2009 US Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Round 3
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Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
Federer has looked extremely comfortable and confident in his first two wins. He is looking for his sixth consecutive US Open title, a feat that no one has accomplished before. It seems like the only thing standing in his way right now is his own self. If he continues to play like he has been over the last couple of months, there is a very good chance he will be the last man standing!
The first big moment of Hewitt’s career came on this stage back in 2001 when he upset four-time champion Pete Sampras in straight sets. At the age of 28, he is still a dangerous player who is capable of beating the top guys on the tour. Whenever Hewitt takes the court, there is always excitement in the air!
Federer and Hewitt have a long history of playing against one another. They have faced 22 times previously, and Federer is 15-7 in those matches. Federer has also beaten Hewitt the last 13 times they have played, including just a couple of weeks ago in Cincinnati. These two men know each other well, and there won’t be any surprises out there! Hewitt will give everything he has and then some more to win this match. He moves extremely well laterally, loves to hug the baseline and has great groundstrokes. He cannot get into long rallies, especially with Federer, and expect to win because Federer will just wear him down. Hewitt has to get out of his comfort zone and go for big shots and winners more than he is accustomed too. He has no chance of winning if he doesn’t take advantage of every single opportunity he has. Because of the injuries that have slowed him down over the last couple of years, he isn’t the same guy he was five or six years ago, but he is still someone I would want in my foxhole. Hewitt can certainly take a set, but I look for Federer to advance.
Nick’s Pick – Federer in 3 or 4 sets
Andy Roddick (USA) vs. John Isner (USA)
Roddick has cruised in the first two rounds and really relaxed on the court right now. He loves playing in front of the home fans and this is a great chance for Roddick to recapture the glory of 2003, when he won his first and only Grand Slam title. Everyone is looking forward to a potential Roddick/Federer semi, which would be a rematch of the great Wimbledon final we saw earlier this summer.
Isner had a nice run this summer, reaching the semis in Indianapolis, the quarters in Los Angeles, and the semis in Washington. He comes into the tournament ranked #55 in the world, and seems to be really coming into his own. Isner is also a former collegiate champion and was the #1 ranked player in the NCAA’s for much of 2007.
Roddick is 2-0 against Isner, and just beat him earlier this summer in Washington DC. It is always fun when you get two Americans together at the US Open. The crowd will be rooting for both guys and this will be a fun match to watch. Isner is a big guy with a huge serve and powerful groundstrokes. He moves fairly well for somebody his height (6’9”) and he is always a threat. Right now though, it is tough to pick against Roddick. He is calm, cool, and collected and playing excellent tennis. He is placing his serve well and is in great physical shape. I commend the job that Larry Stefanki has done with Roddick and I see him winning this match in four sets.
Nick’s Pick – Roddick in 4 sets
Taylor Dent (USA) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)
It was absolutely fantastic to see Taylor Dent win what was one of the best matches of the tournament thus far. Both he and his opponent, Ivan Navarro, play a serve-and-volley style which reminded me of the game 20 years ago! Dent, who lives and trains at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy, is making one of the greatest comebacks in sports and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. This is the first time he has been into the third round of a Grand Slam since the 2005 US Open!
Murray needed four sets to beat the pesky Paul Capdeville in the second round. After dropping the second set, Murray quickly refocused and pounced all over Capdeville, losing only two games in the next two sets. If Murray continues to play like he did in the last two sets, there may be no one that can stop him from winning this title.
Murray is 2-0 against Dent with both of those wins coming back in 2005. I want to say again how happy and excited I am for Taylor to reach this point. He is one of the few serve-and-volley guys we have left on the tour, and it is wonderful to see him winning consistently. It will be interesting to see how Dent recovers after such a long match in the second round. Against Murray he will have to have a big-time serving day, continue to come into the net whenever he can, and just give it all. Murray has an excellent return of serve, which will not making things any easier for Taylor. Murray has all the tools and can hit just about any shot in the book. The longer this match goes, the more it favors Murray because of his strength and endurance. If Dent is going to win, it has to be in three sets. This match is going to be extremely fun to watch, and in the end I have to give the edge to Murray.
Nick’s Pick – Murray in 4 sets
Gael Monfils (FRA) vs. Jose Acasuso (ARG)
Monfils beat Andreas Beck in straight sets to advance to the third round of the US Open for the second straight year. Monfils has been to at least the fourth round of the last four Grand Slam tournaments he has played in. He is one of my favorites to watch because of his eccentric style on court and his ability to run down just about every ball.
Acasuso picked up a big win, knocking out 18th-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer in the second round. This is the first time in nine attempts that he has been to the third round of the US Open and it is only the second time he has ever been to the third round of any Grand Slam tournament.
Monfils is 1-0 against Acasuso, with that win coming earlier this year on clay. If you want to be entertained, than this is the match for you! Monfils’ unpredictability on the tennis court makes him a crowd favorite and a joy to watch. He can hit the ball from anywhere and there is talent just oozing out of him. Acasuso, who prefers clay, has a big serve, a killer forehand, and a very nice one-handed backhand. Monfils cannot go off track in this match and start making crazy amounts of unforced errors. He has to keep focused and play his game because if he does that he will be fine. Acasuso certainly can win this match and who knows this could be a five-setter. I have to go with Monfils, but strap in because this could be a wild ride!
Nick’s Pick – Monfils in 4 sets