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American's Open Hopes 2011:

Realistic Chances for our Men


August 28, 2011 | 01:05 PM

Serena. The Bryans. Maybe Fish. That's the good news, and the whole story, as far as title hopefuls go for Americans this year. After his year, I've given up hoping for a Roddick miracle, and Isner can't possibly serve enough aces to win 21 sets there.

Here's a look at MEN whose draws lend hope to wins, and whose don't (women in a post tomorrow). For the sake of comparison, we'll look at the 1st round yield for American men last year.

1st Round Hopes: (Without bad luck, I predict we'll win 5 of these matches)

- #8 Fish (he should not be stopped by #92 German Kamke)

- #45 Bogomolov (heavily favored over #525 fellow American Steve Johnson)

- #28 Isner (he beat #60 Baghdatis 3 weeks ago in Montreal; Marcos is 2-4 on hard courts this summer)

- #85 Young (as a WC, Donald had the good luck to draw #156 Lukas Lacko from Slovakia)

- #63 Blake (lucky to draw an unknown qualifier, Jesse Galung from NED)

- #21 Roddick (heavily favored to beat #95 American Russell, but without confidence, anything could happen)

- #71 Sweeting (has a 50-50 chance with #68 Denis Istomin, UZB)

2nd Round Hopes: (all should win without a hitch)

- Fish (#130 de Bakker, a clay courter from NED, or #184 Jaziri from Tunisia)

- Isner (over #358 Ginepri or #90 Souza)

- Roddick (over #96 Gicquel or American junior #553 Jack Sock)

3rd round Hopes:

- Fish (over #29 seed Llodra or #34 Anderson)

- Isner (over #6 seed Soderling, who has been injured and may be out of form if he is fit enough to win his first two)

- Roddick (the #22 seed won't have the odds in his favor over #10 seed Almagro, but on hard courts he is favored)

4th Round Hopes to reach the quarters (I wouldn't bet on both winning):

- Fish (his odds with #11 seed Tsonga would be about 50-50; Federer would presumably await the winner)

- Roddick (on hard courts, were he confident, he would be favored over #5 seed Ferrer with the Spaniard not in quite the form he was early in the year; Nadal would presumably await the winner in the quarters)

1st Round Upsets for Americans to make: (I predict 2 of these upsets will happen in our favor)

- #67 Harrison v #27 seed Cilic, scheduled to play 11am Monday, but could be postponed)

- #208 Yani v #62 Aussie Tomic, scheduled to play 11am Monday, but could be postponed)

- #553 Sock v #96 Gicquel, the oldest player in the singles draw at 34)*

- #358 Ginepri v # 90 Brazilian clay courter Joao Souza)

- #116 Reynolds v #77 Nalbandian

Harrison has a 31% chance v Cilic according to Jeff Sackmann's current hard court rankings on his heavytopsin.com blog.

Yani has a chance, given Tomic has won only 1 match on hard courts this summer, and Michael's won 4.

Sock has a good chance against the old vet Gicquel, who has played and lost his only match outdoors on hard courts this year (he's won 12 in the winter on indoor hard in Challengers).

Ginepri has an excellent chance against Souza, a clay courter who's played and lost the only match on hard courts this summer since a Challenger in Mexico in June (Robbie is 7-5 on outdoor hard courts this summer, including Challenger tournies) has a good shot in Flushing where he's played well enough to reach the semis, in '05 against Agassi, and has only lost 3 times in first rounds in the 10 years he's played).

Reynolds has a chance simply because Nalbandian's only won 1 or 4 matches on hard courts this summer, after being out for two months before Queens.

I'll be watching Sock (our U18 national champ) on Tues. and Wed in Queens, unless they schedule him in Ashe. Last year when I watched him there I was impressed with his FH and his foot speed, although #63 Chiudenelli chewed him up 1 and 1 in the 3rd and 4th sets. If Harrison or Yani are postponed until Tuesday, I'll watch them though I've seen both play recently (Indian Wells and Newport, respectively).

If my predictions are about accurate, we'll see 7 or 12 American men reach the 2nd round, 3 reach the 3rd round, and at least 1 go beyond, perhaps to the quarters.

How American men fared in 2010 (11 match wins 22 matches by 14 players):

2010 1st Round Winners (7):

- Harrison over #15 seed Ljubicic in 4 sets (Upset)

- Querrey (#20 seed) over Klahn in 4 sets

- Isner (#18 seed) over Gil in 3 sets

- Roddick (#9 seed) over Robert in 3 sets

- Fish over Hajek in 5 sets

- Blake over Vliegen in 3 sets

- Dent over Falla in 3 sets

2010 2nd Round Winners (4 including 3 seeds):

- Querrey (in 3 sets over Granollers)

- Isner (in 4 sets over Chiudinelli)

- Fish (in 3 sets over Cuevas)

- Blake (in 4 sets over Polansky)

2010 3rd Round Winners (final two wins):

- Querrey (in 3 sets over #14 seed Almagro)

- Fish (in 5 sets over Clement)

I don't expect a big swing in either direction this year (better or worse results), but I think the 12 American men this year will win at least as many matches (11) and get at least one round further than last year.

Rick

Rick


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