The 2011 US Open is under way, as aces are being served at Flushing Meadows in New York. Many first-round results are in, although there are no major upsets to report at this point in the men's draw.
Here are my predictions for the eight quarter-finalists:
Roger Federer vs Mardy Fish
Andy Murray vs Gilles Simon
I don't think tennis fans will find these predictions to be "out on a limb," as they jive with popular opinion and, for the most part, betting odds.
My opinions are certainly heavily influenced by the fact that Djovovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal have all made the quarterfinals of each of the Grand Slams so far this year. This isn't a season that is filled with early round upsets to big stars and the top four players can all be booked through to the quarters, in my opinion.
With Gael Monfils, there is not one single player in his draw to the quarters that I have too much confidence in. The French player actually has a tough opening round match against Grigor Dimitrov.
However, Tomas Berdych, a player in Monfils' section, has not been the most consistent player this year and Janko Tipsarevic, despite playing well this season, has never won a fourth round match in any Grand Slam. That makes Monfils my pick by default. He displayed some strong tennis in the recent Masters events.
Simon is my pick to make the quarters in a section that includes Robin Soderling, John Isner and Juan Martin Del Potro. Soderling has missed some time on tour lately and what exactly is to be expected from the Swede is not clear. However, even at his best he doesn't turn in premium results in the hard court Slams.
In fourteen majors in Flushing Meadows and Melbourne Park combined, Soderling has just two quarterfinal appearances.
Del Potro, making his return to Flushing Meadows, didn't do well enough in the hard court Masters events to garner my support. He's the best talent in that section of the draw, but he's not playing well enough right now to go through to the quarters.
Isner is playing well, but if he wanted to be fresh for the US Open he shouldn't have played in Winston-Salem last week. Look for this big man to run out of gas before the fourth round.
I think Roddick has a very comfortable draw to the quarters and he could upset Nadal once there, a chance for the American to re-ignite his career.
After the quarters, I think it goes like this:
Novak Djokovic vs Mardy Fish
Andy Murray vs Andy Roddick
Mardy Fish vs Andy Murray
Champion: Andy Murray