Sunday, September 1, 2013

US Open Men's Round of 16 Bottom Half preview

The men's round of 16 have been set at the US Open, and the bottom half of the draw features matches that should excite tennis fans all over on Labour Day.

Richard Gasquet (8) vs. Milos Raonic (10)

Gasquet is one of the artists on the men's tour, and his flowing one-handed backhand can regale fans and experts alike. The Frenchman was troubled in the last round by Dmitry Tursunov before the Russian retired midway through the fourth set, and might feel the physical effects against the impressive Milos Raonic. There were doubts about Raonic following up on his Rogers Cup final appearance at the US Open, but the Canadian has been extremely impressive at Flushing Meadows. Raonic generates immense power off his shots, but most pleasing to his team was the tactical variety he showed in his win against the tricky Feliciano Lopez in the last round. Gasquet probably has the better all round game at this point in time, but if the match goes longer than three sets, Raonic definitely can win as he possesses the edge on the serve in addition to his superior physicality.

Janko Tipsarevic (18) vs. David Ferrer (4)

Tipsarevic showed his experience and nous in his victory over young American hopeful Jack Sock, mixing his trademark running with some extravagant winners. The Serb enjoys playing on the faster courts at the US Open, as it is conducive to his shot making. Across the net however lies one of the toughest competitors in the game in David Ferrer. The fourth seed hasn't had a great summer on the hard courts, and hasn't been at his best at the Open either. Tipsarevic is exactly the kind of tricky opponent that Ferrer can be vulnerable to. If Tipsarevic is to have any chance of causing the upset he would have to do it in straight sets. If the match extends into a marathon, it will suit Ferrer due to his superior endurance and tenacity.

Roger Federer (7) vs. Tommy Robredo (19)

It feels like it was only a few years ago, that Federer would consistently draw Robredo in the quarterfinals of grand slams. The two veterans have fallen on tough times since their peak, however Federer's struggles are relative to the standards he has set as the greatest player to ever play the game. Robredo has had an Indian summer this year, doing remarkably well to rebound after overcoming off court physical difficulties. Robredo has made it to the round of 16 on the back of his will to win and determination, while Federer has simply coasted through, the sublime tennis seen during the first week in keeping with the benchmark he set during his reign at the top. I wouldn't be surprised if Robredo made at least one of the sets close as he is a fighter, but he doesn't have the physicality to make things difficult for Federer, and the Swiss maestro should book his place in the quarterfinals on the back of his superior variety.

Phillip Kohlschreiber (22) vs. Rafael Nadal (2)

When the draw was made, many were expecting this match-up to be a repeat of the Cincinnati Masters final between Rafael Nadal and John Isner. In stead, for the second straight year Kohlschreiber beat Isner in the third round of the US Open. The German has a snippy single-handed backhand, and also loves to mix up his shots as witnessed in the way he tactically outwitted Isner. Nadal is a different challenge altogether, as the second seed has simply continued the tremendous form he showed in winning Montreal and Cincinnati. The serve has more zip to it, and the extra aggression is continuing to pay dividends. Nadal would have faced a sterner test against Isner, and though Kohlschreiber won't feel intimidated pitting his backhand against the Spaniard's forehand, a dream quarterfinal between Nadal and Federer should be sealed on the back of another solid victory for the world number two.
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