2011 US Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Quarterfinals
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
Federer dispensed of Juan Monaco in a quick 82 minutes 6-1, 6-2, 6-0. He never faced a break point the entire match and he won close to 60% of the points on Monaco’s serve. Needless to say, that was an easy win for him, and I don’t expect to see those same results against Tsonga.
I was very impressed by Tsonga as he was able to battle the NY crowds that favored Fish (as well as the swirling wind) and come back from a set down to beat the American in five sets. This is his first appearance in the quarters of the US Open and he is looking to get to the semis of a Grand Slam for the fourth time in his career.
Federer is 4-3 against Tsonga, and the two have played four times this year. Federer won in Doha and Rome earlier this year and Tsonga has won the last two at Wimbledon and Canada. I thought when Fish was up a set, Tsonga might fold and go down, but that wasn’t the case. He actually got stronger the longer the match went on and that was great to see. He doesn’t lack any confidence and he feeds off the crowd’s energy and having beaten Federer the last two times, he should be ready to go. He will try and hit to Federer’s backhand as much as possible and keep Federer pinned back behind the baseline. If he is able to do that, he could win this match.
On the other side, Federer and his coach, Paul Annacone, should go back and look at the tape of the previous two matches to try and glean any information they can. I think Federer, unlike Fish, will try and chip or slice his backhand return more which should take Tsonga out of his rhythm. Federer needs to come in as much as he can and make Tsonga pass him, because he doesn’t want to get into baseline rallies with the big Frenchman. I know Tsonga has won the last two matches, but I have to give a slight advantage to Federer. Watch out though because Tsonga is more than capable of pulling off this upset!
Nick’s Pick – Federer in 4 or 5 sets
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)
Djokovic and Alexandr Dolgopolov played one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament in the fourth round, which included a 16-14 opening set tiebreak. Once Djokovic survived that, he was able to take hold of the match and he never looked back.
Tipsarevic knocked out Juan Carlos Ferrero in four sets to reach the quarters of the US Open for the first time in his career. This is also his first time he has been to the quarters of any Grand Slam and a win here would be the biggest of his career.
Djokovic is 2-0 against his fellow countryman and I am sure these two know each other very well as they are both from Serbia and played Davis Cup together. Any time you get two players from the same country together, you know it’s going to be exciting! I love that Tipsarevic plays with the glasses on, he is like a Hollywood rock star out there! Not only that, but he can flat out play. He has a great forehand, moves exceptionally well, and his two-handed backhand is fantastic. Against Ferrero in the last round, he was hitting tremendous serves out wide, but this can be dangerous because when you do this it really opens up the court.
To beat Djokovic, he is going to have to play the match of his life. Djokovic does everything extremely well and really has no weaknesses. He seems to have a mental edge over the rest of his Serbian counterparts and that makes a big difference once the ball is in play. This is going to be a fun match to watch, but I see Djokovic moving through in straight sets.
Nick’s Pick – Djokovic in 3 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. John Isner (USA)
After a very long wait, Murray ended Donald Young’s great run, beating the young American in straight sets. Murray was extremely efficient, and while he didn’t serve well, he broke DY eight times and pressured his opponent throughout the match (Young had 53 unforced errors). This is how Murray likes to play and now he is one step closer to reaching the at least the semis of every Grand Slam this year.
Isner advanced to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career with a superb win over Gilles Simon in the fourth round. Isner won all three of his sets in the tiebreaker and he is playing fantastic tennis. He has worked so hard to get to this point and I couldn’t be happier for John!
Murray is 1-0 against Isner with that win coming in the fourth round of the 2010 Australian Open. This match features one of the best servers in the game versus one of the best return of servers in the game. Isner is going to have to have one heck of a serving day to beat Murray, because the Scotsman is usually able to negate the big serve of many players. Isner should also try using a big kick serve to open the court and give him some free points. I don’t feel Murray can stay back behind the baseline and win this match. He needs to stand closer to the baseline, otherwise Isner is going to use drop shots and his big groundstrokes to control the court. The longers this match goes, the more it favors Murray. If Isner is to win, I think he’s got to do it in three sets or a quick four sets. I have to give the edge to Murray based on the way the two have played this year, but if Isner is able to grab control early this could be an upset.
Nick’s Pick – Murray in 4 or 5 sets
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Andy Roddick (USA)
When Nadal’s match first started (the day before it ended!) he went down early to Muller, but on Thursday, when played resumed, he battled right back and was able to win in straight sets. He showed no signs of the cramps or blister problems that popped up in the third round and he looks as determined as ever to repeat his title here.
I wasn’t sure if Roddick was ever going to get a chance to finish his match after waiting for the rain for two days and then his match had to be moved off of Louis Armstrong court because of water bubbling up through the court! After all that, he was able to get the match in and he beat a darn good player in David Ferrer in four sets. Don’t look now, but Roddick is definitely a threat to dethrone Nadal!
Nadal is 6-3 against Roddick and they split their two matches last year (Nadal won in the World Finals and Roddick won in Miami). I am so happy that Roddick is playing excellent tennis again at the US Open, I couldn’t be happier for him. He now has one of, if not, the toughest test on his hand: beating Rafael Nadal. He will need to have a big serving day, and he needs to continue to break serve at the pace he has done thus far throughout the tournament. He cannot get into long cross-court rallies with the Spaniard, otherwise Nadal will use his heavy spinning balls to push Roddick back. Nadal will do what he does every time he takes the court, which is to compete harder than anyone else. He knows what he needs to do to win this match, and based on the way both men have played in 2011 I have to give the advantage to Nadal.
Nick’s Pick – Nadal in 4 sets