Upcoming US Open Grand Slam

Close to a million fans will flock to the US Open Grand Slam to catch the two-weeks of entertainment and sports in Queens, New York. The fourth and final leg of the Grand Slam is something to look forward to for a lot of tennis fans in the world because the most glamorous superstars in the world of tennis come together to provide fans a spectacular show. This tournament will set the stage for the 2017 Grand Slam events, for which tickets are already being sold by online marketers like QueenofTickets.

The US Open, also known as the United States National Championships, may lack the rich history that circles the French Open and Wimbledon but it has some incredible stories from its inception in 1881. While the US Open was originally played on grass courts, in Newport Casino, Rhode Island, there have been many changes over the years both in rules, location, and court style.  

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US Open championships saw the emergence and descent of the biggest names in tennis: Martina Hingis, Flavia Pennetta, Steffi Graff, Angelique Kerber, and Serena Williams (just to name a few). With the upcoming US Open Grand Slam happening on Monday, many people are with high hopes of seeing the familiar faces of their favorite tennis stars. After the many upsets that occurred during the Rio Olympics, many people are curious as to the outcome of the US Open.

One of the popular bets for the US Open Grand Slam championship this year is on top seed, female Serena Williams–who is out for her seventh title and a 23rd major crown. Alongside are top seeds and contenders to the US Open Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber, and Agnieszka Radwanska who all want the crown for themselves. Each and every one is deemed worthy – but who is hungriest to win and bring home the glory?

The Men’s US Open

From the first leg of the Grand Slams, everyone has been looking out for Novak Djokovic, the world’s #1 seed, to win all the four majors. It seemed likely that the top tennis player of the world would win a calendar-year Grand Slam, but his fate changed completely with that major upset in the third round. The first six months of the 2016 men’s tour went great for Djokovic but the final two months drastically changed with victories going to Andy Murray.

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The invincible Djokovic suddenly lost and he seemed mortal again to many players. When Murray won in the Rio 2016 Singles, he also became the first man to ever win consecutive gold medals in the Singles during the Olympics. If luck will be on his side for the US Open, this would be a defining moment for Murray.

The Women’s US Open

Compared to last year’s hype, Serena Williams’s entry into the US Open this year is more tranquil and less of a fuss. She may have lost at the French Open and Australian Open, but was able to regain her pace and won in the Wimbledon. She was able to conquer Angelique Kerber at the All England Club, but a lot of critics and spectators noted that she lost her increased momentum at that point. This led to her major upset in Rio Olympics where she lost in the third round of the Singles tournament and lost in the first round of the Doubles. There is not much pressure now for Serena Williams but she is still eyeing for her 23rd Grand Slams to surpass Steffi Graff’s Most Slams won in the US Open and also get to beat Chris Evert’s record of six US Open titles in the Open Era.

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Angelique Kerber, also a top seed and contender for the US Open championship got too close to toppling Serena Williams from the top spot but failed to do so. If only she was able to champion the Cincinnati finals, she could have snagged the top spot from Williams, which she has held on to for 184 long weeks.

This is, however, a strong year for Angelique Kerber. This is her highest single-year total prize money in her career. Right now, she trails from Williams by 190 points. Her WTA rankings could still improve as this 2016 tour has shown Kerber to become one of the many surprises and is also one of the biggest stories to watch out for. After her appearances in Cincinnati and Rio, she looks to be ready to win and conquer the US Open Grand Slam. The world is ready for these tennis gladiators to conquer the courts in the upcoming US Open Grand Slam.

US Open 2016 Draw Analysis – Djokovic Has Challenging Road to Final

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Greetings. Here is Djokovic’s draw:

  • R1: Janowicz
  • R2: Vesely
  • R3: Klizan
  • R4: Isner/Gasquet
  • QF: Cilic/Tsonga/Anderson
  • SF: Raonic/Nadal
  • F: Murray

Given that Djokovic is still suffering from wrist problems, that is a pretty tough draw. He also hasn’t played competitive tennis for about three weeks now but he gets Janowicz first round which should allow him to shake off some rust.

If he got Del Potro again first round that would have been an issue but the odds of that happening was small. As it turns out Del Potro is not in his half so he won’t have to worry about the Argentine unless they both make the final.

But Djokovic won’t have much time to shake off rust because in the second round he is likely to play Vesely who he lost to in Monte Carlo this year. In the third round, it is Klizan who is a pretty dangerous lefty himself.

Isner or Gasquet is no joke either and in the quarterfinals, Djokovic could have to face Cilic who just won Cincinnati. Cilic and Del Potro are the biggest dark horses for me who can upset anyone, although Djokovic does have a 14-0 head-to-head record over Cilic.

Tsonga and Anderson are dangerous players themselves so that section should be interesting to follow. I guess you can say Raonic and Nadal are dangerous dark horses too although Nadal less so than Raonic.

And then in the final, you’d expect Murray to be there unless Del Potro or even Nishikori can cause an upset. Murray’s draw is not terribly difficult because he can’t meet Del Potro before the semi-finals.

Looking at Nadal’s draw, it’s not very difficult either until the quarters unless he loses to Agut who played a great match against Djokovic last year. Getting past Raonic would be a different matter but who knows if Nadal finds some form again.

I suppose a Djokovic vs Nadal semi-final is not impossible but it is more likely to be Djokovic vs Raonic.

  • Bottom Half

Ironically, the top-seeded American at the US Open, Johnson, got the unseeded danger man Del Potro in the second round. Del Potro won his one major at the US Open and he is a threat after his showing in Rio.

The other seed in his section, Ferrer, is not having a good year but Fognini could beat him who himself is a dangerous player. That section of Del Potro is not so tough though and I can see him coming through and face Thiem or Querrey in the last 16.

Those are not unbeatable opponents either and neither is his potential opponent in the quarterfinals. Wawrinka has a tricky opener with Verdasco and he has the youngsters Zverev, Kyrgios, and Tomic in his section as well.

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It is tough to predict but if Del Potro plays like he did in Rio he can potentially make semis and face Murray which would be an interesting rematch. I hope Del Potro does well anyway because he is exciting to watch.

Murray has some potential tricky opponents in Lopez, Nishikori, and Del Potro but he will probably make the final with the form he is in. An upset is never out of the question though like we saw in Cincy last week.

  • How Important is this US Open for Djokovic?

I have already seen a few articles suggesting this US Open is crucial for Djokovic if he still has hopes of passing Federer’s slam count of 17 and become the greatest. First of all, I don’t think he has to pass Federer’s slam count to be considered greater.

Second, these people seem to forget that Djokovic would not be in this position if he didn’t win the US Open last year. They also probably forgot the difficult conditions under which he won that title, especially in the final.

He was, first of all, up against a poor US Open final record of 1-4 and then there was a drunk and fanatical pro-Federer crowd to deal with in the final. So let’s just acknowledge the enormity of that achievement.

Winning that title helped him to get into the GOAT debate this year when he won the French Open and completed the career- and Djoker slam. That is the next thing to acknowledge, that he is already in the GOAT debate.

Now he is in a similar situation where he was last year before the US Open. Even though he broke through last year by winning another final, his record is still 2-5 in US Open finals and two US Open titles still don’t do his talents on hardcourts justice.

Therefore I agree that this is another big moment for Djokovic in his quest to chase Federer down. The problem for him is that he hit his peak quite late and doesn’t have an awful lot of time left at age 29.

That said, I don’t think it is as important for him to win the title as some journalists make it out to be. 29 is not that old in tennis these days and Djokovic is now only 5 slams back of Federer.

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I certainly think the stakes were higher last year for Djokovic where he had a poor finals record to overcome and had to face Federer in the final which meant if Federer won he would have been out of reach of Djokovic almost certainly.

He can now afford not to win the title and still catch Federer. He has played an awful lot of tennis since the beginning of 2015 winning almost everything in sight and it is no wonder his body is feeling the strain.

The wrist may even flare up during the event and cause him to lose or withdraw. No big deal. It happens in tennis. But of course ideally, Djokovic wants to shut down all this Murray hype and talk of his own decline as quickly as possible.

Another three-slam year wouldn’t hurt his resume either. But in the end, his health is the most important thing and he shouldn’t take unnecessary risks. He still has time. It has already been another incredible year for Djokovic.

Winning the French Open this year and completing the Djoker slam was the big one for Djokovic and after that everything is gravy. We will see how he progresses through the early rounds.

If he finds a good rhythm and his wrist holds up then I obviously like his chances to make the final and once he makes the final I obviously want to see him defeat Murray or whoever is across the net.

If he is healthy he is the favorite. The Djokovic/Murray finals are not as exciting as some of the other matchups but we haven’t seen Djokovic play against the ‘new’ Murray or Becker against Lendl as coaches for that matter.

I think it would be interesting!

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Cilic Stops Murray to Win First Masters Title in Cincinnati

Greetings. I hope everyone enjoyed the tennis in Cincinnati this week. I thought it was quite an interesting week even though my favorite Djokovic was absent. It made the tournament more open especially with the top players who went deep in the Olympics tiring and losing early as well.

They included Nadal and Nishikori who both lost in the third round against Coric and Tomic respectively. Nishikori lost in two tiebreaks but Nadal looked especially lackluster as Coric made short work of him 6-1, 6-3.

It was a good week for Coric who made quarterfinals of a Masters event for the first time but unfortunately, he had to retire in his match with Cilic. Johnson also had a solid run to the quarterfinals before falling to Dimitrov and he is now the top-ranked American at #21.

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As for Dimitrov, he won four consecutive matches for the first time since making the Wimbledon semis in 2014 when he made the semis in Cincy. So he will feel very happy with his week despite losing 6-4, 3-6, 5-7 to Cilic after Cilic served at only 44% first serves.

Thiem made quarterfinals as well where his fast court game got exposed by Raonic who defeated him 6-3, 6-4. Thiem will never be a great fast court player but fortunately for him, there are very few fast courts around these days.

In the other quarterfinal, Murray defeated Tomic 6-4, 6-4. And in the top half semis, Murray continued to look impressive when he defeated Raonic 6-3, 6-3 and in the process, he exposed Raonic’s weak backhand.

  • The Final

So we were all set for a final between Murray and Cilic with Murray the overwhelming favorite. I was quite impressed with Murray throughout the week who was now on a 22-match winning streak and didn’t drop a set throughout the week.

It looked like he had taken over from Djokovic because the best someone did against him in a set was 6-4. I was impressed but as a Djokovic fan, I was concerned as well. Murray came from Rio where he won the gold medal the week before and didn’t look bothered at all in Cincy while players like Nadal and Nishikori fell early.

To add to that he played the first semi-final which started late at 7pm local time which meant that Cilic wouldn’t get much rest after a tough battle against Dimitrov. It was also Cilic’s first Masters final.

Cilic did well at the beginning of the match, however, to get over the nerves of a first Masters final and then did even better by breaking Murray twice to go up 5-2 and serve for the first set.

Murray got one break back but Cilic had no problem holding serve the second time to win the first set 6-4. It was ‘match on’. At the start of the second set, you could sense urgency from Murray as he began with those annoying ‘Come on!’ utterances again.

It is his way of trying to intimidate his opponent the same way Nadal tries to intimidate with those over the top fist pumps. Cilic handled it well who responded with a loud ‘Come on!’ of his own whenever he won a big point.

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It really is the easiest thing to counter but I guess some pros are too PR conscious these days and refrain from doing so. What a joke! That said, Cilic almost did choke at 5-5 and 40-15 on Murray’s serve.

He missed a shocker of a forehand and I thought here comes Choker Cilic again just like he did at Wimbledon against Federer and many times before. He missed three break points in that game but fortunately he eventually took advantage of one and got the break.

I think he then served out the match with relative ease to win 6-4, 7-5.

  • Conclusions

Congrats to Cilic then on his first Masters title in his first Masters final against someone who seemed unstoppable. In the end, it was a case of an attacking player who was on his game hitting a defensive player off the court.

Sure, tiredness could have played a part for Murray but he didn’t look bothered at all through the week and Cilic was the one who played the second semi that went deep into a third set.

We have seen this kind of thing happen plenty of times with Nadal as well where he gets hit off the court by a big hitter who is on his game. Nadal and Murray are very similar in certain respects.

They are predominantly defensive players which can backfire when they play against these types of opponents. You don’t see this as much with Federer or Djokovic. Some people think Djokovic is also a defensive player but he if an offensive player in many ways.

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This was a couple of days ago so Murray will be at 22

Most importantly, he turns defense into offense much better than Nadal or Murray. Nadal and Murray tend to be more negative in their approach which is why something like today can happen.

There is a subtle difference between what they do in defense and what Djokovic does in defense which I think is important to understand. Murray has become less negative since Lendl came back but today he was exposed.

It’s been a great run from him anyway and he certainly has a shot at winning the US Open again. Today’s loss just puts some doubt in my mind again. Up until the final, he looked very threatening to Djokovic.

You could even say he looked like the favorite for the US Open. But you can’t just write Djokovic off who had a couple of losses. That’s nothing. It’s just that expectations are huge for him after what he achieved.

I think skipping Cincy was the right decision even though it potentially cost him the career Masters. I hear he still has some problems with his left wrist and his body and mind needed rest from all the tennis.

Hopefully, he just comes back and shuts down all this Murray hype with a third US Open title but I am just looking forward to having him back again. Even as a fan, I was getting bored of his dominance so for me this break was also a good thing.

I know the hardcore fans can never understand that but I think for tennis it is also good to see new faces and someone else winning big titles even if it is Murray. Yeah, I’m not a fan but he also provides Djokovic with a new challenge.

Well, the US Open is only one week away now and I’m grateful that they will have a roof this year because judging from all the rain in Cincy we will have some more in New York.

I am very much looking forward to the final slam of 2016 and I will be back with a draw post over the weekend. Let me know what you think!

  • Highlights

Who is the US Open favourite?

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