US Open Week 1: Q&A with tennis blogger Brian Stacey
Do you think there will be any early upsets like at Wimbledon?
It’s always my fear buying tickets to a tennis event that everyone I want to see will be long gone by the time I sit down to watch the semifinals. I’m sure if you’ve bought your US Open tickets for the second week, you’ve been fearing another Wimbledon-style upset fest. I think we’ll see one or two upsets, but not the bloodbath that was week one of Wimbledon.
On the men’s side, I think the likeliest upset is David Ferrer getting knocked out by Ernests Gulbis in Round 3 – if not before then. Ferrer hasn’t had a great summer and I don’t think an open draw is enough motivation to get him through. He took advantage in Paris only to get rolled by Rafa in the finals. That may get in his head a bit here too. As for earlier upsets, I think the top seven will have no problem making it through the first two rounds.
On the women’s side, I think Kvitova’s good run in New Haven could spell trouble for her second round match against Andrea Petkovic. Petko’s been slowly coming back from injury and, before her absence, was a real presence at slams. I think Petko takes it in three long sets. Ana Ivanovic has a tough second round against Varvara Lepchenko. Lepchenko will have the home crowd behind her and her heavy hitting could be a bit much for Ivanovic.
Roger Federer goes in seeded 7th – how badly does this hurt his chances?
Whether he goes in as the seventh seed or the 107th seed, I think Federer’s chances are always good. Sure, on his worst days, he can lose to 116th Sergiy Stakhovsky, but on his best days, Roger Federer is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. The problem with being ranked outside the top four is that Federer has found himself in Rafa’s quarter. Does this destroy his chances? Surely not, but it does make the path significantly harder. At least he’d have an easier Semifinal to rest up for either Djoker or Murray in the finals. Possible matchups aside, Fed’s biggest obstacle isn’t his seventh seed but his back. If he hasn’t fully healed, that could be problematic from the first point of the tournament.
Which American has the best chance at making the finals?
Obviously Serena on the women’s side has the best chance. She’s on fire this summer and probably more motivated than ever to make sure she doesn’t end the season with one lonely slam title. She’s got a tough draw, but if she can make it through Sloane Stephens in the fourth round, she’s golden until the finals against rival Victoria Azarenka.
There’s no way to be anything but bold on the men’s side, so I’ll be very bold: Ryan Harrison. If he makes it through Nadal in the first round, this could be the breakout slam we’ve all been expecting from him. That confidence, along with his big serve and heavy baseline hitting could be just what he needs to see his first major final. Long shot? Definitely, but it really is for all the US men this year.
What are Radwanska’s chances of breaking through?
You could argue that winning one of her three Premier titles would be a breakthough. Or, taking a set off Serena in the 2012 Wimbledon final. But, with so many slamless #1’s, I think it’s fair to say it’s not a breakthrough until you’ve earned that grand slam title. Unfortunately for Agnieska Radwanka, she’s had a rough summer and I’m not sure it’s going to translate to a good run at Flushing Meadows. She’s likely to hit a very tough R4 against Wimbledon Finalist Sabine Lisicki before a quarterfinal matchup against Li Na (or Jelena Jankovic if she finds her form, which may be more worrisome than Li Na). After that, she’d have the semifinals against Serena and Final against Azarenka. With her consistency looking shaky this summer, I’m not sure she has it in her.
Brian Stacey is a longtime tennis fan who joins TicketCity for the two weeks of the US Open to to talk all things tennis & answer your questions via social media during the tournament. Brian tweets his thoughts over at @Roddickulous and blogs when time permits. He still believes that Andy Roddick will win a Wimbledon title and has eternal optimism about US Men’s tennis. When not tweeting about tennis, Brian works to bring the best credit card offers and advice over at CreditCardGuide.com.