Roger Federer arguably has the toughest quarter in the 2011 US Open, as it includes many dangerous floaters, including some who have given him trouble before.
First-round matches to watch
Radek Stepanek and Phillip Kohlschreiber
Kohlschreiber is best on hard courts. He had some solid wins at Indian Wells earlier this year and more recently at Cincinnati. Stepanek was also hot in Cincinnati and captured the title in DC against Monfils. The Czech should win this but if Kohschreiber is in sharp form then it could run to five sets.
Marin Cilic and Ryan Harrison
Cilic has more raw talent and was once thought of as a future grand slam contender. This match really comes down to which Cilic shows up, because Harrison is an aggressive, young fighter who will have massive fan support. The winner would face Bernard Tomic.
Who is Roger's toughest hurdle in his quarter?
Matchups we're hoping for
Roger Federer and Bernard Tomic
I think Federer will secure this win, but I've been wanting to see how the young Tomic plays against the strategizing of Federer on a big stage. If Tomic survives past his second-round match against Harrison or Cilic, which he arguably should, then it would mean he's in good form and should play well against Roger.
Considering the many tough challenges Verdasco has provided to top players over the years, including Nadal most recently in an epic Cincinnati clash, you have to think he'll at least give a good battle to Tsonga in this likely third-round encounter. Tsonga has more power and that should carry the day, but Verdasco has enough defense to make it very competitive. Fernando is also sporting his version of a playoff beard, which might bring him some luck.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mardy Fish
The wonderful thing about this fourth-round match is that both players play an attacking style, both built on their serve and a love for variety. This could be one of those matches filled with highlight-reel moments, and the crowd will be into it in a big way. Mardy is the form player right now, but as far as I'm concerned this is a pick 'em.