Federer, winning the Cincinnati event last week, has definitely silenced most of his critics. Many after Roland Garros and Wimbledon have doubted his ability to regain his form that got him to where he is now. Federer is unquestionably back to his best and will be looking for a sixth US Open title.
It is true that a retirement to Istomin in his first match and a walkover in his second at Cincinnati helped him greatly, yet his tennis was sublime and it was evident. Against Davydenko, Federer was up a break in the second set (3-0) and Davydenko fought back to level.
However, in Federer's post match interview he said he "really felt in control" of the match, and this goes to show how much of a confident player he is.
Then came Baghdatis in the semifinal, a player who truly enjoys his time on center court whenever given the chance; he proved that by beating a not so in-form Nadal in the previous round.
Federer wasn't broken throughout the match and won it comfortably 6-4 6-3.
By then, Federer surely felt confident that he could go on and defend his title at Cincinnati. Sure, Fish provided a tough match for Federer; nevertheless, Federer's attacking tennis gave him the upper hand.
Does this make him a true US Open contender? I believe yes.
Time and time again Federer has proven his worth. His records speak for themselves: 16 Grand Slams, 63 career titles, 17 ATP Master Series and 237 weeks as world No. 1.
Moreover, Federer will be looking to avenge his loss in last year's final. He will be looking to add a sixth US Open trophy to his already illustrious career.
Federer once said he will not retire until he has won 20 Grand Slams and says that it is "doable." His fans and I believe he can certainly reach this target.
I doubt Nadal will get beyond the semifinals; I just do not think his knees will aid him throughout the course of the championship. Although he claims he is in 'perfect shape', he has shown otherwise.
Djokovic, the underdog as many commentators claim, has slim chances of winning also. He just does not have the edge over the other players on tour and whether that will change over time is still unknown.
Then there is Murray. He is the most likely to get to the final presumably to meet Federer in the final. Although he lost early in Cincinnati—likely to fatigue—he has the upper edge over Nadal and Djokovic. If he can improve his game throughout this week in training, his chances will be huge.
After the top four come big hitters Soderling and Berdyech; then come the resurgent Nalbandian and Baghdatis. They all have shown they can challenge the top four. It is their time to shine and prove their worth.
Lastly come the Americans—namely Roddick, Fish, Isner, and maybe Querrey—unless they up their game next week they will absolutely have no chance and will once again disappoint a lot of American fans.
All signs point to Federer reclaiming the US Open on September 12. I do not say that because I am a die-hard Roger Federer fan; he has truly shown he is back to his best and will be looking to cement his legacy among the legends of the game.
Only time will tell.