Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Look At America's Chances In the 2011 US Open

There are several male American tennis players in the draw for the US Open starting August 29 in New York, but only two that are seeded. Some are true contenders, some have no chance to make it out of the first round, and some promising young ones lie someone in between.  A lot of the Americans are piled into the bottom quarter of the draw with Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer.

The Contender:

  • Mardy Fish (Seeded #8) - Fish has played well on the hard courts this year.  He made the Finals of the Rogers Cup a month ago before falling to Novak Djokovic.  He also won the Atlanta ATP event in July.  Making the quarterfinals in 2008 was his best year at the US Open.  If he is ever going to break through in a Grand Slam event, this year's Open would be it.

The Pretenders:

  • Andy Roddick (Seeded #21)- Roddick has struggled as of late, hence the low seeding, and I don't expect a lot out of him.  He could either make the semi-finals, or he could lose in an early round.  If he makes it to the third round, his likely opponent would be David Ferrer.  

  • James Blake - Blake's best tennis years are behind him, but that's not to say he couldn't have a bit of a run here if he's playing well.  He hasn't played much this year, with a record of 13-11. His best Open finish was the quarterfinals, which he made in 2005 and 2006.  

The Next Generation

  • John Isner - Isner has had some success in the past few months on the hard courts.  He won this year's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships and reached the final of the Atlanta ATP event (losing to Fish).  Isner's large (6'9") frame both helps him with his serve, but hinders his agility and endurance on the court.  He seems ready to make some noise at a grand slam, and the US Open would be the perfect spot. 

  • Ryan Harrison - Disappointingly, Harrison has the toughest initial draw of any of the other Americans who I am following.  His first round match is with Marin Cilic, Croatia's young hope after Djokovic. Unlike any of the younger Americans, Cilic has played very well for a few years now, reaching an ATP ranking of #9 last Fall.  If Harrison could defeat Cilic, his second round opponent would be Bernard Tomic, the young hope of Australia.  

  • Donald Young - Young has been talked about in American tennis for so long, it would seem he'd be in the twilight of his career. However, he's only 21 with plenty of good tennis yet to play.  Once thought to be the next great American tennis star, his career has been largely disappointing.  His biggest success might be defeating Andy Murray earlier in the year at Indian Wells.  

  • Ryan Sweeting - Won his first ATP championship earlier this year at the US Clay Court Championships.  This has been his best year of his young career, winning a match at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.  He also made it to the 3rd round of Indian Wells.  

  • Jack Sock - The newest promising American on the senior tour, this 18-year-old from Nebraska just turned pro a few months ago.  He won the junior US Open title last year, but this will be his first senior Grand Slam event.  If he manages to win his first round match, he would likely be up against Andy Roddick in the second.  
Ryan Sweeting

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