The U.S. Open is almost here and now that the draw is out it's time to make my fearless predictions. The men's tournament should be great. I think there are three men that have a chance to win - Rafael Nadal. Roger Federer and Andy Murray. I will be shocked if anyone other than those three wins it.
Now here are my predictions;
I think Nadal has an easy section. I think the only guys I see giving him fits would be David Nalbandian or Fernando Verdasco, and he wouldn't play either one until the quarters. I don't think Nadal could have gotten a more favorable draw and I think he will take advantage of it.
Murray has a much tougher section. He could have Stan Wawrinka in the third round, although Wawrinka has struggled this year. American Sam Querrey could be a fourth-round opponent, but I wonder how much Querrey has left for the Open. He's played a lot of tennis this summer. American John Isner and Czech's Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych are in the bottom part of this section, and I look for Berdych to get through. A Murray-Berdych quarter would be a great match-up, but I think Murray is playing well and will get back to the semis.
Another tough section, where I think a numbers of players have a chance to make it through. Third-seeded Novak Djokovic would seem to be the favorite here, but he doesn't play well in the heat. And it will be hot in New York, I can guarantee that. Nikolay Davydenko hasn't played all that well this year, and I don't see him playing well here. Andy Roddick played well in Cincy, but this three-out-of-five sets, and you have to wonder if he's completely recovered from the Mono that slowed him down this summer. Marcos Baghdatis and Mardy Fish are two of the hottest players heading into the Open and are also in this section. James Blake is also there, but given the way he's been playing I can't imagine him even winning his first-round match. I'm going to predict a Fish-Roddick quarter. Fish won the last two times they've played, both this summer, but I think Roddick will get him when it counts.
Like Nadal, Federer has an easy draw. He does have Lleyton Hewitt potentially in the third round, but Fed has owned that match-up over the years. Robin Soderling looms in the quarters, but I think Federer will be ready and pull out a close win.
Nadal vs. Murray
This should be a hard-fought, tight match. It's becoming one of the best rivalries in tennis. I think it will go five sets, but I think it's simply Nadal's time, and I think he will have an easier road to the semis.
Pick: Nadal in five sets
Roddick vs. Federer
Federer has dominated this rivalry and I expect more of the same at the Open. I think Roddick will push Federer and give him a match, but at the end of the day you have to go with the greatest player of all-time.
Pick: Federer in four sets
Nadal vs. Federer
I think Federer is playing really well, but I think he's at that age where on a given day his game can just go off out of nowhere. Nothing is a given with him anymore. I simply think Nadal wants to finally win the slam that has eluded him, and I think it will happen this year. In another classic five-set thriller, Nadal will add to his growing legend by completing the career grand slam.
Pick: Nadal in five sets