The initial week at the U.S. Open is complete and the men’s field has been scaled down to sixteen players. Two names missing from the roll call are Andy Roddick and Andy Murray. These two touted favorites were upset early on. Here’s a summary of the past seven days and an analysis of what could unfold the next few rounds.
While Rafael Nadal barely passed his pre-tournament exams in Toronto and Cincinnati, in his first three matches at the Open, the Spaniard gets an A plus. Despite being tested, with a beefed up first serve to the tune of 130 miles per hour at times, Nadal has dispatched each adversary in three sets. In the fourth round, Nadal will face compatriot Feliciano Lopez. With Nadal’s 5-2 record against his fellow citizen, Lopez is likely the subsequent sacrificial lamb.
After surviving a five set tussle in the first round against Fabio Fognini ranked 86th, Fernando Verdasco is in the round of 16 and will take on David Ferrer, the tenth seed. Although Verdasco has a 6-4 edge in their encounters, Ferrer prevailed at their last meeting on clay and at their only battle on hardcourt in 2004. David Nalbandian, one of the few players who could have troubled Nadal, was easily given his marching orders by Verdasco in the third round.
Also in the top section of the draw, seventh seed Tomas Berdych was surprised in the first round by Michael Llodra. However, the jaw dropper came today with Murray, the 2008 finalist and fourth seed, dismissed by Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round. The Swiss advanced for the third occasion to the fourth round in New York. Wawrinka will meet Sam Querrey for a spot in the quarterfinals. Consequently, for Querrey, this is the ideal scenario to book his maiden quarterfinal berth at a major.
The Spaniards have ruled and Tommy Robredo made sure to partake in the round of 16 festivities. With John Isner beaten by Mikhail Youzhny in the third round, Robredo and the Russian will fight for a place in the quarterfinals.
Another American propelled into the limelight this week was eighteen year old Ryan Harrison. After coming through three rounds of qualifying, Harrison stunned Ivan Ljubicic, the fifteenth seed, in the first round. Furthermore, Harrison was one point from a win in a fifth set tiebreaker in the second round. Harrison became the first American teen to vanquish a top twenty player at a major since Roddick in 2001 also at this event.