So we are underway with the final slam of 2015 and it was the good start for the favorite Djokovic, and not only because he won his match against Souza 6-1, 6-1. 6-1. The fourth seed Nishikori, who is in Djokovic’s half and who he lost to last year, was upset 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(6), 4-6 by Paire. Nishikori, who made the final last year, was up *6-4 in the fourth set tie-break. That is another very disappointing performance from him.
In a year that some thought he could win his first slam, he has not passed the quarterfinals of any slam. As far as I’m concerned his serve is just too weak and too much of a liability. He is too short and doesn’t win enough free points off his serve. It’s been another disappointing year for the generation of Nishikori, Raonic, and Dimitrov. There is still slam winning potential there, but only time will tell if it comes to fruition.
As far as Djokovic is concerned he got the kind of start he would have been looking for. Souza wasn’t great, but three breadsticks is nonetheless and impressive scoreline against a top 100 player. Djokovic made 75% first serves, hit 22 winners, and committed only 7 unforced errors. It was a masterful performance and it may even be fair to say that he is back after not being at his best in Montreal and Cincinnati.
Of course, it was just a first round match and the opponent was not of the highest quality, but it is good early signs for him. He looked in more attacking mode than he has of late and that is the key for him. When he becomes too defensive and passive guys like Murray and Federer can take advantage. He has probably been working hard with Becker in the last week on these things to make sure he is in the best possible shape to win a second US Open.
There is a long way to go but with Nishikori losing his draw, which is not very hard to begin with, has opened up even more. Djokovic’s toughest opponent before the final might now be Nadal who defeated Coric 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. But Nadal is still far from certain of a place in the quarterfinals. He will probably lose to Fognini, Raonic, or someone else. I do hope he makes the quarterfinals so Djokovic can teach him another lesson.
- Today’s Action
Today the second and third seeds Federer and Murray will start their US Open campaigns against Mayer and Kyrgios respectively. Pretty tough opening rounds for both players but of course you’d expect both of them to get through without too much trouble. If Kyrgios plays his best he could possibly cause Murray problems but that is a big if. Mayer almost defeated Federer in Shanghai last year, but I don’t expect Federer to have many problems this time around.
It will be interesting to see how Murray and Federer respond to the Djoker’s impressive win yesterday anyway. Stan and Berdych will be in action too, and so will Thiem.
- The Prediction Game
Ok so I had some requests for the prediction game and since I didn’t pick a prediction match for the first round I will pick two matches for today. They will be Murray vs Kyrgios and Federer vs Mayer. Remember to post your predictions on the predictions page before the matches begin. I changed the points allocation slightly so read the rules again and make sure you understand how everything works. Bring ’em on!
The is in your court.