The top storyline of the 2010 U.S. Open Tennis Tournament so far will be the match today between Roger Federer and Robin Soderling. Yet there are so many stories, including some that are anticipated over the next few days.
For all those who love this game, the 2010 U.S. Open is one of amazing shots, long matches, and superb performances that have showcased the many talents of those who play this game at the professional level. Among all these stars, some like Federer and Rafael Nadal shine brighter on a regular basis. But those who have shone more brightly than in the past are especially worthy of comment today, when so much is at stake.
So here are the stories and backstories of the day. While there are more than five, these are the best I can see.
Let's be honest, can we? There is nothing in front of anyone other than Nadal - Federer at the 2010 U.S. Open Tennis Finals. Many worry that Federer has lost a step, that Nadal is maturing into a better player if he is not one already, and that somehow by some twist of fate these two will not win every match so they can reach the Finals together.
While today there is Soderling - Federer, and some may really want for Federer to lose that one, for most of us the match we have all been waiting for is Federer - Nadal.
The reasons for this are so huge it is hard to put them in a single page. In fact, they could not be written fully in much less than a book.
But here are a few.
The top two ranked players today, Nadal and Federer, could meet in the Finals. And if they did they would have so much on the line. These include: a record-breaking six U.S. Open Men's titles for Federer; the potential Career Grand Slam for Nadal, and the arguments over who is the better player now and who is the best tennis player of all time.
Would it have been great to have them play right away, leaving the others to play each other for prize number two?
No way. Because the other stories are made in part that much better, especially the stories involving each player as they seek to advance to the Finals.
With the semifinals in reach, Robin Soderling and Roger Federer meet again. Federer would like to forget the last time these two met in a Grand Slam. Soderling beat Federer in convincing fashion in the quarterfinals of the 2010 French Open. And that loss has to be gnawing at the No. 2 ranked player in the world.
Thus, this match could be considered a grudge match. If Federer slips, Soderling's big serve and improved ground game could relegate the Federer - Nadal match to the trash heap of U.S. Open history. On the other hand, with so much to lose, Federer could make things very unpleasant for Soderling very quickly.
In a guessing game of power over placement, and touch over brute force, Federer is likely to prevail. The surface at Arthur Ashe Stadium, although clearly slower than in years past, still favors Federer. Look for him to win a match that proves surprisingly easy given the claim that Federer is over the hill. This one should go no more than four sets.
They have met five other times. And while Djokovic has won all but one of their meetings, Gael Monfils has given him fits every time they meet on a tennis court, including in the 2009 BNP Parisbas Masters in Paris.
Also, who can forget that first set Monfils played against Rafael Nadal last year.
If Monfils gets ahead of Djokovic early in the first set, it is highly likely that Monfils will take this match in a rout. If it is not, it could go five sets and Monfils will win.
Somehow, and against the grain of other critics, I see this one as a major upset in this year's tournament. Djokovic will once again ousted by the older and wiser Monfils.
Wozniacki has not benefited from her looks. In fact, they have held her reputation back. While Maria Sharapova has been both a sex symbol and excellent player, able to mix both, most other women with looks have been less successful as they struggled to be considered real players. Clearly due in part to the way some in the media write and comment on women's tennis, beauties who are said to have talent really have not. Thus, they have fallen short, and their accomplishments have been overstated.
Come meet Wozniacki, the 2010 U.S. Open version of a female tennis star with looks. Her two set thrashing of Sharapova gave Wozniacki what her number one seeding in this Open and her win at the Pilot Pen did not: instant credibility.
When 5'10" Wozniacki meets 5'3" Cibulkova, it will not be much of a match. Besides her obvious physical advantages, and the fact that smaller players do not fare well at the U.S. Open means a rout is almost certain.
Wozniacki in two sets.
There is a Roger Federer of the men's doubles world. They are reverse identical twins, who are right and left handed. Their names are Mike and Bob Bryan.
When they meet Marcel Granollers and Tommy Robredo in the Semifinals of the 2010 U.S. Open, the Bryans will be seeking to add to their more than six hundred men's doubles matches won and 64 men's doubles titles. They already have the Career Grand Slam in men's doubles.
If you want to see a unique, one-of-a-kind pair that act and think so much alike on the court they seem like mirror images, you have to catch these players before they retire. They are doubles perfection.