New world number one and gold medalist, Rafael Nadal, is seeded first in a major for the first time in his career. Rafa traditionally has had sub par results at Flushing Meadows, But Nadal 2008 is clearly different then ones of years past. Rafa’s main challenges should come from James Blake and David Nalbandian, but their form is always in question. Tomas Berdych could also do some damage with his big hitting game. Rafa could also face a fourth round test from Ivo Karlovic, which is never fun on such a fast surface. However, I just don’t see him losing this early.
Semifinalist: Rafael Nadal
David Ferrer is the highest seed in this quarter at four, but his game is not well suited on the fast courts of New York. Sixth seed, Andy Murray should be the favorite for this section if he keeps his head together. Andy’s recent play shows signs of a breakthrough at a major. Don’t count out Stanislas Wawrinka or Mikhail Youzhny who have been playing consistently all year. The surface is perfect for Feliciano Lopez’s big game, who took a set off of Roger Federer here last year. Juan Martin del Potro comes in off of four straight titles and could make some noise if he continues his red hot play.
Semifinalist: Andy Murray
Last year’s finalist, Novak Djokovic, starts his U.S. Open campaign in the third quarter. Andy Roddick is the next highest seed, but I honestly see him losing in the second round to Ernest Gulbis due to his recent horrendous play. Marat Safin is also in this quarter, but who knows what we’ll see from Marat. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is scheduled to make his return to the tour after knee surgery, but his form will be very questionable at best. This quarter should be Djokovic’s for the taking, if he doesn’t crash out like at Wimbledon.
Semifinalist: Novak Djokovic
Roger Federer is entering a major not seeded number one for the first time in almost five years. Fed is the four time defending champion, but he just hasn’t been himself all year. Lucky for him, he has a relatively easy quarter. Nikolay Davydenko is in this section, but has never been one to show up at majors. Richard Gasquet is in this section, but he is very streaky. Other than that, Roger doesn’t have much resistance for a semifinal berth.
Semifinalist: Roger Federer
Semifinals: Nadal def. Murray, Djokovic def. Federer
Final: Nadal def. Djokovic