Who's Hot, Who's Not in Tennis Ahead of the 2014 US Open?
The 2014 U.S. Open is less than two weeks away. The Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, the last of the major tune-ups, concludes this weekend.
Apparently, some players need more fine tuning than others.
So who's hot and who's not?
It depends on the barometer used to measure summer success. In this case, players are considered hot if they are playing above expectations, have looked impressive in recent matches or pulled off notable upsets.
Those considered not hot are playing below expectations, are on a losing streak or have suffered an embarrassing upset.
Serena Williams, who is having a Slam-less year so far, qualifies as neither because despite her off year, she has won more titles this season than anyone on the WTA Tour.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal hasn't played since Wimbledon. With his appearance at the U.S. Open questionable, Nadal is unofficially lukewarm.
Continue on to find out those trending hot and players who are not.
Hot: Refocused Roger Federer
Roger Federer built on his Wimbledon finals appearance by reaching the finals at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Although he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets at the Rogers Cup, Federer has had a more consistent summer than any other member of the Big Four.
Not: Newlywed Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic is 2-2 since Wimbledon. It's not the type of tune-up he anticipated in his run up to the U.S. Open.
A newlywed and expectant father, Djokovic is moving to a new stage in his life. It's too early to evaluate how his new life-altering status will impact his game.
Ranked No. 1, he will grab the top seed at the U.S. Open. However, with so little hard-court preparation, he enters the tournament flickering just shy of a simmer.
Hot: Team Sock-Pop
With a win in their opening match in Cincinnati, American Jack Sock and Canadian Vasek Pospisil remained undefeated, 11-0, as doubles partners.
This dynamic pair appears to have come from nowhere to reach No. 9 in doubles. They shocked the Bryan brothers to take the Wimbledon title. They followed that with a title in Atlanta. Sock and Pospisil are as hot as it gets. Both under 25, Sock and Pospisil have brought new energy to men's doubles.
Not: The Beatable Bryan Brothers
Bob and Mike Bryan, the once-invincible Bryan brothers, are in a mini-slump. Shocked by Sock and Pospisil at Wimbledon, they've been upset twice since.
They lost to Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson at the Citi Open and to Marin Cilic and Santiago Gonzalez in Toronto. Winners of 15 Grand Slams, the Bryan brothers have yet to win a Slam this year.
Hot: Rejuvenated Venus Williams
Vintage Venus Williams is a phrase tennis fans are using these days. That's because Williams hasn't looked this solid in years.
Williams finished 2013 ranked No. 49. She returned to the Top 20 this week. Williams reached the quarterfinals in Stanford and then upset younger sister Serena Williams in the semifinals at the Rogers Cup. It was her first win over her little sister since 2009.
Williams lost a three-setter in her first match in Cincinnati. However, Venus Williams' impressive play bodes well for her chances at the U.S. Open.
Not: Vulnerable Vika
A year ago, Victoria Azarenka was on her way to taking the title at the Western & Southern Open. She upset Serena Williams in a thrilling three-setter. Azarenka would go on reach the U.S. Open final for the second consecutive year.
She withdrew from Cincinnati this year. It's another setback for Azarenka, whose 2014 run has been marred by injuries. This summer was supposed to be her comeback. But it's been a series of false starts for the former No. 1.
She is ranked No. 10 but will sink much lower when rankings are released Monday. It wasn't that long ago that Azarenka had her sights set on regaining No. 1. Now, even a top-16 seeding at the U.S. Open is at risk.
Hot: Rocketman Milos Raonic
Not: Slumping Jerzy Janowicz
After Jerzy Janowicz reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2013, he instantly became the leader of the up-and-comers. Janowicz peaked at a career-high ranking of No. 14 last year. He is now ranked No. 65.
Despite an upset win over Grigor Dimitrov in Cincinnati, Janowicz's season is among the most disappointing of 2014. Forget hot, Janowicz has gone ice cold.
Hot: Surging Simona Halep
Simona Halep reached a career-high ranking of No. 2 mostly due to Li Na's misfortunes.
Li withdrew from the Rogers Cup, Cincinnati and the U.S. Open.
Halep skipped the Rogers Cup. After Wimbledon, she chose to play in a smaller tournament in her native Romania.
Halep takes a seven-game winning streak into her Western & Southern Open quarterfinals match against Maria Sharapova. A win over Sharapova would take her from simply hot to sizzling.
Not: Humbled Eugenie Bouchard
Heavy is the head that wears the crown. This is especially true for those bestowed a title before coronation.
Eugenie Bouchard played her way into the semifinals at the Australian Open and the French Open. She reached the finals at Wimbledon.
Unfortunately, that's where the would-be princess got served a dose of humility. Petra Kvitova dished out a devastating beat down, and Bouchard hasn't won a match since.
She withdrew from the Citi Open. With all of Canada in her corner, Bouchard was upset by No. 113 Shelby Rogers at the Rogers Cup. She followed that with an early exit in Cincinnati.
Unless she shows up in New Haven, Bouchard will arrive at Flushing Meadows on a three-match losing streak.
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