2011 US Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Round of 16
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Juan Monaco (ARG)
Federer got a bit of a scare from Marin Cilic in the third round, dropping the second set, but he didn’t let that effect his game at all and he advanced in four sets. He is playing outstanding, aggressive tennis and when Roger is on the attack you better watch out!
I watched the whole match between Monaco and my boy, Tommy Haas. I was excited to see Haas win the first set, but as the match went on he just ran out of steam. Monaco was too consistent with his groundstrokes and Haas simply didn’t have enough the tank. This is only the second time, and the first since 2007, tht Monaco has been to the fourth round of the US Open.
Federer is 2-0 against Monaco and that includes a win over him earlier this year in Miami. Monaco was able to take advantage of Haas by wearing him down using his excellent two-handed backhand (that he hits very flat), a big first serve and superb forehand. The difference here is that where Haas ran out of gas, Federer won’t! Federer should be able to use his serve to win many free points and once the ball is in play, the variety of Federer should keep Monaco off-balance. I look for Federer to win in straight sets.
Nick’s Pick – Federer in 3 sets
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)
Djokovic looked very comfortable in his straight-set victory over Nikolay Davydenko in the third round. If that match were a few years ago, Davydenko would’ve given him more trouble, but the Russian has lost a step and it showed.
Dolgopolov dropped the first set to Karlovic in the third round, but battled back and won in four. The 22-year old Ukrainian comes in ranked #23 in the world and is playing in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for only the second time in his career.
This is the first career meeting between these two and it is going to be entertaining! Dolgopolov is a showman on the court. He is as unpredictable as a bumblebee flying around flowers! You never know where he is going to go and he plays an unorthodox style. He is super-talented, acrobatic, moves extremely well, has a weird serve with a low toss and his groundstrokes are excellent. On the other side, you know what you are going to get from Djokovic. He has the best return of serve in the game, his movement if off-the-wall, his groundstrokes are remarkable and his serve is fantastic. The difference in this match will be Djokovic’s ability to come in and take the ball early. Dolgopolov won’t have the opportunity to the time to move around the court like he usually does because Djokovic will be controlling the points. This match could certainly go four sets, but in the end Djokovic will prevail,
Nick’s Pick – Djokovic in 4 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Donald Young (USA)
Murray looked much better against Lopez than he did against Haase and that was great to see. With the top three guys still playing, Murray is able to fly under the radar a bit and that has helped him. He has been to at least the semis of every Grand Slam this year, and I know he doesn’t want that streak to end!
I couldn’t be happier for Donald Young. I have been a supporter of his ever since he turned pro at 14, and even though it has taken a while, it is fantastic to see him playing well and winning meaningful matches. This is his first appearance in the fourth round of a Grand Slam and a win here would clearly be the biggest of his career.
Young is 1-0 against Murray and that win came earlier this year at Indian Wells. You know that Murray will remember that match and is going to want to prove to Young that, that was a fluke. On the other hand, Young should be full of confidence and having beaten Murray once, he knows he can do it again. Young has played excellent tennis in the last two rounds, his movement has been fantastic, his touch and feel around the net is superb, and he is even playing a bit more aggressive. He isn’t getting many free points off of his serve, and to beat Murray he is going to need more there. He has already played the spoiler twice, beating Wawrinka and Chela and he can do it again! If you look at the rankings and the results in 2011, you have to give the edge to Murray, but Young has already pulled off two upsets so don’t count him out!
Nick’s Pick – I have to give the edge to Murray, but watch out!
Gilles Muller (LUX) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Nadal faced an uphill battle in the first set against Nalbandian as he was broken early on. As usual, that didn’t faze him and he was able to advance in three sets. He does have a blister and he was cramping after the match, so we will have to see if he is affected by either of those in this match.
Muller is a former quarterfinalist here and his game sets up nicely for the hard courts. He knocked out Ernets Gulbis in the second round, which was a very good win considering how well Gublis had been playing entering the tournament. Could he pull off another big win and upset the defending champion?
Nadal is 2-1 against Muller and beat him earlier this year in the third round at Wimbledon in straight sets. Muller isn’t someone Nadal can take lightly. He has beaten him before, and if he gets on a roll with her serve he could do it again. The other question heading into this match is Nadal’s health. He had to call a trainer out to look at a blister in his win over Nalbandian and then after the match he was cramping up so bad in the press conference he fell to the ground. Hopefully, neither of those will affect him, but it is something to keep your eye on.
What’s exciting about this match is you have two lefties. Anytime that happens, you better watch out! The advantage Muller has with his serve will be negated a bit because he is facing another lefty. Usually, he is able to serve it out wide on the ad court to a right-hander’s backhand, but that wont be the case here. When you combine that with everything else Nadal does, you have to give the Spaniard the edge. This could certainly go four sets, but in the end I see Nadal advancing.
Nick’s Pick – Nadal in 4 sets