Rafael Nadal (1) def. Teymuraz Gabashvili
The No. 1 player in the world opens his quest for a first U.S. Open title against a man he beat twice in straight sets last year.
Denis Istomin def. Maximo Gonzalez
Istomin is 22-19 this year, while Gonzalez is just 2-4.
Gilles Simon def. Donald Young
In their only two career meetings, which both took place in '08, Simon defeated Young in straight sets both times, but that was when the American was just a teenager, so I expect a closer match this time.
Philipp Kohlschreiber (29) def. Tobias Kamke
Kohlschreiber has won almost as many career titles (two) as his fellow German has won career matches on Tour (three).
Feliciano Lopez (23) def. Santiago Giraldo
Their only career meeting came on the hard courts of Vienna in '08, a match Lopez won in straight sets.
Qualifier def. Rainer Schuettler
Schuettler has made a first-round exit at his last four U.S. Opens, so I'll give the edge to the qualifier.
Sergiy Stakhovsky def. Peter Luczak
Neither of these men have had much success in Grand Slams, but Stakhovsky has two career titles on hard courts, while Luczak's lifetime record on the surface is well below .500.
Qualifier def. Ivan Ljubicic (15)
Ljubicic started the year off well with a hard-court title at Indian Wells in March, but he's lost six of his last seven matches, including a first-round exit at Wimbledon, and hasn't won a match at the U.S. Open since '07. I like the qualifier to pull off the upset.
David Ferrer (10) def. Alexandr Dolgopolov
Ferrer just took down Dolgopolov in Cincinnati, but the match went three sets, so expect another close one here.
Daniel Brands def. Benjamin Becker
Becker hasn't won here since his rookie run to the fourth round in '06. Brands' breakout Grand Slam came at this year's Wimbledon, when he reached the Round of 16. Due to that momentum, I'll take Brands despite the fact that he hasn't played a hard court match since March.
Jarkko Nieminen def. Daniel Gimeno-Traver
Nieminen reached the quarters here in '05, while Gimeno-Traver lost his U.S. Open debut last year.
Ernests Gulbis (24) def. Jeremy Chardy
Gulbis beat Chardy on clay this year and on hard courts last year. He didn't drop a set in either match.
David Nalbandian (31) def. Qualifier
Nalbandian has won six straight opening round matches here, so I don't see him falling to the qualifier.
Florent Serra def. Florian Mayer
These guys don't have a ton of recent history against each other, but Serra has won both career meetings, including a first-round matchup at the Australian Open in '08, which he took in straight sets.
Qualifier def. Pere Riba
Being that this is Riba's first U.S. Open, I'll give the advantage to the qualifier, who has at least played a few matches here this past week.
Fabio Fognini def. Fernando Verdasco (8)
This is not a good first-round draw for Verdasco, who just lost to Fognini in four sets at this year's Wimbledon. The Italian also recently scored an upset victory over No. 29 Radek Stepanek on the hard courts of Toronto this month. Verdasco, who reached the quarters here in '09, is 7-0 in opening matches at the U.S. Open, but he had also won six straight first-rounders at the All England Club before running into Fognini.
Andy Murray (4) def. Lukas Lacko
The Rogers Cup champion has won 10 consecutive first-round matches at Grand Slams.
Dustin Brown def. Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo
Brown is 2-1 in his career on hard courts, while Ramirez-Hidalgo is 4-20.
Yen-Hsun Lu def. Juan Ignacio Chela
Lu followed up his improbable run to the Wimbledon quarters with a Round of 16 finish at the ATP World Tour Masters in Toronto.
Stanislas Wawrinka (25) def. Mikhail Kukushkin
Kukushkin is a Grand Slam rookie, while Wawrinka has reached the fourth round at a major five times, including twice here.
Sam Querrey (20) def. Bradley Klahn
Querrey, who has won four titles this year, including two on hard courts, should have no problem with his fellow American, who is ranked 597th in the world and needed a wild card to play this tournament.
Andreas Seppi def. Marcel Granollers
Seppi ousted Granollers in straight sets on the clay of Bastad this year, which doesn't bode well for the Spaniard, who has a better career mark on clay than on hard courts.
Lukasz Kubot def. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
Kubot has reached at least the third round in both of his career hard court majors.
Nicolas Almagro (14) def. Potito Starace
Almagro has won his last four meetings with Starace, including their only matchup on hard courts at the '07 ATP Masters Series in Miami.
Mikhail Youzhny (12) def. Andrey Golubev
Youzhny is 2-0 vs. Golubev with both matches coming on hard courts over the past two years.
Dudi Sela def. Xavier Malisse
Seli defeated Malisse on the hard courts of Los Angeles this year.
Marco Chiudinelli def. Jack Sock
I'm tempted to pick Sock because he has the best name in the tournament, but he's also a 17-year-old wild card ranked 651st in the world matched up against a guy who has reached the third round both times he's played this event.
Frederico Gil def. John Isner (18)
Isner has been playing so well this year, but he suffered ankle ligament damage at Cincinnati earlier this month, so even if he does play, his chances of winning are slim, despite the fact that he's going up against a guy that is 0-8 in majors.
Radek Stepanek (28) def. Julien Benneteau
Stepanek went 2-7 after his finals appearance at Brisbane in January, but made a nice run at the recent Pilot Pen event in New Haven. He is 2-0 on hard courts against Benneteau.
Tommy Robredo def. Qualifier
It's unusual to see Robredo unseeded. It's more unusual to see Robredo making first-round exits at each of this year's first three majors. He appeared to be playing better at the Pilot Pen, so I think he can at least get past the qualifier.
Victor Hanescu def. Carlos Berlocq
Berlocq is 1-9 at Grand Slams, while Hanescu is 25-25. Neither has had much success at the U.S. Open, but the Romanian is the better hard-court player.
Tomas Berdych (7) def. Michael Llodra
This is another tough draw for a top-eight seed. Llodra defeated Berdych the last time they played, in five sets at the '08 French Open, and the Frenchman has won two titles this year, including one on hard courts. But Berdych won his other three lifetime meetings with Llodra and is coming off a semifinal appearance at Roland Garros and a runner-up finish at Wimbledon.
Nikolay Davydenko (6) def. Michael Russell
Davydenko has reached at least the fourth round here the past four years. Russell has never made it out of the first round in five tries.
Simon Greul def. Richard Gasquet
Greul slipped by Gasquet in two long tiebreakers at Indian Wells this year. This should be a good match.
Somdev Devvarman def. Kevin Anderson
Anderson is 0-6 in majors, while Devvarman is 1-2, with that win coming at last year's U.S. Open. Seems reason enough to pick him.
Thomaz Bellucci def. Tim Smyczek
Bellucci is 2-0 in first-round matches at the U.S. Open, while the American wild card is making his Grand Slam debut.
Gael Monfils (17) def. Qualifier
Monfils is coming off back-to-back fourth-round finishes here and hasn't lost a first-round match at a major in more than four years.
Horacio Zeballos def. Igor Andreev
This could be the least interesting matchup of the first round. At least Zeballos has been playing some hard court tournaments recently.
Olivier Rochus def. Janko Tipsarevic
Rochus is 4-1 vs. Tipsarevic on Tour, winning their last three meetings and all three matches on hard courts.
Andy Roddick (9) def. Stephane Robert
Robert is playing in his first U.S. Open, while Roddick has reached at least the third round at his last eight Grand Slams.
Marcos Baghdatis (16) def. Arnaud Clement
Baghdatis has won the last four meetings with Clement, including three on hard courts over the past three years in which Baghdatis has not dropped a set.
Robby Ginepri def. Eduardo Schwank
Ginepri is 2-0 vs. Schwank with wins at Indianapolis last year and in a Madrid qualifier in '08.
Qualifier def. Pablo Cuevas
Cuevas hasn't played a match on hard courts since March and is 3-4 on the surface this year, so I'll give the edge to the qualifier.
Mardy Fish (19) def. Jan Hajek
Fish is on a tear this season, winning two tournaments and rising to 21st in the world.
Juan Monaco (30) def. Qualifier
Other than a fourth-round finish at the '07 U.S. Open, Monaco has been completely shut out here, but he's 7-5 on hard courts this season, so he should be able to get past the qualifier.
James Blake def. Kristof Vliegen
This is a matchup between two players on the downside of their careers. At their peaks in '06, they met twice on hard courts with Vliegen winning both times. But he has fallen even further since (to 321st in the world) and is 0-4 here, so I'll pick Blake, who has reached at least the third round at Flushing Meadows the past seven years.
Philipp Petzschner def. Qualifier
Petzschner's 8-9 record in Grand Slams is pretty good for someone ranked 51st in the world. He's 2-0 in first-round matches here.
Novak Djokovic (3) def. Viktor Troicki
Djokovic is 4-0 vs. Troicki since the start of last year.
Robin Soderling (5) def. Qualifier
Soderling has reached the quarters at four the last six Grand slams, including the '09 U.S. Open.
Taylor Dent def. Alejandro Falla
Dent has won his last four first-round matches in majors.
Thiemo de Bakker def. Qualifier
This is de Bakker's first U.S. Open, but he reached the third round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year.
Fernando Gonzalez (27) def. Qualifier
Gonzalez has won 10 straight opening matches at majors.
Albert Montanes (21) def. Michal Przysiezny
Montanes dropped six consecutive first-round matches at the Australian Open before finally breaking through to the third round this year. He's lost four in a row here as well, but I think it's finally time for him to snap that streak against an opponent who is 1-9 this year.
Qualifier def. Carsten Ball
Seven of the 16 qualifiers are in the bottom quarter of the draw. The inexperienced Ball should fall victim to one of them right here.
Qualifier def. Evgeny Korolev
Korolev hasn't played on hard courts since March, so he may be a little rusty compared to the qualifier.
Marin Cilic (11) def. Illya Marchenko
Marchenko is playing in his first U.S. Open, while Cilic reached the quarterfinals in '09, a year after making the third round in his debut here.
Jurgen Melzer (13) def. Dmitry Tursunov
Tursunov is 2-0 vs. Melzer, but those wins came back when the Russian wasn't ranked 482nd in the world.
Qualifier def. Ryan Sweeting
Sweeting has lost six straight Grand Slam matches, including four here.
Ricardo Mello def. Bjorn Phau
Neither of these men have won a Grand slam match in four years, but Mello used to have a little better success than Phau at this event.
Juan Carlos Ferrero (22) def. Qualifier
Ferrero reached the Round of 16 in '09.
Lleyton Hewitt (32) def. Paul-Henri Mathieu
Hewitt is 3-0 against Mathieu, and those wins came when the Frenchman was ranked much higher than 107th in the world.
Leonardo Mayer def. Guillaume Rufin
Mayer is 5-6 at majors, while Rufin is 1-2.
Andreas Beck def. Michael Berrer
The only time these Germans have met was at a Futures event back in '04. Beck won in straight sets, and I expect him to do the same based on his better record at the U.S. Open.
Roger Federer (2) def. Brian Dabul
Federer's finals and semifinals streaks at majors have been snapped over the past few years, but he's still won 29 consecutive first-round matches at Grand Slams.
Rafael Nadal (1) def. Denis Istomin
This is actually a tough matchup for Nadal. Istomin took him to three sets before finally falling at Queen's Club earlier this year, but it's hard to imagine the French Open and Wimbledon champion losing in the second round of a major, something he hasn't done in over five years.
Gilles Simon def. Philipp Kohlschreiber (29)
Simon has won their last two meetings on hard courts, both in straight sets.
Feliciano Lopez (23) def. Qualifier
Lopez doesn't have the greatest history here, but he did reach the fourth round in '07.
Sergiy Stakhovsky def. Qualifier
If Ljubicic does go down in the first round, Stakhovsky has a shot to reach the third round at a major for the first time.
David Ferrer (10) def. Daniel Brands
Ferrer has advanced to the third round at 17 of the past 20 majors.
Ernests Gulbis (24) def. Jarkko Nieminen
Gulbis is 2-0 vs. Nieminen, with both matches being played on hard courts.
David Nalbandian (31) def. Florent Serra
Nalbandian has reached the third round here the last two years, while Serra has never advanced that far at this event.
Fabio Fognini def. Qualifier
Fognini is looking to advance to the third round at his third straight major.
Andy Murray (4) def. Dustin Brown
Murray has won three times as many titles in his career than Brown has won matches.
Stanislas Wawrinka (25) def. Yen-Hsun Lu
Wawrinka is 10-5 at the U.S. Open, while Lu is just 1-3.
Sam Querrey (20) def. Andreas Seppi
Seppi beat Querrey twice last year, but both of those matches went to three sets and were played on clay. The American is the far better hard-court player.
Nicolas Almagro (14) def. Lukasz Kubot
Almagro has beaten Kubot both times they've played this year.
Dudi Sela def. Mikhail Youzhny (12)
Youzhny defeated Sela in a tight four-setter at Wimbledon this summer, but the Israeli won their only hard-court meeting, a best three-out-of-five match last year.
Marco Chiudinelli def. Frederico Gil
Chiudinelli has reached the third round both times he's played here, while Gil has never won a Grand Slam match.
Radek Stepanek (28) def. Tommy Robredo
Robredo is 5-2 against Stepanek, but the Czech has won the last two meetings rather easily.
Tomas Berdych (7) def. Victor Hanescu
Berdych beat Hanescu in their only meeting and is looking to make the third round here for the sixth time, while the Romanian has never gotten that far here.
Nikolay Davydenko (6) def. Simon Greul
Davydenko is 2-0 vs. Greul, bageling him in a set twice.
Thomaz Bellucci (26) def. Somdev Devvarman
Bellucci is having a breakout year that includes a fourth-round finish at Roland Garros and a third-round appearance at Wimbledon.
Gael Monfils (17) def. Horacio Zeballos
Monfils has reached the fourth round each of the past two years here.
Andy Roddick (9) def. Olivier Rochus
Roddick is 3-0 against Rochus.
Marcos Baghdatis (16) def. Robby Ginepri
Ginepri defeated Baghdatis in straight sets in their only meeting, but that came two years ago when Baghdatis was ranked below 100 and the American was in the top 60. They've gone in opposite directions since then, with Baghdatis recently upsetting Cilic, Berdych, and Nadal in Cincinnati.
Mardy Fish (19) def. Qualifier
Fish recently shed about 30 pounds, and he should be able to shed the qualifier.
James Blake def. Juan Monaco (30)
Blake is 2-0 vs. Monaco, including a straight sets win at the '06 U.S. Open. While the American has dropped 95 spots in the rankings since then, his superior record at this event leads me to believe he will advance to the third round.
Novak Djokovic (3) def. Philipp Petzschner
Djokovic has reached the semis three straight years here.
Robin Soderling (5) def. Taylor Dent
Soderling embarrassed Dent, 6-0, 6-1, 6-1, in the second round of this year's French Open, and the Swede is certainly capable of winning here, too, as he reached the quarters last year.
Fernando Gonzalez (27) def. Thiemo de Bakker
Gonzalez is a defending quarterfinalist. De Bakker is a U.S. Open rookie.
Qualifier def. Albert Montanes (21)
Montanes is 1-8 at the U.S. Open.
Marin Cilic def. Qualifier
Cilic has five straight third-round appearances at hard-court majors.
Jurgen Melzer (13) def. Qualifier
Melzer is on quite a run this summer, reaching the semis at Roland Garros and the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Juan Carlos Ferrero (22) def. Ricardo Mello
Ferrero defeated Mello twice on clay this year and he's clearly the more accomplished hard-court player.
Lleyton Hewitt (32) def. Leonardo Mayer
Hewitt has reached the third round at the last six majors.
Roger Federer (2) def. Andreas Beck
Beck has never sniffed the third round of a major, so I don't think he stands much of a chance here.
Rafael Nadal (1) def. Gilles Simon
Nadal is 3-1 vs. Simon, including a straight sets win at last year's Australian Open.
Feliciano Lopez (23) def. Sergiy Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky has never reached a Grand Slam fourth round, while Lopez has been there five times.
David Ferrer (10) def. Ernests Gulbis (24)
Ferrer crushed Gulbis, 6-2, 6-1, in their only meeting, a hard-court event in Canada three years ago, and the Spaniard is having the better season.
David Nalbandian (31) def. Fabio Fognini
Fognini's run ends here. He lost to Nalbandian in their only meeting back in '08.
Andy Murray (4) def. Stanislas Wawrinka (25)
Murray is 5-3 overall and 4-1 on hard courts vs. Wawrinka, including a rather easy straight sets win at the U.S. Open two years ago.
Sam Querrey (20) def. Nicolas Almagro (14)
Querrey defeated Almagro, 6-3, 6-2, on the hard courts of Auckland last year, and he'll have the homefield advantage in this one.
Marco Chiudinelli def. Dudi Sela
Chiudinelli snuck past Sela in three sets on the hard courts of Tokyo last year.
Tomas Berdych (7) def. Radek Stepanek (28)
While Stepanek missed the past two majors, Berdych was busy playing in a semifinal and a championship match.
Nikolay Davydenko (6) def. Thomaz Bellucci (26)
Davydenko excels at hard-court majors. He's reached the fourth round at the last eight he's played.
Andy Roddick (9) def. Gael Monfils (17)
Monfils leads the all-time series, 4-3, but Roddick won both meetings on hard courts last year.
Marcos Baghdatis (16) def. Mardy Fish (19)
This figures to be the best match of the first week. Both of these players are red-hot, but Baghdatis holds a 3-0 record vs. Fish, albeit in three very tight hard-court matches played in Australia over the past two years.
Novak Djokovic (3) def. James Blake
Djokovic beat Blake in straight sets at the Beijing Olympics, and it's been all downhill from there for Blake.
Robin Soderling (5) def. Fernando Gonzalez (27)
Soderling leads the all-time series, 5-4, including a 4-2 mark on hard courts, and he defeated Gonzalez in Miami this year.
Marin Cilic (11) def. Qualifier
The defending quarterfinalist should be able to stop the qualifier's improbable run.
Juan Carlos Ferrero (22) def. Jurgen Melzer (13)
Ferrero leads the all-time series, 4-2, but it's 2-2 on hard courts, and Melzer won the most recent meeting in '08. In the end, I'll take Ferrero because he's reached the fourth round here three times, including last year, while Melzer has never gotten that far at this event.
Roger Federer (2) def. Lleyton Hewitt (32)
Hewitt snapped a 15-match losing streak to Federer with a win in the Halle final earlier this summer, but he still hasn't defeated the Swiss player on hard courts since '03, and Federer beat Hewitt in four sets in this round at last year's U.S. Open.
Rafael Nadal (1) def. Feliciano Lopez (23)
This will be a test for Nadal because he recently lost to Lopez in straight sets at Queen's Club, but the No. 1 player in the world is 5-2 vs. Lopez, including a 2-0 mark on hard courts.
David Nalbandian (31) def. David Ferrer (10)
Ferrer leads the all-time series, 6-5, but Nalbandian is 5-2 on hard courts, including a win this year in Toronto. Nalbandian also won one of the tune-up events in Washington D.C. earlier this month.
Andy Murray (4) def. Sam Querrey (20)
Murray has been plagued by Americans this summer. He lost to Querrey in the finals of Los Angeles and lost to Fish in the quarters of Cincinnati. The Scot even dropped a set to No. 192 Smyczek in L.A. But since Murray played Querrey a month ago, Murray has gone 6-1 with wins over Monfils, Nadal and Federer. The American, on the other hand, has gone 2-3 with losses to Anderson and Tipsarevic.
Tomas Berdych (7) def. Marco Chiudinelli
Berdych reaches his third consecutive quarterfinal at a Grand Slam as my only unseeded player in the fourth round bows out.
Andy Roddick (9) def. Nikolay Davydenko (6)
Davydenko proved victorious the last time they played in '08, but Roddick leads the all-time series, 5-1, and he's certainly been the better player this summer. If not for his pal Fish, Roddick may have won both Cincinnati and Atlanta.
Novak Djokovic (3) def. Marcos Baghdatis (16)
Djokovic is 4-0 vs. Baghdatis, including hard-court wins at this year's Dubai event and last year's Aussie Open.
Robin Soderling (5) def. Marin Cilic (11)
Soderling trounced Cilic in straight sets at Roland Garros this year and has been the better player over the following hard-court season.
Roger Federer (2) def. Juan Carlos Ferrero (22)
Federer has won the last seven meetings, dropping only two sets over that span.
Rafael Nadal (1) def. David Nalbandian (31)
Nadal has won the last two meetings, including a victory on the hard courts of Miami earlier this year.
Andy Murray (4) def. Tomas Berdych (7)
Berdych ousted Murray from the Round of 16 in straight sets at Roland Garros, but the Czech is the superior clay-court player, while the Brit is better on hard courts as evidenced by their play over the past month.
Andy Roddick (9) def. Novak Djokovic (3)
All seven of their matches have come on hard courts with Roddick holding a 5-2 advantage, including four straight victories culminating with a recent straight sets victory at Cincinnati.
Roger Federer (2) def. Robin Soderling (5)
Federer won their first 12 meetings until Soderling knocked him out of the French Open this year, but the Swede has never reached a U.S. Open semi, while the Swiss player has reached six straight finals here, including last year when he beat Soderling in this very same round.
Andy Murray (4) def. Rafael Nadal (1)
Nadal leads the all-time series, 8-4, but Murray has won four of the last five meetings on hard courts, including a straight sets victory in the semis of Toronto earlier this month, a tournament that Murray won. He also defeated Nadal at this year's Australian Open and at the '08 U.S. Open. Nadal has not won a hard court tournament this year and while he's captured eight Grand Slam titles, he's never even reached the finals at Flushing Meadows.
Roger Federer (2) def. Andy Roddick (9)
While Federer's winning streaks against Hewitt and Soderling have recent been snapped, his dominance over Roddick remains in tact, winning four straight and 19 of the 21 matches they've ever played.
Roger Federer (2) def. Andy Murray (4)
All 12 of their meetings have come on hard courts, and while Murray holds a 7-5 advantage, including a straight sets win in the finals of Toronto, he has yet to overcome the most difficult challenge in tennis: beating Federer in a Grand slam. Murray is 0-2 in those matches, failing to win a set in either the '08 U.S. Open final or this year's Australian.
Federer's dominance over the sport has come into question this summer when his streak of 23 straight semifinal appearances at majors was snapped with back-to-back quarterfinal exits from the French Open and Wimbledon. But Federer's reign at hard court Grand Slams remains in tact.
Since '04, he's reached the semis of every single Australian and U.S. Open, winning nine of them, including this year's first major. And the only man to beat him in Flushing Meadows over the past six years, Juan Martin del Potro, is not playing this event as he continues to recover from right wrist surgery that he had in May.
Federer, who just won the tune-up event in Cincinnati, looks ready to win his 16th Grand Slam title.
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Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at email@example.com