US Open Tennis 2011: Predictions for the Men's First Round

Luis HerreraAnalyst IAugust 28, 2011

Juan Martín del Potro, the dark horse of this US Open.
Juan Martín del Potro, the dark horse of this US Open.

Hurricane Irene is gone and we’ll get to see the start of the US Open this Monday as scheduled.

With all eyes looking at Novak Djokovic’s impressive 2011 and wondering if Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Andy Murray will be able to stop him, there are other 124 players in competition who will go for the upset starting tomorrow.

Let’s take a look at the first round and make some predictions:


Seeded players who will win easily

(1)Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs (q)Conor Niland (IRL)

(2)Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Andrey Golubev (KAZ)

(3)Roger Federer (SUI) vs Santiago Giraldo (COL)

(4)Andy Murray (GBR) vs Somdev Devvarman (IND)

(6)Robin Soderling (SWE) vs (q)Louk Sorensen (IRL)

(7)Gael Monfils (FRA) vs Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)

(8)Mardy Fish (USA) vs Tobias Kamke (GER)

(9)Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs (q)Romain Jouan (FRA)

(11)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE)

(12)Gilles Simon (FRA) vs Ricardo Mello (BRA)

(13)Richard Gasquet (FRA) vs Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)

(14)Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) vs Maximo Gonzalez (ARG)

(17)Jurgen Melzer (AUT) vs Eric Prodon (FRA)

(18)Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) vs Filippo Volandri (ITA)

(20)Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) vs (q)Augustin Gensse (FRA)

(22)Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) vs Frederico Gil (POR)

(25)Feliciano Lopez (ESP) vs Tatsuma Ito (JPN)

(27)Marin Cilic (CRO) vs (WC)Ryan Harrison (USA)

WHY: Little room for surprises in these matches; the seeded players are clearly superior than their opponents, so you better avoid betting against them.


Seeded players who could go to five sets, but win

(5)David Ferrer (ESP) vs Igor Andreev (RUS)

(10)Nicolas Almagro (ESP) vs (WC)Julien Benneteau (FRA)

(15)Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs Alejandro Falla (COL)

(19)Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)

(21)Andy Roddick (USA) vs Michael Russell (USA)

(23)Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)

(24)Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) vs (WC)Marinko Matosevic (AUS)

(26)Florian Mayer (GER) vs Adrian Mannarino (FRA)

(28)John Isner (USA) vs Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)

(29)Michael Llodra (FRA) vs Victor Hanescu (ROU)

(30)Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) vs Blaz Kavcic (SLO)

WHY: Spaniards like Ferrer, Almagro and Verdasco are better on clay, plus they got tough veteran opponents; Roddick is on a clear decline and Isner got one of worst rivals a seeded player could face in this round.


Seeded players who will lose in the first round

(16)Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) vs Ernests Gulbis (LAT)

(31)Marcel Granollers (ESP) vs Xavier Malisse (BEL)

(32)Ivan Dodig (CRO) vs Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)

WHY: Despite what the rankings say, the “underdogs” are more talented than the seeded players.


Favorite to win the US Open

Novak Djokovic: Do I really need to explain?


Sleeper pick to win the US Open

Juan Martín del Potro: Already a champion in this tournament and has a relatively comfortable path to the quartefinals (Robin Soderling and Gilles Simon are his biggest obstacles) round in which he would face Andy Murray, the less dangerous opponent of the top 4; once in the semifinals, everything could happen.


Top 10 player who will get eliminated earlier

Robin Soderling: He would face John Isner or Marcos Baghdatis in the third round and Juan Martín del Potro in the fourth; I don’t see him surviving longer.


Come back for more predictions after the end of the first round.


Follow me on Twitter: @luisrha