2012 US Open Week 2 Men’s Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
An exciting week of high intensity tennis has finished up at the final slam of the year and it is time for the business end of the tournament with just 16 men left vying for the title. The top four seeds have all generally advanced with ease, but the big story is Andy Roddick, who announced he will retire from Tennis after the Open in a impromptu press conference the day before his 2nd round match.
Roddick has made it to the round of 16 and will play Del Potro Tuesday, so he will carry the torch of American tennis at least a few hours longer.
Here is a breakdown of the eight round of 16 match ups.
Roger Federer vs. Mardy Fish
Federer is looking sharp and rolled in straights over Donald Young and Bjorn Phau, then dispatched Fernando Verdasco in the same fashion in what was a disappointing performance from Fernando. Fish beat Go Soeda in straights, came back from 2 sets down to defeat Nikolay Davydenko, who ran out of gas the last 3 sets, and thumped Gilles Simon in 4 sets.
Fish will likely have the crowd behind him in this match, but that is about the only thing going for him as Federer looks confident and cunning and should get another solid win.
Nicolas Almagro vs. Tomas Berdych
Nico and TBerd will meet again for the 4th time this year and they have a habit of being irritants to one another going back to this year’s Australian Open.
Almagro beat a Statue-of-Liberty-shirt-sporting Radek Stepanek in 4, Phillip Petzschner in 5 long heavy ball striking sets and young American Jack Sock, who did well to reach the 3rd round, in 4 sets. Berdych beat David Goffin and Jurgen Zopp in straights, then got past Sam Querrey in 4 after dropping the 1st set.
This match leans Berdych as he has had an easier time so far but Almagro may be able to snatch a win.
Andy Murray vs. Milos Raonic
Milos Raonic survived a 1st round 5 setter against Santiago Giraldo, then beat Paul-Henri Mathieu and James Blake in straights. Blake had previously turned back the clock and dispatched Marcel Granollers in the 2nd round. Murray overcame a slow start to beat Alex Bogomolov in straights, then dispatched Ivan Dodig and needed 4 grueling sets and 3 tiebreaks to get past Feliciano Lopez, who threw everything he had into their 3rd round encounter on a hot Saturday afternoon.
This is an interesting match-up as Murray as struggled with his serve in his first 3 matches, while Raonic serves so well most of the time it could be close and possibly be a long match if Raonic is serving well and Murray isn’t.
Marin Cilic vs. Martin Klizan
Cilic won two 5 setters against Marinko Matosevic and Daniel Brands in the first 2 rounds, then got past Kei Nishikori in 4 sets in what was a bit of a surprising match. Klizan, probably the most unheralded name left in the draw, made his way by beating Alejandro Falla in straights then scored the biggest win of his promising career in 4 sets against 5 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who simply appeared wilted and worn out and could not get his game nor his shots together. Klizan kept his composure and his game together in gutting out the massive win. He followed that up by beating Jeremy Chardy in straights, making it look easy out there and proving he belongs.
Cilic will be a favorite here but the 23-year-old lefty Klizan, who will break into the top 50 after his run here is said and done, has the talent to get yet another upset. This could honestly go either way.
Janko Tipsarevic vs. Phillip Kohlschreiber
Tipsarevic survived an upset scare in the 1st round, clawing back from 2 sets down to defeat Guillaume Rufin in 5. He then took out Brian Baker and Grega Zemlja in straights. Peppo Kohlschreiber beat Michael Llodra in 4, won a testy 5 setter with Benoit Paire in which both players simply did not like each other and then upset John Isner in a late night 5 setter. It was a disappointing result from Isner, who had given his previous opponents Xaiver Malisse and Jarkko Nieminen their chances, winning both matches in 4 sets and it finally caught up to him against Kohlschreiber, who earned a well-deserved win.
Tipsarevic will be the favorite and you have to wonder if two 5 set battles in a row will take it out of Kohlschreiber, but it should be a fun match stylistically-speaking.
David Ferrer vs. Richard Gasquet
Ferrer beat Kevin Anderson and Igor Sijsling in straights, then played 4 gladiator sets of tennis with Lleyton Hewitt in which two of the greatest grinding road runners in the game were both trying to outwit, outhit and outrun one another. The 1st and 2nd sets were great but then Ferrer pulled away over an exasperated Hewitt, who had played a 5 setter with Gilles Muller the previous round. It was Hewitt’s 25th career 5 setter.
Gasquet beat Albert Montanes in 4, then Americans Bradley Klahn and Steve Johnson in straights to advance. Klahn had played a crowd fueled 5 setter against Jurgen Melzer in the 1st round, notching the upset, while Johnson knocked off Ernests Gulbis in the 2nd round (who had come back from 2 sets down and beaten Tommy Haas in the opening round).
Ferrer is a favorite against Gasquet, but both guys have a great shot at the quarterfinals in this match up that will be the grit and substance of Ferrer vs. the style and flash of Gasquet.
Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Andy Roddick
Former US Open champion Del Potro will try to send Roddick into retirement Tuesday night on Ashe. So far he has beaten lucky loser Florent Serra in straights (who replaced David Nalbandian who withdrew with injury), Ryan Harrison in 4 and countryman Leonardo Mayer in straights in what was a very close match between friends. Roddick has kept his career alive dispatching Rhyne Williams and Bernard Tomic in straights and then scoring a 4 set win over Fabio Fognini, who was simply too inconsistent to capitalize on the chances he had.
The road for Roddick likely ends here as Del Po has played strong and his wrist has looked fine in the 3 matches he has played. Barring some magic from Roddick or Del Potro coming out flat, this could be Andy’s curtain call.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Novak Djokovic
Wawrinka has struggled to shut the door in the 3 matches he has played, beating Sergiy Stakhovsky in 4, Steve Darcis in 5 intriguing sets (in which Darcis was hurting for most of the final 2 sets but still managed to get the 5th to 7-5) and Alexandr Dologopolov, who he beat in straights but not without struggling to convert break points. Dolgo beat Baghdatis in the previous round in what was an exciting display of baseline rallies and aggressive tennis. Djokovic, on the other hand, has shown no weakness and has only dropped 15 games in 9 sets of tennis. He beat up on Paolo Lorenzi, Rogerio Dutra Silva and Julien Benneteau. Benneteau had previously beaten surprising American Dennis Novikov in 4.
Djokovic will be a heavy favorite against Wawrinka and should calmly notch another victory.
Federer d. Berdych
Murray d. Cilic
Tipsarevic d. Ferrer
Djokovic d. Del Potro
Any of these matches could easily go 5 sets.
Federer d. Murray
Djokovic d. Tipsarevic
Federer d. Djokovic