The suspense is over. With Rafael Nadal’s ranking now at number 3, the burning question was whether Roger Federer will have to face his nemesis prior to the finals. The prospect of a Roger versus Rafa final remains alive with these two on opposite sides of the draw. On the other hand, there will be no Williams sisters final. Serena and Venus can only clash in the semifinals.
Federer will be aiming for a sixth consecutive U.S. Open trophy and his recent win in Cincy demonstrates that the world number one has a good shot. Still, 2003 U.S. Open champ Andy Roddick who gave Federer an unforgettable battle at Wimbledon and Novak Djokovic, 2007 U.S. Open finalist, might be formidable semifinal opponents. Nadal may find himself in a dog fight right out of the blocks with Richard Gasquet as a first round adversary. With Rafa still not in full shape with his knees, another possible obstacle will be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals. Last year’s finalist, Andy Murray could meet Nadal in the semifinals. The Brit is hungry and healthy, a combination that may stand in the way of Nadal reaching his first U.S. Open final. In the quarterfinals, Murray might see Juan Martin Del Potro. Although the Brit has had Del Potro’s number, the Argentine may pull an ace off his sleeve. Should conditioning not become a factor, Del Potro has the tools to get to his first major final.
Top seed Dinara Safina has a tough path to the quarterfinals with Alisa Kleybanova, Lucie Safarova possible rivals in the early rounds. Jelena Jankovic, Safina’s potential quarterfinal counterpart, may have Sabine Lisicki or Ana Ivanovic to contend with. Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova could be semifinals match ups for either woman. Dementieva has looked great in the lead up tournaments and is well positioned to carry her first major. Although reigning French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova has been dealing with injury, she is a threat to take her second U.S. Open.
Besides the Williams sisters, no other women have generated as much interest as to their seeding as Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters. Sharapova and Dementieva could collide in the third round. Victoria Azarenka and Marion Bartoli might be early round opponents for Clijsters. For Kim, the good news is that she has beaten these players since her comeback. However, Clijsters may need to go through Venus to get past the quarters. Despite Serena’s lack luster showing in the warm events, the defending champion has usually been able to shine on the big stage. Therefore, Serena has to be the favorite not only against possible quarterfinal opponent Vera Zvonareva, but for the tournament.
So, lots of intrigue on both the women and men’s side. Will there be the crowning of a new champion? Or will Roger and Serena repeat and continue the building of their respective dynasties? For a look at the complete draws, click here or visit the official 2009 US Open site at www.usopen.org.