Friday, September 08, 2017

2017 US OPEN: Men's Semifinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the men's semifinals at the US Open for 2017. Last year I correctly predicted 2 of 2 men's semifinals1 of 2 women's semifinals4 of 4 women's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 3 of 4 men's quarterfinalsThis year I correctly predicted 1 of 2 women's semifinals.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [1] vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (ESP) [24] Roger Federer (SUI) [3] For the second time, Juan Martin del Potro has served as the spoiler to prevent a meeting between Federer and Nadal at the U.S. Open, which is the only major the two have not played a match against each other. In 2009, del Potro beat Nadal and then Federer to win his only major in New York City. He has already played the match of the tournament in his 4th round escape from Dominic Thiem when he was down two sets and two match points. I actually argued Del Potro was a better opponent for Federer because he had a losing record (5W-16L) versus Thiem's 2W-1L. But, unfortunately Federer did not play his best tennis in the quarterfinal and Del Potro was boosted by the crowd at key moments to come through. The third set tiebreak was pivotal. Federer had 4 set points and made multiple mental errors (like serving to Del Potro's forehand, failing to make an easy backhand volley) and ended up losing it on Del Potro's first set point (on an ill-advised serve-and-volley point). Federer admitted in press that he never felt like all aspects of his game were together in this tournament and that he probably would not have done well against Nadal if they had met.  Del Potro has a pretty good record against the Spaniard on hard courts (5W-3L) but has a losing 5W-8L record overall. Nadal is the #1 player in the world and has an amazing opportunity to win his 16th major without having faced a single Top 10 player (Del Potro has already faced and defeated #6 and #3). My heart would like to see Del Potro win this but my head says that this may be too big an ask even for someone as big as Del Potro. Mad Professah's pick: Nadal.

Kevin Anderson (RSA) [27] vs Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) [12].  Both of these players are in their first ever major semifinal and they have the good fortune of facing each other so that one of them will make it to their first-ever major final. For both players, they know they are very unlikely ever to be in such a position again. So the result of the match will probably come down to who wants it more. That being said one cannot discount  the matchup and so far it has been a good one for Anderson, who leads the head-to-head 2W-0L including in Cincinnati just a few weeks ago. Carreno Busta is currently the higher ranked player and is playing in his second major of the year where he has made a quarterfinal so he should have confidence but I think he still may be overwhelmed by the occasion. Usually in these situations the edge goes to the better mover and that would be Carreno Busta but I think Anderson's ability to hold his serve so easily and put the pressure back on his opponent will be deicisive. Mad Professah's pick: Anderson.

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