After finally ending his seventeen match losing streak, lady luck has not been kind to Donald Young as he looks extremely unlikely to defend his fourth round of last year when he takes on World No.1 Roger Federer. Following this he will face either Bjorn Phau or a qualifier. Fernando Verdasco looks a likely third round opponent for Federer with two seemingly easy matches, first against Rui Machado. Machado is 1-13 on the year in main draw events and it seems unlikely to change here. The winner of Albert Ramos and former semi finalist Robby Ginepri will be Verdasco’s round two opponent. American hopeful Mardy Fish kicks off his campaign against Go Soeda. Soeda most recently made the semi finals in Atlanta and as a result entered the top 50 for the first time in his career. Veterans Nikolay Davydenko and Ivo Karlovic begin the tournament against qualifiers with Karlovic hoping to earn a likely tie with Gilles Simon. The sixteenth seeded Frenchman will be confident of defeating Michael Russell in the first round.
Having rested a recurring injury since the Olympics, Nicolas Almagro should be ready to go. The Spaniard will be hoping to improve on his performance from last year where he exited in the first round. Having upset Del Potro, Dolgopolov and Monaco in recent weeks, his opponent Radek Stepanek should be in confident form and there are much easier first round opponents about. Big servers Nicolas Mahut and Philipp Petzschner face off to play the winner of Almagro/Stepanek. Aside from Petzschner’s grass form earlier in the year, neither player has done much of note. Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic has a good chance of moving into the second round with a draw against Flavio Cipolla. Cipolla has won just once in the North American warm up events so far and in the other four main draw matches he has failed to get any more than three games in one set. Young American Wildcard Jack Sock has a fairly tough opening rounder against a top 25 opponent in Florian Mayer. Sock has fond memories of New York having won the Mixed Doubles title here last year and also making the second round. Mayer’s results on hard courts are disappointing this year, winning just three times. After a long time out with injury last year Sam Querrey has finally moved back into the top 30 and is seeded number 27 here. Querrey has twice beaten opponent Yen-Hsun Lu and will be confident of doing so again in his current form. The rest of the section looks fairly weak with the returning Somdev Devvarman facing a clay courter in Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo and Denis Istomin taking on Jurgen Zopp. Zopp has impressed on the challenger circuit but has been far from convincing when making the step up. The quarter is rounded off by Tomas Berdych who will be hoping for a rematch with Nicolas Almagro, after their infamous Australian Open spat. Berdych will be hoping for better luck than when he played his last Belgian opponent in a big tournament as he takes on the promising David Goffin.
In the same half of the draw is Andy Murray, he takes on Alex Bogomolov in what should be a fairly straight forward encounter. The pair faced each other three times last year with Murray winning in Cincinnati and Tokyo. The next round poses as little danger with Murray taking on the slumping Ivan Dodig or a qualifier. Thomasz Bellucci faces Pablo Andujar in what should be an intriguing encounter. Andujar is learning to play better on hard courts while Bellucci’s sometimes erratic style of play could get him in trouble against the solid Spaniard. Andy’s mother Judy will be delighted to see that Feliciano Lopez is a potential round three opponent, but Lopez must get past Robin Haase first. Murray struggled past Haase in this tournament last year, beating the Dutchman in five sets. Fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers begins the tournament with a match against US Wildcard Denis Kudla and could potentially face another in James Blake if Blake sees off Lukas Lacko in the first round. Milos Raonic is the definite danger to Murray in this section a likely fourth round opponent. Raonic will be confident of repeating his Wimbledon straight sets victory over Santiago Giraldo while the Canadian’s big serve should see off either Igor Andreev or Paul Henri-Mathieu.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be pleased to see that his section is qualifier heavy, with five of the sixteen spots in this section containing a qualifier. He kicks off the tournament facing one and will then take on either Martin Klizan, who gave John Isner an almighty scare this past week, or Alejandro Falla. While both have shown they are capable at times on this service, both are fonder of clay and Tsonga should have no trouble here. After a good few weeks, Jeremy Chardy squeezed into the seeds and is rewarded with a first round match with Filippo Volandri. Volandri has not won a match on hard courts in four years and it seems unlikely to change here. There are much worse second round opponents for the Frenchamn than Tatsuma Ito and Matthew Ebden and it would be no surprise to see him facing Tsonga in the third round. Kei Nishikori earned similar luck, kicking off with qualifiers in the first two rounds. A third round tie with a qualifier could happen but is very unlikely to happen. Adrian Ungur plays one for the chance to take on twelfth seed Marin Cilic. Cilic should see off the threat of Aussie Marinko Matosevic fairly comfortably.
On first reflection, Novak Djokovic appears to have the kinder half of the draw and will kick off his campaign against Paolo Lorenzi. This will be the second first round tie between the pair after Djokovic dropped just two games against the Italian in Australia. After that he will play a qualifier or clay courter Rogerio Dutra Silva. Eighteen year old wildcard Dennis Novikov could have done worse than drawing Jerzy Janowicz. The Pole has been impressing on the challenger tour but is yet to convert this to consistency on the big stage. Julien Benneteau has not shown great form coming into the tournament but should be able to match his 2011 effort of the third round. He plays Olivier Rochus, whom he most recently beat in Rennes last year. Depending on his physical state, Alexandr Dolgopolov could be dangerous here. His health problems mean consistency is often lacking from week to week but when on, is hard to deal with. Dolgopolov will face Jesse Levine, another player failing to get to grips with the main tour. Levine has gone just 1-8 on the year in hard court matches. Marcus Baghdatis will have to wait a bit longer for the chance to scare a top seed as he often does, but should at least get one step closer with a qualifier waiting in the first round. Stanislas Wawrinka is finally showing some form and was only stopped by fellow Swiss Roger Federer in Cincinnati last week. An improving Sergiy Stakhovsky could give Wawrinka a scare but a second round appearance should not be in danger. Steve Darcis is coming into form at just the right time having upset Istomin, Roddick and Malisse in Winstom Salem and should have no trouble with a terribly out of form Malek Jaziri.
Juan Martin Del Potro has the chance to set up a rematch of the Bronze Medal match at the Olympics if he makes it as far as the quarters. The tennis gods continue to punish David Nalbandian for his sins at Queens giving him Del Potro as a first round opponent. Ryan Harrison will be hoping to showcase his talent on the big stage again but must not underestimate the German Benjamin Becker who is first up for the temperamental American. Lukasz Kubot takes on Leonardo Mayer and No. 26 seed Andreas Seppi faces a match fit Tommy Robredo in what seem like fairly uninspiring matches to decide who is most likely Del Potro’s third round opponent. In an Argentine-heavy section, Juan Monaco will be hoping to at least match his fourth round appearance of 2011. Monaco takes on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in round one and either Fabio Fognini or Edouard Roger-Vasselin after. Garcia-Lopez notably beat Andy Murray at Indian Wells this year but has otherwise had a quiet year. Carlos Berlocq has a tough tie against Bernard Tomic on his less-preferred surface and will most likely struggle. The winner will face most likely Andy Roddick, who takes on a qualifier, and the big match occasion will definitely suit Tomic.
David Ferrer rounds off the top four seeds and will face Kevin Anderson first. The South African is yet to regain his form having lost the last four matches without taking a set. An all-Spaniard second round is possible too with Daniel Gimeno-Traver taking on a qualifier but Gimeno-Traver’s form outside of clay is questionable at best. Former winner Lleyton Hewitt has an extremely winnable tie against Germany’s Tobias Kamke and having beaten potential second round opponent Mikhail Youzhny last week will be happy with his place. However Youzhny is not a certainty to go through, with big serving lefty Gilles Muller a tough proposition for the No.28 seed. Tommy Haas could well shock the field here if he continues the form he has shown since the French Open. Haas has made multiple finals this year and was the first player to take a set off Novak Djokovic on a hard court since John Isner in the Indian Wells final. Five setters may be an issue for the 34 year old but there is no doubting his quality right now and there should be too much for Ernests Gulbis. An American is guaranteed a second round spot as former NCAA champion Steve Johnson takes on the serve and volley-ing Rajeev Ram. Only 2-8 on hard courts this year, Jurgen Melzer will be hoping for better and starts off his campaign with a qualifier. If successful, he could face the Frenchman Richard Gasquet who shouldn’t see much resistance from Albert Montanes.
Janko Tipsarevic was bumped up to eighth seed after Nadal’s withdrawal and definitely has gained from it with a suspect looking section. First round opponent Guillaume Rufin is much more comfortable on clay and has rarely played on the main tour this year. Much the same could be said for Jan Hajek who will be hoping to face Tipsarevic in round two but must see of Brian Baker first. Baker has struggled since Wimbledon, but did earn an impressive straight sets win over Philipp Kohlschreiber in Cincinnati. The winner of Viktor Troicki/Cedrik-Marcel Stebe will be confident of making it to the third round after a double qualifier match was drew beside them. Stebe has struggled to build on his performances of last year and Troicki should do enough to take victory here. In the remaining section of the draw lies a mix of big servers and unpredictable but talented players. Two of the big servers do battle with Philipp Kohlschreiber and Michael Llodra up against each other in round one. Llodra has been struggling on the singles circuit recently so expect the German to progress here. The winner will face Benoit Paire or Grigor Dimitrov, a match up which is likely to frustrate and delight in equal measure. John Isner will be expected to be the best performing American here this fortnight and should perform to his level as tenth seed. However first round opponent Xavier Malisse owns a 2-1 head to head over him, but perhaps more notably Isner won their most recent encounter. Mikhail Kukushkin will be hoping to meet Isner in the second round having defeated Jarkko Niemenen on the two occasions the pair have met.
Federer d. Querrey
Murray d. Tsonga
Isner d. Ferrer
Djokovic d. Del Potro
Federer d. Murray
Djokovic d. Isner
Djokovic d. Federer to retain US Open title