Devin Britton couln't believe it. His manager had just told him he would be facing Roger Federer in the first round of his first ever major, the U.S. Open. He finally realized it wasn't a joke when his phone recieved 15 messages in a 5 minute span. Britton could look at it as a blessing (playing most likely under the lights on Ashe in his first major) or an almost 100 % guarentee that he won't be staying in New York for long. Federer enters this year's final major as the number one seed, followed by Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Nikolay Davydenko (8) was drawn to the Swiss' side, Juan Martin del Potro (6) to Murray's, Jo Wilfred Tsonga (7) to Nadal's and Andy Roddick (5) to Djokovic's. Roddick has beaten Nole three straight times, and should they meet in the final 8, Roddick will have a motivation for redemption; his quarterfinal loss to the Serb in last year's Open. Federer may be on a roll (Madrid, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, Cincinnati and the twins), but like John McEnroe said, he has to be stopped sometime. Rafael Nadal, quite posible the freshest man on tour, would be the ideal guy to do it.
Federer will most likely advance to his 22nd consecutive GS semifinal quite smoothly, with easy machups for his first 4 rounds. The Swiss starts wth Britton, the 18 year old out of Mississippi, then will follow up most likely with Simon Gruel and then Lleyton Hewitt, who the Swiss has defeated 13 straight times. Federer's possible fourth round opponents, Tommy Robredo and James Blake, and his possible quarterfinal matchups, Nikolay Davyenko, Sam Querrey and Robin Soderling, are a combined 1-46 against the 15-time GS champion.
Quarterfinals: Federer def. Davydenko
Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic are the big names in this section and Fernando Verdasco, Radek Stepanek and Tommy Haas are looking to cause some surprises. Verdasco is a proven hard court player and could cause trouble for Roddick in a potential fourth round blockbuster. Djokovic could suffer a hiccup against his French Open conqueror, Phillip Kohlschreiber, in the third round, but the Serb plays some of his best tennis in New York. Haas has a winning record against Roddick, and could play the American in the Round of 16 should the German get past Verdasco. Look for Djokovic, who will be very under the radar, to reach his 3rd straight U.S. Open semi.
Quarterfinal: Djokovic def. Roddick
I'll admit, it was weird not having to go to the very bottom of the draw to find Rafael Nadal's name, but no matter where the Spaniard lies in the draw, he will always make opponents stop in their tracks, 100 % healthy or not. Jo Wilfried Tsonga, who's big hitting style of play could be dangerous for Rafa, is the seventh seed and plays his best tennis on the hard courts. Fernando Gonzalez, Gael Monfils, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer are all in this section as well, and have each impressed on this surface; moreover, Nadal won't have an easy time this year. Rafa has a less than stellar 11-9 hard court record aganst the quintet, but his grit and determination to become the youngest player ever to complete the career Grand Slam will help him reach the final four.
Quarterfinals: Nadal def. Tsonga
Andy Murray enters this Grand Slam as number 2 in the world for the first time, and the defending runner-up will look to one-up his performance from 2008, where he lost to Federer in straight sets. Murray's section contains Juan Martin del Potro, Gilles Simon and Marin Cilic. Murray's first round opponent, Ernests Gulbis is a hazardous foe when he's firing on all cylinders, which is rare. Expect Murray to have a close first set against the Latvian, but to advance to the second round. Murray could also run into Stanislas Wawrinka, who pushed the Scot to 5 sets at Wimbledon, in the fourth round. The 6th seed, del Potro, will have a very tough opening against Juan Monaco, and could be upset by Marat Safin, who is playing in his final Grand Slam, in the second. The Russian has always been one of the most talented players on the tour, but has been too much of a headcase to consistently channel his emotions. Could New York, where Safin had his breakthrough, bring the 2 time GS champ a succesful end to a drama-filled career?
Quarterfinals: Murray def. Safin
Federer def. Djokovic
Nadal def. Murray
Nadal def. Federer