The final major of the 2014 tennis season is upon us, and the Bad Man Bureau is here to help you make your picks and fill out your draw. Will a long-established champion veteran once again hoist the trophy, or will a newcomer get a taste at tennis history? Which big names will fail to make the second week—or might even fail to make the second round? Who could be the breakout story of the 2014 US Open? The Bad Man Bureau is here to provide you with our insight on all of those questions and more. Yesterday, we looked at the Women’s Singles draw, which you can find here. Today, it’s all about the men’s singles.
Seeds: (1) Novak Djokovic, (13) John Isner, (22) Philipp Kohlschreiber, (28) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
Djokovic isn’t coming in to the US Open with the best of form, but he’ll have the opportunity to ease into this final major with a relatively easy to start to his campaign. Most of the seeds should advance to face each other, though Isner’s injury could hamper his efforts. Speaking of, the USTA must not care for the big man, as he’s now slated to face off against the man who’s knocked him out of the last two US Opens in the third round: Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Also here: Sam Querrey. Querrey’s had a poor year, failing to make any sort of big run at an event. That is, until the Winston-Salem Open, where he’s in the semifinals. The question however is whether this run a week before the US Open kicks off will result in Querrey being fatigued or will he use this excellent result to kickstart his return to the Top 20 in earnest.
Quarterfinalist: Novak Djokovic.
Seeds: (8) Andy Murray, (9) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, (24) Julien Benneteau, (31) Fernando Verdasco
Murray is the top seed in this section, but he isn’t quite the same player he was when he won the US Open a few years back. Still, he’s played pretty well at the majors. He opens against Robin Haase, and the two of them have a history in Flushing Meadows. Some people will see the name at the top of this part of the draw (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) and think that he’s got a very good chance to reach the quarterfinals after seeing his impressive run to the Rogers Cup title.
Potential Stud-or-Dud Match: (24) Julien Benneteau versus Benoit Paire. When two Frenchmen get together, there’s always a chance for some aesthetically pleasing, yet potentially topsy-turvy tennis. Paire is still struggling since his return from an injury layoff, but he still shows in flashes what he’s capable of and why the French fans are so excited for his prospects. Benneteau, though, is still a tough out even in his thirties.
Quarterfinalist: Andy Murray.
Seeds: (3) Stan Wawrinka, (16) Tommy Robredo, (21) Mikhail Youzhny, (30) Jeremy Chardy
A potentially tricky part of the draw for the Australian Open champion to navigate, Wawrinka and the other seeds will need to be careful from the start. There are a lot of wild cards here, players that can meekly crash out in the first round or get hot and reach the second week. Robredo could easily lose to Roger-Vasselin (an excellent doubles player ranked #51 in singles); Youzhny could lose to breakout Aussie youngster Nick Kyrgios, and Alejandro Falla could blast Jeremy Chardy off the court. With so many questions surrounding just about everyone, it might be a safe bet to go with someone who’s proven he can win on these courts.
Also here: Donald Young. Young’s been playing good tennis during the US Open Series, and like the other players here, he has to think that if he can just survive and advance, he could have a huge result here. He opens against Blaz Kavcic, not necessarily an easy opponent, but Young does have the ability and the belief that he can beat anyone in this part of the draw.
Quarterfinalist: Stan Wawrinka.
Seeds: (5) Milos Raonic, (10) Kei Nishikori, (23) Leonardo Mayer, (29) Lukas Rosol
Once again, two of the top next generation are anchoring the draw with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line. For Raonic, he’s got a breeze of a draw in the first two rounds—though Benjamin Becker is tougher than one might expect—then could take on Lukas Rosol in a battle of power serves and power groundstrokes. On the other side though, Nishikori is again limping into a major, and Leonardo Mayer, while he has had some minor success at the US Open, has had better results on clay.
Also here: Jack Sock. Sock’s done well for himself this summer, as he’s slowly but surely begun to move up the rankings in singles. He’s incorporated net rushing and volleying into his game, which has helped him in both singles and doubles, where as part of the team “Pop Sock”, the team won Wimbledon. With questions surrounding Nishikori and Mayer, he could get to the fourth round or better.
Quarterfinalist: Milos Raonic.
Seeds: (6) Tomas Berdych, (11) Ernests Gulbis, (19) Feliciano Lopez, (27) Santiago Giraldo
All of the seeds here have struggled this summer, so there’s a real chance for a surprise quarterfinalist. Both Tomas Berdych and Ernests Gulbis have struggled this summer. One player who could take advantage is Steve Johnson. He’s played pretty decently during the US Open Series, and as he’s become a more consistent winner on the ATP World Tour, he has to wonder if his chances at a second week appearance are very possible here. A big obstacle may be Feliciano Lopez, who did reach the semifinals in Canada.
Upset Alert: Lleyton Hewitt over (6) Tomas Berdych. This screams that it will be a five-set match and looks almost too obvious to be a true upset. But Berdych comes into the US Open without many wins during the US Open Series (just 2-3), and while Hewitt himself hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire (though he did win Newport, he’s also 2-3 on hardcourts), he is certain never to yield an inch.
Quarterfinalist: Feliciano Lopez.
Seeds: (4) David Ferrer, (14) Marin Cilic, (18) Kevin Anderson, (26) Gilles Simon
The draw placed a lot of questionable seeds here, as only Ferrer and Cilic are coming in with any real good form, but the group may have benefited from the lack of threats in the early rounds. Cilic, of course, has a potentially stern test against Marcos Baghdatis in the first round—depending on which Marcos shows up. The biggest threat to this section keeping to chalk might be Jerzy Janowicz, who has rediscovered his game in reaching the final of the Winston-Salem Open.
Entertaining Match to Watch: Bernard Tomic versus Dustin Brown. Both of these players play a game that allows for flair and drama. Tomic enjoys employing various off-speed shots into his arsenal, and while his game isn’t quite yet back to what it was a short while ago, he’s getting there. Dustin Brown will keep the points short and entertaining as he volleys, dives, and runs around the court.
Quarterfinalist: David Ferrer.
Seeds: (7) Grigor Dimitrov, (12) Richard Gasquet, (20) Gael Monfils, (32) Joao Sousa
If Grigor wishes to make a deep run at the US Open, he’s going to have to navigate through a draw with land mines. He opens up against Ryan Harrison, a player who’s fallen into a real funk but can still bring a power game with a potent forehand. From there, Grigor could face off against Dudi Sela, finalist in Atlanta, and David Goffin, who was on a 25-match winning streak before he lost in Winston-Salem, in the second and third rounds respectively.
Upset Alert: Denis Istomin over (12) Richard Gasquet. You could have said Dancevic over Sousa, but that one is too obvious, so we’ll go with a less likely but still plausible upset here. Gasquet hasn’t played all that poorly this summer, but this is more about Istomin. The Uzbek plays well on the hardcourts, as he’s able to use potent groundstrokes to blast his opponents off the court. Gasquet could find himself embroiled in a long match if he doesn’t come out with his full effort to start.
Quarterfinalist: Grigor Dimitrov.
Seeds: (2) Roger Federer, (15) Fabio Fognini, (17) Roberto Bautista Agut, (25) Ivo Karlovic
Federer was given a pretty easy start to his 2014 US Open campaign. He doesn’t have anyone who can truly trouble him; sure, there are a lot of hard, high-acing servers in his section—Sam Groth and Ivo Karlovic in particular—but Federer has the ability to avoid being aced with his excellent return skills. The other side features the slumping Fabio Fognini and Roberto Bautista Agut, who is just 1-2 on the hardcourts this summer.
Potential Five Set Alerts: (25) Ivo Karlovic versus Jarkko Nieminen; Jurgen Melzer versus Marcel Granollers. Whenever you get veterans facing off against one another, there’s always the chance for prolonged matches as the players adapt to the other’s strategy. Whenever you get players who aren’t at the peak of their skills—like Melzer and Granollers—or have a tendency to go on mental lapses—like Karlovic—there’s definitely a chance for set-to-set momentum swings. Therefore, there’s a good chance both of these matches go the distance.
Quarterfinalist: Roger Federer.
Finals: (2) Roger Federer defeats (1) Novak Djokovic in four sets.
With Rafael Nadal out of the draw and Andy Murray still returning to form, there just doesn’t appear to be any way the final isn’t the top two seeds. Murray will trouble Djokovic in the quarterfinals, probably even taking a set off the world number one. Raonic might make the semifinal a tight-knit affair, but Novak should be able to prevail over both of them. On the other side, Federer simply doesn’t have anyone who could worry him. Dimitrov plays a similar style of tennis to Federer’s, but Roger is still better at it, even at this point in the respective careers of both. Then in the semifinals, Federer has such a lopsided head-to-head against both David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez; there’s no way that doesn’t change two wins from another major title. So Novak and Roger once again face off, just as they’ve done so many times before and most recently in the Wimbledon final. Here, I think you have to go with recent form. Roger can boast having reached the finals of both Toronto and Cincinnati, winning the event in the latter. For Djokovic, his post-Wimbledon campaign was highlighted by losses to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (which isn’t that bad of a loss, considering Tsonga went on to win the title in Canada) and Tommy Robredo. One note: if the match goes five sets, I think the momentum swings to the Serb’s favor.