Friday, September 11, 2015

2015 US OPEN: Men's Semifinals Preview

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [19] Marin Cilic (CRO) [9]. Proving that last year's title run here was no fluke, Marin Cilic outlasted Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinal by winning the fifth set 6-4 despite blowing a 2-0 set lead. It's somewhat unfortunate that the draw has produced Djokovic-Cilic and Federer-Wawrinka instead of Djokovic-Wawrinka and Federer-Cilic. This alternate draw would be more suspenseful because those in those matchups the higher ranked player has lost to the lower ranked player in important meetings (Wawrinka beat Djokovic in the finals of the 2015 French Open and Cilic beat Federer in the semifinals of the 2014 U.S. Open. However, what we have instead is a pair of matches where the higher ranked player has a clear head-to-head advantage. Djokovic leads Cilic 13-0 and Federer leads Wawrinka 16-3. The last meeting between  Cilic and Djokovic was at Wimbledon and was a pretty routine win by the World #1. A win here will let Djokovic reach his 4th major final of 2015, and his 8th final in the last 10 majors (where he has been 3-4). For such a great hard court player he deserves another opportunity to demonstrate his prowess in New York. Mad Professah's pick: Djokovic.

Roger Federer (SUI) [2] vs Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [5].  This should be the more compelling and emotionally resonant of the two major semifinals played. Things are always complicated when two players from the same country compete on the world stage and the dynamics between Federer and Wawrinka are in a transitional state. For almost a decade, Wawrinka has been looking up to Federer, not really believing he was his equal and but in the last 8 majors played Wawrinka has won twice and Federer has won none. Combined with the fact that in their last meeting Wawrinka essentially blasted Federer off the court at Roland Garros this year on his way to winning his 2nd major. It's hard to believe that Wawrinka can duplicate such a performance, especially on the hard courts of New York where Federer has won 5 times (although he has not been in a final here since losing to Juan Martin del Potro in 2009). That being said, if Donald Young could win a 6-1 set against Wawrinkain the 4th round then I am fairly confident that Federer will be able to beat even the new and improved Wawrinka, Mad Professah's pick: Federer.

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