Sunday, September 13, 2015

2015 US OPEN: Men's Final Preview (and Semifinals Review)

Here are my predictions for the men's final at the US Open for 2015. Last year I correctly predicted Marin Cilic would defeat Kei NishikoriThis year I correctly predicted 0 of 2 women's semifinals2 of 2 men's semifinals2 of 4 women's quarterfinals and 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals.

Men's Semifinals Review: How They Got Here
Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] d. Marin Cilic (CRO) [9] 6-0 6-1 6-2. Ouch! The World #1 sent a signal to the rest of the field by demolishing the defending champion in under 90 minutes. As I predicted, Djokovic continued his dominance of Marin Cilic by extending his head-to-head undefeated stretch to 14 matches in a row. I didn't see the match but I think the score basically tells the story. I heard that Cilic was slightly injured (apparently he hurt his ankle in beating Tsonga in 5 sets on Tuesday) but even if he had been at 100% it is doubtful Cilic would have prevented Djokovic from winning this match and reaching his 4th consecutive major final.

Roger Federer (SUI) [2] d. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [5] 6-4 6-3 6-1.  
This second semifinal was expected to be more competitive despite the fact that Federer has a decisive 16-3 head-to-head advantage (11-0 on hard courts). After all, Wawrinka had won the last time they played, in the quarterfinals of the French Open. However, playing Federer in Paris is not the same thing as playing Federer in New York, especially as the 17-time major champion has grown more accustomed to his bigger racquet and incorporated new tactics into his game to surprise and confound his opponents. Federer is serving incredibly well, and did not have his serve broken in this match, despite facing a triple breakpoint hole in the first set. He simply outplayed his compatriot and came away with the win, again.

Men's Final Preview: Who Will Win
This is the match-up that most tennis players were hoping to see at the beginning of the tournament: #1 Djokovic versus #2 Federer. The two are playing for the forty-second time on the tour, i.e. Federer-Djokovic XLII, with the 17-major champ leading the head-to-head slightly 21-20 but the World #1 has a 16-14 edge in hard courts and the two are tied at 6-all in hard court finals. Amazingly, Djokovic is playing in his 6th U.S. Open final (1-4 so far) and 18th major final (9-8). Federer has won the U.S. Open 5 times and is playing in his 7th U.S. Open final (5-1) and record 27th major final (17-9). If this match was being played on Australian hard courts  I would give Djokovic the edge but the fact that it is being played in New York is a huge edge for Federer. The problem is that Federer has had match points against Djokovic in Nw York before and failed to close him out. Hopefully he will learn from these matches and be sure not to let the match get to a fifth set, where Federer does not actually have a great record. That being said, Federer has won his last twenty eight sets played (including the Cincinnati final against Djokovic) and I expect him to win at least two more here.
MadProfessah's Pick: Federer in 3 or 4 sets, Djokovic in 5 sets.

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