Saturday, September 07, 2013

2013 US OPEN: Men's Semifinals Preview

Last  year I correctly predicted 2 of 2 women's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 2 of 2 men's quarterfinals. This year I also have correctly predicted 4 or 4 women's quarterfinals, 2 of 4 men's quarterfinals and 2 of 2 women's semifinals. Below are my predictions for the men's quarterfinals at the 2013 US Open.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs Andy Murray (GBR) [3] Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) [9]. Although this is not the reprise of last year's men's final that everyone was expecting when the draw came out and defending champion Andy Murray was placed in World #1's Novak Djokovic's half of the draw, it could still be a barn burner. Wawrinka is playing the best tennis of his career and has won two consecutive matches against Top 5 players for the first time. He is certain to be ensconced in the Top 10 himself for a significant amount of time just by his performance to date in the last slam of the year. It was his performance in the first slam of the year which made people see the #2 player from Switzerland in a new light, and may have given Wawrinka the jolt he needed to raise his game to the next level where he finds it now. In the 4th round of the Australian Open he played what is widely regarded as one of the best matches of the year against eventual champion (Djokovic), only succumbing 12-10 in the 5th (there's no tiebreak in the deciding set in Melbourne). So even though he has pitiful 2-12 head-to-head record against the World #1, in Stan's mind most of those matches were played against a different player, and in this U.S. Open there have been numerous surprising and unexpected results (Lleyton Hewitt's win over Juan Martin del Potro, Mikhail Youzhny's resurrection against Lleyton Hewitt, Richard Gasquet finally beating his nemesis David Ferrer and Tommy Robredo's straight set dismissal of Roger Federer after losing 10 times in a row comes to mind!). So it is possible, but not very probable, that Wawrinka could win this match and reach his first final of the year. However, standing in his way is Djokovic who is trying his best to salvage his year by reaching his 3rd major final of 2013 to give him a chance to win his 2nd US Open and 4th consecutive US Open final. He knows he should have defeated Nadal at Roland Garros, and if he gets the opportunity to play Nadal in New York, he will not falter. Mad Professah's pick: Djokovic.

Richard Gasquet (FRA) [8] vs Rafael Nadal (ESP) [2].   Richard Gasquet surprised most people (including himself, I bet) by beating David Ferrer in the quarterfinal to reach the second major semifinal of his career. He has never beaten Nadal in 10 meetings (4 of those on hard courts) and is probably reasonably pleased with what he has achieved so far in the tournament. Plus, Nadal is undefeated on hard courts in 2013, having won 20 consecutive matches (and 3 ATP hard court Masters Series tournaments: Indian Wells, Montreal and Cincinnati). After his ignominous exit and extended absence from the game for more than half of 2012 the Spaniard has returned with a vigor and energy that is demolishing his opponents. He has a better than even chance of winning his 2nd US Open title as well. Mad Professah's pick: Nadal.

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