For the first time in years, an American man finally has a legitimate shot at winning a Grand Slam event.
In the case of the 2011 US Open, make that four men—Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, John Isner and Donald Young.
Each of them has a tough road from here on out, to say the least. Let's have a quick look at who each of America's great hopes will face in the Round of 16.
Mardy Fish vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Eighth-seeded Mardy Fish will take to the court on Monday against 11th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in what will be an intriguing clash of styles. Both men have powerful serves, but Tsonga tends more toward a serve-and-volley style with a heavy forehand while Fish is now more a counterpuncher with a weak forehand. Tsonga would appear to be the more talented of the two, but his impotence in big matches leaves the door open for the older, mentally tougher Fish to march into the quarterfinals.
Andy Roddick vs. David Ferrer
Fish and Andy Roddick possess a similar playing style, which likely comes as a result of the fact that the two grew up together. Roddick, the 21st-seed, will have his work cut out for him against fifth-seed David Ferrer. The Spaniard may not be the most talented or physically gifted opponent for Roddick, but his stamina and toughness figure to give Roddick fits.
That is, if Roddick doesn't finish Ferrer off with his powerful serves first. Look for Roddick to show off his recently-developed all-court style to great effect against Ferrer on the way to another big victory at the US Open.
Donald Young vs. Andy Murray
Donald Young has emerged as perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire tournament. The 22-year-old lefty, currently ranked as the No. 84 men's tennis player in the world, will face his toughest test yet against fourth-seed Andy Murray. The big Briton is one of the finest counterpunchers on the tour today as well as one of the top returners, though he has often drawn criticism for being weak and passive on the court.
If Young is to have any chance of defeating Murray, he'll have to be aggressive in coming at Murray from the outset to keep him on his heels.
John Isner vs. Gilles Simon
Last but certainly not least, we have a classic clash between brawn and brains, size and speed in Isner-Simon.
The 28th-seeded Isner is best known for his powerful serve, which comes by way of his massive 6'9" frame. Despite the awkwardness with which he moves, Isner is surprisingly fit on the court, as best demonstrated by his win over Nicolas at Wimbledon last year in the longest match in the history of professional tennis.
Simon, the 12th-seed at the US Open, may not be so obliging. His quickness and agility across the court will give Isner fits while allowing him to make full use of his arsenal of clever shots. Isner will have to overpower Simon early and often to demoralize him if he's to have any chance of moving on.
Otherwise, look for Simon to pick Isner apart, piece by piece and shot by shot.