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Roger Federer: Why Success Against Monaco Means Nothing for US Open Title Hopes

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 03:  Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after defeating Marin Cilic of Croatia during Day Six of the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 3, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Joseph HealyCorrespondent ISeptember 6, 2011

Excitement at the US Open is building as we move ever closer to the final weekend of the tournament where the champion is crowned. Excitement is particularly high for fans of Roger Federer, as they root for their fallen star to prove to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal that he is still the class of the ATP Tour.

Federer has looked good so far in the tournament, but he has yet to give tennis fans a definitive sign that he is the player to beat.

Federer may very well beat Juan Monaco handily in his round of 16 match Monday night, but it won't mean anything as far as his chances to come out of the whole tournament victorious.

I certainly don't want to downplay Monaco's skill or slander him in any way, but he is not the type of opponent that will be able to test a top player like Federer.

Ranked 36th in the world, Monaco is no slouch, but he has had a tough year. His rankings over the last few months are the lowest they have been in over two years, and he failed to get out of the first round in either of his last two Grand Slam appearances.

Before you say that neither Djokovic nor Nadal has faced top-level competition, consider the heights that two of their opponents had reached.

In the third round, Djokovic took on Nikolay Davydenko. Davydenko has had a tough year as well, but less than a year ago, he was ranked No. 11 in the world. Go a little further back and he was ranked No. 6. He may not be at that level now, but that's what he is capable of on his best day.

Nadal had a similar match with David Nalbandian. Earlier this season, he was ranked No. 19 in the world, and at one point of his career, he was ranked No. 3 in the world.

Both of those players have more high-end talent than Monaco.

Federer may very well be poised to win this entire tournament. He still has the drive and fire, and there's no reason to believe that his talent has slipped all that much. Just don't think that a huge win over Juan Monaco is reason to believe that he is destined to win it all.

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