Previewing Week 2 of the U.S. Open

Can Djokovic come back to form? Will Serena lose her No. 1 spot? Adom Dumanian investigates...

Men’s Draw:

Djokovic’s Half:

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [9] (Djokovic leads head-to-head 15-6)

Djokovic has played only 7 total sets entering the quarterfinals and is extremely well-rested after a surprising early exit at both Wimbledon and Rio. Although Djokovic has stated his “private issues” are behind him, his wife left his box midway through his first round match. Tsonga has also had a relatively easy path to the quarters, dispatching of the up and coming American Jack Sock in 4 sets in the fourth round. If Tsonga gets hot, he could pose a threat, but look for Djokovic’s defense to be too much for the Frenchman. Djokovic in straight sets.

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Lucas Pouille (FRA) [24] vs Gael Monfils (FRA) [10] (Monfils leads 1-0)

For the first time ever, three Frenchmen have advanced to the quarters. In the fourth round, Pouille shocked the tennis world, beating Rafael Nadal in a fifth set tiebreak. Pouille has now played 3 straight 5 set matches, and might not have enough left in the tank to beat the always-entertaining Gael Monfils, who might be having the best summer of his career. Monfils should be able to make quick work of his fellow countryman. Monfils in 4.

Murray’s Half:

Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [unseeded] vs Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) [3] (Del Potro leads 4-2)

The battle of two players in the Big Four Era (Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Nadal) to win a major will be the most entertaining quarterfinal. Del Potro perhaps had the shock of the summer, beating Djokovic in the first round of the Rio Olympics. He channeled his momentum to the finals, losing to an in-form Andy Murray. He seems to have recaptured his New York magic in breezing his way into the quarters. Wawrinka has possibly had the quietest run of any player in the quarters, and will look to attack Del Potro’s backhand throughout the match. Del Potro seemed to have tweaked his right shoulder in the fourth round, perhaps giving Wawrinka the slight edge to make it to the semis. Wawrinka in 5.

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Andy Murray (GBR) [2] vs Kei Nishikori (JPN) [6] (Murray leads 7-1)

Both Murray and Nishikori have encountered little resistance up to this point. Murray is coming off an excellent summer, as his renewed partnership with legend Ivan Lendl has produced a Wimbledon title and Olympic Gold Medal. Nishikori won’t have the weapons to defeat a red-hot Murray. Murray in 4.

Women’s Draw:

Serena’s Half:

Serena Williams (USA) [1] vs Simona Halep (ROU) [5] (Serena leads 7-1)

This year’s U.S. Open has immense implications for Serena as she could possible lose her #1 ranking for the first time since 2013. In her way stands Simona Halep, a counterpuncher from Romania who is able to generate deceptive power from her short frame. Halep has the veteran savvy to give Serena problems, but there is too much at stake for Serena to lose. Serena in straight sets.

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Karolina Pliskova (CZE) [10] vs Ana Konjuh (CRO) [unseeded] (first meeting)

An 18 year-old is in the quarters. Konjus upset 4 seed Radwanska in straight sets, outserving the perennial top player and using powerful groundstrokes to blow her off the court. She is set to play Pliskova, who recently beat Kerber in the final of Cincinnati, and is fresh off her win against Venus Williams in the fourth round. Like Konjus, Pliskova has an aggressive game, and whichever player controls the baseline will win the match. Pliskova in 3.

Kerber’s Half:

Caroline Wozniacki [DEN] (unseeded) vs Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) [unseeded] (Wozniacki leads 1-0)

Former #1 player in the world Wozniacki is looking like she is getting into form, upending promising American Madison Keys (8) in the fourth round. Sevastova, after an upset of French Open Champion Muguruza, is the first Latvian woman to reach the quarters at the U.S. Open since 1994. Much has changed since the two’s lone meeting way back in 2011, but Wozniacki’s experience under the bright lights of New York will be too much for Sevastova. Wonziacki in 3.

Roberta Vinci (ITA) [7] vs Angelique Kerber (GER) [2] (Tied 2-2)

If Kerber wins the U.S. Open, she will become the world’s new #1. Standing in her way is Vinci, who upset Serena Williams last year. An upset doesn’t look likely, as Kerber’s play has fans thinking that a true rivalry is brewing between Kerber and Serena. Kerber is poised to reach the final, and set up a showdown with Serena in a major final for the third time this year. Kerber in straight sets.

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