The U.S. Open often features more drama than the other Grand Slam events, and this year's version can be more of the same.
In a sport that has been dominated by three men for more than a decade, the U.S. Open features some surprising parity. The last seven years has produced six different champions, including the only major titles for Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic.
Despite the surprises, the fans still want to see continued excellence from the world's biggest names. The question is which will come through with a strong performance over the next couple of weeks.
|U.S. Open TV Coverage|
|Aug. 31||1-6 p.m.||First Round||ESPN|
|6-11 p.m.||First Round||ESPN2|
|Sept. 1||1-11 p.m.||First Round||ESPN|
|Sept. 2||1-6 p.m.||Second Round||ESPN|
|6-11 p.m.||Second Round||ESPN2|
|Sept. 3||1-5 p.m.||Second Round||ESPN|
|5-11 p.m.||Second Round||ESPN2|
|Sept. 4||1-6 p.m.||Third Round||ESPN|
|6-11 p.m.||Third Round||ESPN2|
|Sept. 5||11 a.m. - 11 p.m.||Third Round||ESPN2|
|Sept. 6||11 a.m. - 11 p.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Sept. 7||11 a.m. - 11 p.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Sept. 8||12-11 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN|
|Sept. 9||11 a.m. - 6 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN|
|Sept. 10||7-11 p.m.||Women's Semifinals||ESPN|
|Sept. 11||3-11 p.m.||Men's Semifinals||ESPN|
|Sept. 12||3-6 p.m.||Women's Finals||ESPN|
|Sept. 13||4-7 p.m.||Men's Finals||ESPN|
This year hasn't been great for Rafael Nadal, and it is unlikely to get much better at the U.S. Open. He continues to slip in the rankings and hasn't advanced past the quarterfinals in any Grand Slam this season. This includes just his second career loss at Roland Garros.
While the Spanish star has had some of his usual success on clay courts this year, he hasn't fared quite as well on hard courts. After losing to Feliciano Lopez in Cincinnati, he is just 11-6 on this surface. The recent quarterfinals loss matched his best showing of the season.
To make matters worse, Josh Meiseles of ATPWorldTour.com noted that his losses haven't exactly been against players on hot streaks:
Nadal obviously still has plenty of talent, but a tough field could lead to an early exit for the former champion.
Prediction: 2nd Round Loss
As good as Andy Murray has been over the years, he has struggled mightily against the top players in the world. BBC Sport noted the surprise from his recent win over Novak Djokovic in Montreal:
Things haven't been much better against Roger Federer, with the Swiss veteran winning all five matches between the two over the past two seasons. This makes dropping to No. 3 in the rankings a big deal, because now Murray will likely have to face one of these two before the finals.
On the plus side, few others in the field present serious challenges in early rounds. While we aren't too far removed from the upset loss to Teymuraz Gabashvili, only three of Murray's nine losses this year have come against players ranked outside of the top two in the world.
As long as he performs to his ability, Murray should be able to at least reach the semifinals before falling to one of the top seeds in the draw.
There is no denying the fact Djokovic is the most consistent performer on tour. He has reached at least the semifinals in 20 of his last 21 Grand Slams, winning eight titles in this stretch.
This has continued throughout the 2015 season as well with at least a final appearance in each of the past 10 tournaments he has entered. You know what you are going to get when he steps on the court, and he very rarely loses to a lesser opponent.
No matter what happens with the draw, you can expect Djokovic to cruise through the early rounds with little trouble.
The only doubt will be whether someone can eventually beat him. In most cases, it takes an elite player performing at his best to pull off an upset over the current No. 1 player in the world. There aren't many who can do it, but one person has what it takes to leave the 28-year-old performer with a late loss.
Although he hasn't won this tournament since 2008, Federer has what it takes to finish on top once again.
The 17-time major champion is coming off of a win at the Western and Southern Open, marking his fifth title of the year and third on hard courts. The final match was an impressive one, a straight-set victory over Djokovic where he faced zero break points.
Federer discussed his positive takeaways from the tournament, per ATPWorldTour.com:
Now I've got the confidence, I've got the matches, and I'm actually still feeling really fresh even after this week, because the matches have been rather short. I think I moved well. I was explosive moving forward. Volleys were good. I think from the baseline I was hitting my forehand very well.
The strong play and the positive mindset should help the new No. 2 player in the world navigate the difficult bracket to the finals. From there he can keep the momentum against Djokovic and bring home another trophy.
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