Roger Federer advanced to the third round of the US Open today with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Dudi Sela. That was hardly unexpected, as Federer has yet to drop a set in New York. Despite that, his second-round performance was far smoother than his first.
So whom should Federer want to play in the third round? He'll be favored either way, but is the better match No. 27 Marin Cilic or Bernard Tomic?
Despite the rankings, Tomic is more of a threat.
Cilic has had a very average Grand Slam history since making it to the quarterfinals of the 2010 Australian Open. The best he's done since then is a fourth-round knockout at the 2010 French Open and again at the 2011 Australian Open. Other than that, he's hasn't made it out of the second round since that semifinal performance.
With a 0-2 record against Federer, the odds of an upset just don't seem great.
They aren't great with Tomic either, but they are a little better.
Both men won their opening match in straight sets. Cilic beat Ryan Harrison 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6). Tomic was a little more dominant, beating Michael Yani 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
While Cilic is young and doesn't have much of a Grand Slam history, Tomic has even less of one. Still, Tomic's most recent Grand Slam memory is a good one. He made a run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 5-7.
While Robin Soderling is not on Federer's level, Tomic did beat him as part of that Wimbledon run. No, he's not Roger Federer, but a straight set domination of the No. 5 player in the world is nothing to sneeze at—especially when that No. 5-ranked player reached the quarterfinals at previous year's tournament.
Tomic is more of an unknown to Federer, which is always scary. The all-time Grand Slam champion also said in this interview with the Sun that he was impressed with Tomic.
Again, Federer isn't likely to lose to either man. But Tomic is more of a question mark.
He's the youngest player in the top 100 in the world. Young players are a wild card. Are they going to come out brash and threaten the top players when they play them? Or will they be more likely to cower when looking across the court at one of the best of all time?
Tomic doesn't seem like the cowering type. That's not to say that Cilic does, but he's more of a known quantity for Federer.
So who's the greater threat? It's tough since Federer should win both, but Tomic is the better threat. Federer would be well suited to pull for Cilic.