U.S. Open 2010: Nine First-Round Matches to Watch for Potential Upsets
I only see three seeds bowing out in the first round—Fernando Verdasco (7), Ivan Ljubicic (15) and John Isner (18)—but there are six others that may have a tough time winning their opening match of the 2010 U.S. Open, including seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych, who faces a difficult test from Michael Llodra of France.
Ivan Ljubicic (15) Vs. Ryan Harrison
Ivan Ljubicic started the year off well with a hard-court title at Indian Wells in March, which included a win over Ryan Harrison, but he's lost six of his last seven matches, including a first-round exit at Wimbledon, and hasn't won a match at the U.S. Open since '07.
David Ferrer (10) Vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov
David Ferrer just took down Alexandr Dolgopolov at the U.S. Open tune-up tournament in Cincinnati, but the match went three sets, so expect another close one here. If Ferrer can win this match, I see him reaching the fourth round before losing to No. 31 David Nalbandian.
Fernando Verdasco (8) Vs. Fabio Fognini
This is not a good first-round draw for Fernando Verdasco, who just lost to Fabio Fognini in four sets at this year's Wimbledon. The Italian also recently scored an upset victory over No. 29 Radek Stepanek on the hard courts of Toronto this month.
Verdasco, who reached the quarters here in '09, is 7-0 in opening matches at the U.S. Open, but he had also won six straight first-rounders at the All England Club before running into Fognini.
John Isner (18) Vs. Frederico Gil
John Isner has been playing so well this year, but he suffered ankle ligament damage at Cincinnati earlier this month, so even if he does play, his chances of winning are slim, despite the fact that he's going up against a guy that is 0-8 in majors.
Radek Stepanek (28) Vs. Julien Benneteau
Radek Stepanek went 2-7 after his finals appearance at Brisbane in January, but made a nice run at the recent Pilot Pen event in New Haven. He is 2-0 on hard courts against Julien Benneteau.
Tomas Berdych (7) Vs. Michael Llodra
This is another tough draw for a top-eight seed. Michael Llodra defeated Tomas Berdych the last time they played, in five sets at the '08 French Open, and the Frenchman has won two titles this year, including one on hard courts. But Berdych won his other three lifetime meetings with Llodra, and is coming off a semifinal appearance at Roland Garros and a runner-up finish at Wimbledon.
Juan Monaco (30) Vs. Peter Polansky
Other than a fourth-round finish at the '07 U.S. Open, Juan Monaco has been completely shut out here, but he's 7-5 on hard courts this season, so he should be able to get past the qualifier.
Albert Montanes (21) Vs. Michal Przysiezny
Albert Montanes dropped six consecutive first-round matches at the Australian Open before finally breaking through to the third round this year. He's lost four in a row here as well, but I think it's finally time for him to snap that streak against an opponent who is 1-9 this year.
Jurgen Melzer (13) Vs. Dmitry Tursunov
Dmitry Tursunov is 2-0 against Jurgen Melzer, but those wins came back when the Russian wasn't ranked 482nd in the world.