's also faced the least resistance. I'd say that given his unbreakable serve, nice half of the draw and ability to get himself out of trouble, it looks like this is Nadal's tournament to lose.

But no matter what, it's going to be a fun finish.

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