US Open Tennis: 5 Things to Watch for on Day 7

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIISeptember 4, 2011

US Open Tennis: 5 Things to Watch for on Day 7

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    Day 7 of the US Open marks the first day where 32 or less participants remain for each gender's singles championship.

    On Sunday, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Sam Stosur and Andy Roddick are some of the notable names to take the court. Just like yesterday, many players who could contend for any title will go down. All of the men's matches will be for a spot in the final 16, while the women will be competing for a quarterfinal spot.

    In order to advance, players will need to be at their best, as almost every player left in the tournament knows what it's like to win at the pro level.

    Here's a look at five of the biggest moments set to commence on Sunday at the Open.

1. Can Andy Murray Recover from a Shaky Second-Round Perfomance?

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    No top-five player wants to be pushed to five sets in the second round. Andy Murray had to do just that, and he had to win the final three in order to stay alive in the US Open.

    With that match behind him, Murray looks to come up with a stronger performance in the third round. His opponent, Feliciano Lopez, is one he beat in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in straight sets. Murray is 5-0 against Lopez, having only surrendered one set to the Spaniard.

    If Murray is serious about winning the US Open, he'd better make quick work of Lopez. Back-to-back marathons will not bode well for a player looking to come into the second week with fresh legs.

    My Prediction: Murray wins in straight sets, looking poised to make a run (although he won't).

2. Is Sabine Lisicki Ready to Break Through?

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    Sabine Lisicki is a confident player. I'm a firm believer in what Lisicki is capable of on the tennis court.

    Lisicki's only roadblock before the quarterfinals is none other than No. 2 seed Vera Zvonareva. The two have played three times in the last year, with Zvonareva taking all three contests. Zvonareva was the player to oust Lisicki from last year's US Open in the second round.

    However, this is Lisicki's time. She has made major strides since last season, and has been mere points away from the upset in the last two matchups. Watch out for Lisicki, who is one of my favorites to come out of the bottom half of the draw.

    My Prediction: Sabine finally gets the job done, upsetting Zvonareva in three sets.

3. Who Wins the Battle of the Wolverine Look-Alikes?

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    If you don't believe the fact that both players have a slight resemblance to Hugh Jackman's rendition of Wolverine, go look at this.

    If you still don't believe me, maybe I'm crazy.

    However, it's not crazy to think that this will be an epic match. Both of these players have been in the top 10 for a significant time, and each individual's talent is undeniable.

    Juan Martin del Potro is 2-1 against Gilles Simon, and del Potro won the their most recent battle at Wimbledon. All three sets were close and del Potro was forced to win two in tiebreaks. These two also met in the 2008 US Open, a five-set matchup in which del Potro again triumphed.

    This is another match you shouldn't skip by. Watch if you have the opportunity.

    My Prediction: Juan Martin escapes with a narrow, five-set victory.

4. Can John Isner and Donald Young Keep It Up?

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    John Isner and Donald Young are two young Americans that have made their mark on the 2011 US Open.

    Isner and Young are at different points of their respective careers. Isner has done his fair share of winning in the ATP, whereas Young has struggled to pick up Ws on the professional tour. While Isner has moved through his first two matches with relative ease, Young has really had to battle.

    Yes, Isner has the benefit of the seeding, but he's simply a stronger player at this point. Isner's next opponent is Alex Bogomolov Jr., who he's 3-0 against, including a non-tour level win.

    Young is set to face Juan Ignacio Chela, a player that's 10 years his elder. Young will need to be sprightly in this match, moving Chela all around the court to make him show his age.

    My Prediction: Both Young and Isner come through on Sunday, and along with Roddick, give the US some players to root for in the second week.

5. Can Flavia Pennetta Follow Up Her Upset of Maria Sharapova?

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    Flavia Pennetta is coming off an upset over Maria Sharapova, but is she ready to beat someone that's not going to hit herself off the court?

    Pennetta's next opponent is Shuai Peng, a Chinese player that only committed 19 unforced errors in a win over No. 19 Julia Goerges. Pennetta isn't exactly an elite player on tour, and she isn't young either. Pennetta is 31 years old, on the downside of her career.

    However, Pennetta still has the will to win, but does she have a deep run at a slam left in the tank?

    My Prediction: Peng sends Pennetta home in two decisive sets.