US Open Tennis 2015: Early Predictions Post Wimbledon
The Wimbledon fortnight is in the books, the Champions have danced at the ball and now it's time to turn our sights towards the U.S. Open Series and summer hard courts.
The action at the All England Club is going to be hard to top—we had both No. 1s take away the trophies and elevate their places in history.
Serena Williams earned her second Serena Slam, while Novak Djokovic moved ahead of Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors on the list of all-time major champions in the Open era.
But what is next for the tennis universe? Keep reading for some too-early predictions for the U.S. Open.
Serena Will Get Her Calendar Slam and Tie Steffi Graf with 22 Slams
Let's get this out of the way, shall we? I'm all in for Serena's perfect season.
If she wins in New York, she will nab her 22nd Slam, which will tie Steffi Graf atop the leaderboard in the Open era; she'll also win her first Calendar Slam.
That is a remarkable amount of pressure to put on one person, but if anyone can handle it, it's Serena.
The American, who won her 21st major title and sixth Wimbledon crown during the fortnight, currently seems confident in her game, her own skin and her place in tennis history.
She is head and shoulders above the rest of the field right now, and she will prove that once again at the U.S. Open with the history-making victory.
G.O.A.T., thy name is Serena.
Marin Cilic Won't Defend His Title
The ATP got a much-needed shake-up last year at the U.S. Open when the perennially talented but underperforming Marin Cilic shocked the world and took the title, upsetting Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori along the way.
Unfortunately, the 26-year-old has had an injury-plagued year; although he did find some form at Wimbledon. He made it all the way to the quarterfinals before falling to Novak Djokovic, and he doesn't look primed for a title defense.
Cilic is only 14-10 with no titles this year. The 6'6" Croat might get another Slam at some point in his career, but it won't happen this September.
Simona Halep Will Get Back on Track
I still believe in you, Simona Halep.
Last year's breakout star, who made it to the final of the French Open and the semis of Wimbledon, has struggled so far in the 2015 majors. She fell in the quarters of the Australian Open, the second round of the French and the first round of Wimbledon.
After her Wimbledon loss, Halep said that she was lacking self-confidence.
"My confidence wasn't too high," she said, as reported by Kamakshi Tandon of Tennis.com. "So I knew that during the matches it's difficult because you feel the pressure."
However, Halep had a great run of form during the first part of the U.S. hard-court season, back during Indian Wells and Miami, so I think the States will be good to her again. She's too talented to languish for much longer—look for her to at least make the semis.
Ryan Harrison Will Make at Least the Third Round
Remember Ryan Harrison? Maybe?
Well, Harrison is a 23-year-old American tennis player who has already been considered the next big thing in American tennis and the latest big disappointment in American tennis.
Now, he's pretty much only the forgotten man. But after years of struggles and injuries, Harrison seems to be back on the right track. Most importantly, he's in a good frame of mind.
His ranking is up to No. 127 in the world, and he's stringing together wins at lower-level events. The next step is back into the spotlight of the U.S. hard courts.
"I'm getting better," Harrison told Greg Couch of VICE Sports. "Going into my 20-year old season, I wasn't ready for it. Now, put me in a situation; I'll be ready.''
I'm taking Harrison at his word. Look for him to make a run during the first week of the U.S. Open that will remind us why we all believed in his talent the first place.
CoCo Vandeweghe Will Build on Her Wimbledon Success
Speaking of talented 23-year-old Americans, don't take your eyes off of CoCo Vandeweghe this summer.
She had her breakout tournament at Wimbledon, making it to the quarterfinals with upsets over No. 11 Karolina Pliskova, No. 22 Sam Stosur and No. 6 Lucie Safarova before falling to No. 4 Maria Sharapova.
Now, she's up to No. 32 in the world, which means she should be seeded for the U.S. Open. And considering the hard courts suit her game to a tee, don't be surprised to see her make a run in New York as well.
I'm predicting we'll see her in the quarterfinals once again.
We Will Finally Get a Fedal Battle at the U.S. Open
There aren't many things that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal haven't done both separately and together, but one of those things is that they haven't ever faced each other at the U.S. Open.
That's right, somehow these two legends have always missed each other in New York, despite playing each other 33 times. I predict that will change this year.
Federer will likely still be ranked No. 2 heading into New York, and depending on the points that Nadal can pick up during the Masters Series events this summer, he'll likely be in the No. 6 to No. 10 range.
That means they could meet as early as the quarterfinals, which would give both of them less of a chance of losing early.
So I'm going out on a limb and making a deal with the draw gods: We will finally get our Fedal match at the U.S. Open, and it will be glorious.
Garbine Muguruza Will Lose Early
Look, I'm a big fan of Garbine Muguruza's game and personality, and I think that she's as sure of a bet for the future of women's tennis as there is right now.
The 21-year-old showcased her wide range of abilities in her run to the Wimbledon final, and her attitude was great—she clearly went into that final against Serena Williams believing she could win.
But a Grand Slam breakthrough can take a lot out of a player, which is why I think that Muguruza will come temporarily back down to earth in New York.
She'll be a top-10 seed at a major for the first time, and all eyes will be on her. And unfortunately, they'll see her lose in the first two rounds.
Don't fear, though. The Spaniard will be back and ready to be a champion in 2016.
Andy Murray Will Win
Did you think I was going to predict Novak Djokovic to win it all? Well, that would probably be a safer bet. But instead, I'm going with Andy Murray.
The Brit has been playing so well this year that it's just hard to see him walking away from 2015 without a Slam. It took a vintage Roger Federer performance to knock him out at Wimbledon, and I really do think it will take something at least that special again in New York.
Murray loves the U.S. Open—it's where he made his first major final back in 2007. It's also where he won his first major in 2012—so I think it's also where he's going to get his career fully back on track here in 2015.
He'll have to take out Djokovic in either the semis or the final, and that's just what he'll do. Murray will win it all.