The U.S. Open draw has been unveiled with the usual suspects at the top pack. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are the highest seeds followed respectively by Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. For some, the path has multiple green lights, but for others it is lined with yellow flags. Here’s a breakdown of the draw.
After his victories at the French Open and Wimbledon, Nadal is once more in pursuit of the U.S. Open trophy, the sole major he lacks. In 2008, the Spaniard was halted in the semifinals by Murray and last year in the same round by Juan Martin Del Potro, the champion. Although Nadal has been the most prolific performer on grass and clay this season, hardcourt has been a different story. Nadal has a lone final appearance in January in Doha and went down to Nikolay Davydenko. With neither injury nor fatigue an issue this time, Nadal is capable of going the distance. However, there may be a significant boulder in his way in the quarterfinals.
Finally in shape after hip surgery, David Nalbandian has made himself part of the conversation and could clash with Nadal in the quarterfinals. Although Nadal recorded the win at their last meeting at the Sony Ericsson Open in March, Nalbandian’s form has improved markedly since then. Moreover, Nalbandian took the title as a wildcard at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic earlier this month. As a result, the Argentine will not be an easy customer for the Spaniard.
While Fernando Verdasco, the eight seed, is technically another likely quarterfinal counterpart for Nadal, Verdasco is at best a minute obstacle. With a 10-0 record against his countryman, in a five set match, Nadal is a sure bet.
De novo, Nadal has been placed on a collision course with Murray to reach his first U.S. Open final. Twice on hardcourt this year, Murray has comprehensively beaten Nadal including the Rogers Cup two weeks ago. After dreadful results most of the season, Murray is at last in form and defended his title in Toronto. If they clash in the semifinals, Nadal will have a tough time getting a pass.