After three rounds of exciting tennis at US Open 2009, only 16 players still have their dream of glory alive. While we eagerly await the second-week drama at Flushing Meadows, Let us take a look at those players who are most in-form according to the Power Ranking System.
The Top 10
Last Four Tournaments: US Open [R16+], Cincinnati [Winner], Montreal [Quarterfinalist], Wimbledon [Winner]
Power Ranking Points: 758
Federer did not bring his A-game to the court during the first three rounds, dropping a set against the ever resilient Hewitt. But the second week of a Grand Slam is usually where the Grand-Slam-Man showcases his genius and magic. With Federer gradually settling into his match rhythm, few would bet on his streak of 21 Grand Slam semifinals coming to an end.
Will Federer win his sixth consecutive US Open crown? Well, the odds are in his favor.
2. Andy Murray (Last Power Ranking: 2; ATP Ranking: 2)
Last Four Tournaments: US Open [R16+], Cincinnati [Semifinalist], Montreal [Winner], Wimbledon [Semifinalist]
Power Ranking Points: 622
Murray's play in the first three rounds was quite solid, even though he dropped a set against Capdeville. With a 3-0 head-to-head advantage against Cilic, he should certainly feel confident ahead of their next-round encounter. Being the new No. 2 in the world but the only one among the ATP Big Four without a Slam title, the Scotsman is surely eager to prove himself.
Will Murray win his first Grand Slam crown? Let us leave this question to the man ranked above him...
3. Novak Djokovic (Last Power Ranking: 3; ATP Ranking: 4)
Last Four Tournaments: US Open [R16+], Cincinnati [Finalist], Montreal [Quarterfinalist], Wimbledon [Quarterfinalist]
Power Ranking Points: 461
The Djoker struggled mightily against Witten, an American player ranked hundreds of places below him. He still seems to have some problems with his "new" racquet. And the chemistry between Nole and the New York crowd just does not feel right. Djokovic has not won any title since winning the "home" event at Belgrade. No sign seems to suggest that this mini title drought will end in the next week.
4. Juan Martin Del Potro (Last Power Ranking: 6; ATP Ranking: 6)
Last Four Tournaments: US Open [R16+], Montreal [Finalist], Washington [Winner], Wimbledon [R64]
Power Ranking Points: 435
After sitting out the Cincinnati Masters due to fatigue, Del Potro returned to action at the US Open. With the spotlight mostly on the Big Four and the home favorite Roddick, Delpo has quietly advanced to the final 16. A win at Washington and a near-win at Montreal certainly say a lot about Delpo's game prowess. But his fitness leaves many questioning his ability to survive a five-setter, two-week tournament.
5. Rafael Nadal (Last Power Ranking: 4; ATP Ranking: 3)
Last Four Tournaments: US Open [R16+], Cincinnati [Semifinalist], Montreal [Quarterfinalist], Roland Garros [R16]
Power Ranking Points: 358
As if knee problems are not enough, the Bull also suffered sore abdominal muscle during his third-round encounter with Almagro. Ever since Nadal's sabbatical after Roland Garros due to injuries, people started wondering whether we will see the "old" Rafa again. Well, unless he becomes 100 per cent fit, the more likely answer is no. This is indeed a hard time for all the "Rafans" out there...
6. Fernando Verdasco (Last Power Ranking: NR; ATP Ranking: 10)
Last Four Tournaments: US Open [R16+], New Haven [Winner], Cincinnati [R64], Montreal [R16]
Power Ranking Points: 331
With his first title (New Haven, Hard) this season, the Gorgeous makes his debut in the new power ranking system. He made into the second week after a near-four-hour five-set battle against Haas. He will next face another five-setter winner, Isner, the "Roddick-killer". It will be interesting to see if Verdasco can duplicate his brilliant effort in Australian Open earlier this year.
7. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Last Power Ranking: 9; ATP Ranking: 7)
Last Four Tournaments: US Open [R16+], Cincinnati [R32], Montreal [Semifinalist], Washington [R64]
Power Ranking Points: 285
Muhammad Ali of Tennis is surely enjoying himself right now, after making into the second week of US Open for the first time. And he did so without dropping a set, something none of the guys ranked above him can claim. He next faces Gonzalez, whom he never played with before. It is likely the most intriguing match in the round of 16.
8. Nikolay Davydenko (Last Power Ranking: 7; ATP Ranking: 8)
Last Four Tournaments: US Open [R16+], New Haven [Quarterfinalist], Cincinnati [R16], Montreal [Quarterfinalist]
Power Ranking Points: 278
Oh, you are still around, Nikolay. With Nole's results rebounding lately, Davydenko is the new "Forgotten Man". Like JWT, Davydenko has quietly made into the second week without dropping a set. But with Federer looming large in the top quarter, his chance of matching his best result (SF) in US Open this year is quite slim.
9. Andy Roddick (Last Power Ranking: 5; ATP Ranking: 5)
Last Four Tournaments: US Open [R32], Cincinnati [R32], Montreal [Semifinalist], Washington [Finalist]
Power Ranking Points: 255
Sigh... We can't feel too sorry for you, A-Rod. After all, you still have your girl Brooklyn.
Roddick's position here is quite awkward. He is the only guy ranked here who did not advance to the round of 16, and his defeat came in the hand of the guy ranked right below him in these Power Rankings. Maybe the hiring of a new coach is not enough after all. Roddick needs that extra oomph to win that elusive second Slam. But where can he find it?
10. John Isner (Last Power Ranking: NR; ATP Ranking: 55)
Last Four Tournaments: US Open [R16+], Cincinnati [R32], Montreal [R32], Washington[Semifinalist]
Power Ranking Points: 242
Isner's upset win over Roddick was quite shocking, to say the least. But if you consider their last encounter in Washington semis, this result might not surprise you as much. In that match, Roddick had to come from behind to win in three sets.
He is already the "dark horse" of the tournament (on the men's side). And he is the only American remaining in the last 16. His next match against Verdasco is surely to get lost of attention and support from the New York crowd.
Outside Looking In
1. Fernando Gonzalez (Last Power Ranking: OLI; ATP Ranking: 11)
Power Ranking Points: 242
Gonzo avenged his loss to Berdych in Cincinnati first round with a straight-set win in US Open third round. He needs to overcome Tsonga to match his best effort at US Open (QF, 2002).
2. Radek Stapanek (Last Power Ranking: NR; ATP Ranking: 16)
Power Ranking Points: 231
Stepanek started this season strongly, winning two titles (Brisbane & San Jose). Then his form dipped, so did his results. By reaching the last 16, he already enjoys his best result at US Open. Facing a not-so-steady Djokovic in the next round, he is not without any chances to go even further.
3. Juan Carlos Ferrero (Last Power Ranking: NR; ATP Ranking: 25)
Power Ranking Points: 215
Since ending a five-year title drought earlier this season (Casablanca), Ferrero has been playing some inspirational tennis of late. Facing another much younger Juan in the next round, he will not go down without a fight.
4. Robin Soderling (Last Power Ranking: OLI; ATP Ranking: 12)
Power Ranking Points: 208
Soderling is also enjoying his best run at US Open. Should he pass the Davydenko test, he will most likely face Federer, against whom he is winless, in the quarterfinals.
Nobody beats Soderling 12 times in a row?