US Open 2016: Quick Thoughts on the Men’s Draw

Novak Djokovic’s Quarter

The defending champion and number one seed received no favors with this draw.  Big hitters Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner, and Kevin Anderson have at times pushed/troubled Novak Djokovic.  Jerzy Janowicz is not in Bercy 2012-Wimbledon 2013 form so the first round should not be a major issue.  Djokovic’s biggest obstacle is 2014 US Open champion and recent conqueror of Cincinnati Marin Cilic.  Both men are likely to reach the final 8, but the two most recent US Open men’s champions can at most only produce one semifinalist with this draw.

Rafael Nadal’s Quarter

Rafael Nadal has absorbed losses to Juan Martin del Potro, Kei Nishikori, and Borna Coric in his latest return from injury.  Still, Rafa will likely benefit from the 3 of 5 set format as his experience in big matches becomes a larger factor at a major and in long matches. Nadal’s first 3 matches could all be tricky. 5th seed Milos Raonic played well enough in Toronto and Cincinnati to be considered a threat for the semifinal round.  However, his one-sided loss to Andy Murray in Cincinnati doesn’t inspire me with a lot of confidence. Raonic seems unlikely to have a bad loss, but also seems to need an extra gear for beating the top tier guys.  I do think Milos’ match with Dustin Brown aka Dreddy Tennis will be fun.  Gael Monfils has had a strong summer and could make his way to the final 16 or 8.  If Rafa were healthy and match tough, I’d probably take him to reach the semifinal round.  I think any of the players who reach the round of 16 in this draw have a good shot at the semis depending on their health and luck.  Roberto Bautista-Agut strikes me as someone to watch in this quarter.

1st Round: Shot making? Check. Power? Check. Take cover? Maybe.

Stan Wawrinka’s Quarter

Stan Wawrinka is historically much tougher in majors than in Masters 1000 events.  Still, his play has not made him a lock to advance deep in New York.  Stan also got an awful draw of Fernando Verdasco in the 1st round.  Dominic Thiem doesn’t seem like a likely quarterfinalist.  Players who have made some noise this summer such as Nick Kyrgios (Atlanta title), Juan Martin del Potro (silver medal), and Sam Querrey (Wimbledon quarterfinalist) may all benefit from Thiem’s hard court learning curve.  The weakness of this quarter plus the 3 of 5 set format all play to Wawrinka’s favor so long as he doesn’t get blinded by Hot Sauce in the first round.

Cilic is not in Murray’s quarter

Andy Murray’s Quarter

Andy Murray should reach the semifinal round.  He does face a heated rival in the first round in Lukas RosolMarcel Granollers could be tricky in the 2nd round, but the Scot should win even if he drops a set there.  Gilles Simon lacks the heft.  Borna Coric lacks the experience.  Ivo Karlovic just isn’t going to win 3 sets off of Murray.  David Goffin could be tricky.  Murray’s biggest edge is that seeding wise, Kei Nishikori is his biggest obstacle for the semifinal.  Kei could beat Stan or Rafa and could trouble Nole, but in Rio Murray clobbered Nishikori.

Predicted Semifinalists

Novak Djokovic vs. Gael Monfils

&

Andy Murray vs. Stan Wawrinka

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