2013 U.S Open picks: Djokovic vs. Nadal

Djokovic’s quarter

Upset special: Tommy Haas over Juan Martin Del Potro in the fourth round. Haas is not quite as on fire as he was earlier this season, but he is well-rested. Del Potro, on the other hand, may not be 100 percent.
Deep sleeper: Marcel Granollers. His nearest seeds are Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire and no other unseeded player in the Fognini-Paire section is ranked higher than No. 75 in the world.
Prediction sure to go wrong: Jurgen Melzer in the third round. Melzer is coming off a long week in Winston-Salem and a potential second-round opponent, Igor Sijsling, destroyed him at the French Open.
Winner: Novak Djokovic. Only a 100-percent Del Potro would have a chance of stopping him.

Murray’s quarter

Upset special: Denis Istomin over Nicolas Almagro and into the fourth round. If Istomin can channel what was on display at the 2010 U.S. Open against Rafael Nadal, this is a draw on which he can capitalize.
Deep sleeper: Ivo Karlovic. The 6’10’’ Croat advanced through qualifying without dropping a set or even losing serve a single time. He fired 37 total aces in his first four qualifying sets.
Prediction sure to go wrong: Donald Young over Martin Klizan. Three straight wins for Young in qualifying is an amazing feat by his standards. Asking for one more over a 2012 U.S. Open fourth-round finisher may be too much.
Winner: Andy Murray. The defending champ lost early last year in Cincinnati, too…. And look what happened. No time to panic.

Ferrer’s quarter

Upset special: Dmitry Tursunov over Richard Gasquet and into the quarterfinals. Tursunov is a player who feeds off momentum, and he is borderline on fire right now. He has a clean bill of a health and a relatively short week in Winston-Salem will only help.
Deep sleeper: Feliciano Lopez. The Spanish left-hander is playing well and has been to the fourth round of the U.S. Open twice in his career. He will fly under the radar with guys like Milos Raonic, Jerzy Janowicz, and Ernests Gulbis in this section, but all of Lopez’s opponents will be vulnerable.
Prediction sure to go wrong: Ernests Gulbis over David Ferrer. Based on current form, Gulbis may actually be the odds-on pick to win if this third-round clash takes place. And that’s what makes it scary.
Winner: Jerzy Janowicz. With experience from having reached the Wimbledon semifinals plus an absolute dream draw in New York, the sky’s the limit.

Nadal’s quarter

Upset special: Tommy Robredo over Kei Nishikori and into the fourth round. A revitalized Robredo is an outstanding 31-17 this season. He is 16-11 lifetime at the U.S. Open and has been to the fourth round an incredible seven times, including twice in his last three appearances.
Deep sleeper: Bernard Tomic. It’s not often that nobody is talking about Tomic. A relative slump is the reason, but the 20-year-old Aussie remains dangerous and Kei Nishikori as his nearest seed is not exactly a terrible draw.
Prediction sure to go wrong: John Isner in the fourth round. The Nadal-Isner rematch of their Cincinnati final is already hyped out of control, which is why it just seems destined not to come to fruition. Isner could face Gael Monfils in the second round and Philipp Kohlschreiber—who beat him last year in New York—in the third.
Winner: Rafael Nadal. There are two threats in this quarter and Nadal just took care of both of them in Cincinnati.

Full bracket

First round
Djokovic over Berankis in 3, Becker over Rosol in 4
Nieminen over Kubot in 4, Dimitrov over Sousa in 3
Paire over Bogomolov in 5, Smyczek over Duckworth in 5
Granollers over Zopp in 3, Fognini over Ram in 4
Haas over Mathieu in 3, Gimeno-Traver over Lu in 5
Dolgopolov over Goffin in 5, Youzhny over Mahut in 3
Melzer over Donskoy in 3, Sijsling over Gojowczyk in 4
Hewitt over Baker in 4, Del Potro over Garcia-Lopez in 3

Murray over Llodra in 3, Hanescu over L. Mayer in 4
Young over Klizan in 4, Monaco over F. Mayer in 4
Seppi over Malisse in 4, Devvarman over Lacko in 4
Johnson over Kamke in 4, Istomin over Almagro in 5
Wawrinka over Stepanek in 4, Blake over Karlovic in 4
Baghdatis over Soeda in 4, Anderson over Brands in 3
Benneteau over Przysiezny in 3, Chardy over Stakhovsky in 4
Vesely over Kudla in 4, Berdych over Lorenzi in 3

Gasquet over Russell in 3, Robert over Olivetti in 5
Struff over Rufin in 4, Tursunov over Bedene in 4
Lopez over Serra in 3, Klahn over De Schepper in 5
Andujar over De Bakker in 4, Raonic over Fabbiano in 3
Janowicz over Gonzalez in 3, Sock over Petzschner in 4
Kuznetsov over Sela in 4, Tipsarevic over Cuevas in 3
Gulbis over Haider-Maurer in 3, Kukushkin over Martin in 3
Bautista Agut over Bellucci in 5, Ferrer over Kyrgios in 3

Federer over Zemlja in 3, Giraldo over Berlocq in 4
Mannarino over Zeballos in 3, Querrey over Pella in 3
Robredo over Matosevic in 4, Haase over Dancevic in 4
Tomic over Ramos in 4, Nishikori over Evans in 3
Isner over Volandri in 3, Monfils over Ungur in 4
Roger-Vasselin over Montanes in 4, Kohlschreiber over Altamirano in 3
Verdasco over Dodig in 5, Davydenko over Williams in 4
Pospisil over Dutra Silva in 3, Nadal over Harrison in 3

Second round
Djokovic over Becker in 3
Dimitrov over Nieminen in 4
Paire over Smyczek in 4
Granollers over Fognini in 4
Haas over Gimeno-Traver in 3
Youzhny over Dolgopolov in 4
Melzer over Sijsling in 3
Del Potro over Hewitt in 3

Murray over Hanescu in 3
Monaco over Young in 4
Seppi over Devvarman in 5
Istomin over Johnson in 5
Wawrinka over Blake in 4
Anderson over Baghdatis in 4
Benneteau over Chardy in 4
Berdych over Vesely in 3

Gasquet over Robert in 3
Tursunov over Struff in 3
Lopez over Klahn in 3
Raonic over Andujar in 3
Janowicz over Sock in 3
Tipsarevic over Kuznetsov in 4
Gulbis over Kukushkin in 4
Ferrer over Bautista Agut in 3

Federer over Giraldo in 3
Querrey over Mannarino in 5
Robredo over Haase in 4
Tomic over Nishikori in 5
Isner over Monfils in 3
Kohlschreiber over Roger-Vasselin in 4
Verdasco over Davydenko in 4
Nadal over Pospisil in 3

Third round
Djokovic over Dimitrov in 3
Granollers over Paire in 5
Haas over Youzhny in 4
Del Potro over Melzer in 4

Murray over Monaco in 3
Istomin over Seppi in 4
Wawrinka over Anderson in 4
Berdych over Benneteau in 3

Tursunov over Gasquet in 4
Lopez over Raonic in 5
Janowicz over Tipsarevic in 3
Gulbis over Ferrer in 4

Federer over Querrey in 3
Robredo over Tomic in 4
Isner over Kohlschreiber in 4
Nadal over Verdasco in 3

Fourth round
Djokovic over Granollers in 3
Haas over Del Potro in 5
Murray over Istomin in 3
Berdych over Wawrinka in 4

Tursunov over Lopez in 5
Janowicz over Gulbis in 5
Federer over Robredo in 3
Nadal over Isner in 3

Djokovic over Haas in 3
Murray over Berdych in 5

Janowicz over Tursunov in 4
Nadal over Federer in 4

Djokovic over Murray in 4
Nadal over Janowicz in 4

Djokovic over Nadal in 5

Comments and your own predictions are appreciated!

57 Comments on 2013 U.S Open picks: Djokovic vs. Nadal

  1. Hahahahahhahhhhhhhahhhhaaaaa Djoker djoker djoker yeahhhhhh here we go again djoker yahooo … how lucky djoker is .. ricky i think djoker must be ur step bro or cousin if not real 😀
    haas is not goona beat delpo ..
    murray over djoker in semi in 5
    Murray over rafa in 5 in final..

  2. And i have a feeling roger fed can catch the fire anytime and if isner managed to win against rafa then… roger can reach tne finals too and if he manged to beat rafa then he will be the fav like he did in 2012 Wimbledon …

  3. Given his draw, it’s Rafa’s title to lose. He probably wont get such a dream draw anytime soon.
    I’m not sure who he would be facing in the final though- Delpo, Muzz or Nole.

    • Monfils just WDed from the Winston-Salem final. Not great for Rafa fans because it means he has no chance against Isner in second round. Means Isner has very little chance of losing before R4 vs. Rafa.

  4. lol…the djokovic obsession continues 😛 I am just looking forward to seeing rafa navigate his way through all the threats and reach the final.. in the final I am confident he’l prevail regardless of the opposition.

    I have Rafa over Andy in the final. I also think this might be djokovic’s poorest showing at the USO for the past 3 years…just not sure so waiting to see him perform…dont think his mental aspect is where it has to be

  5. How funny is it that rafa gets the majority vote as favourite for USO ,whereas at RG, he and djo were almost joint favourites ! LOL…who would have thought this

  6. What has djokovic done post australian open to make you believe so? okay Rafa won’t be established the best on hard courts only if he wins USO, true..but djokovic needs to win this title to PROVE he is the best, yes he needs to prove… he has been mediocre on hard courts since dubai to be honest !

    and this best of 5 thing, I do not think it gives advantage to djokovic against Rafa as Rafa has abundant physical strength and he is mentally in a better shape too . He might have this adv over the field but surely against rafa . His chances of beating a red hot rafa will in fact be greater in best of 3…I am confident with this because of djokovic’s recent mental fragility , lapses in concentration and meltdowns at the end of the close matches (barring his SF over delpo-who was pretty drained in the decider though)

    A confident rafa is the man to beat. Nole has to prove himself here IN MY OPINION. WHen was the last time he won a slam outside Oz open ? almost 2 years

  7. I am more concerned about Rafa’s form at the open…I hope he peaks here…if he does, Then I do not think he’l be stopped. He was phenomenal in Rome but suddenly he was playing terrible tennis at RG with his tennis hitting an ebb against Fognini in rnd 3. He lifted his game so well after that though.

    RG was different in many ways…rafa was playing his first slam after a long time..he was playing best of 5 matches after quite some time and he was quite nervous..he took time to find ‘calm’. I hope he gets out of the blocks immediately at USO

  8. “WHen was the last time he won a slam outside Oz open ? almost 2 years”
    When was the last time Rafa won a slam outside the French Open?

  9. haha I know this would come from someone. Please note that we are talking about a hard court slam which is djokovic’s favourite and Rafa’s worst surface. It’s djokovic who has to defend his turf, rafa has been doing it almost always at RG.

    Plus, rafa won his last non-clay slam at USO 2010 but I can see non-clay slams from him in 2009 and 2008. Lesson to be learnt here : when rafa is playing at the level he is right now, he is able to capture non-clay slams. hence, I am counting on him to do it here.

  10. I had rafa as the third favourite before the montreal-cincy double…. so obviously, the phenomenal current form is what has made rafa move up my list…. I have andy as the 2nd fav and nole the 3rd….pretty close among the three of these though

  11. predictions are just that
    but if we are going to, I’ll say that Nole will not get through to the semi-final without dropping sets as you have it Ricky
    in 2011 yes, why not, but with his mental form of the last months, not likely

  12. I dont understand why so many people regard Isner as a threat to Rafa? OK Izzy has come a long way since that Wimbledon marathon serving fest but he will always be vulnerable against players who are able to return the majority of his serves.

    What I loved was the way you could see Rafa computing how to deal with him in the Cincy final – just as he did with Roger the day before. Few players think and adjust as fast as Rafa can on the court (with the exception of Murray – when he’s awake that is).

    Rafa is brimming with confidence and all the signs are his knee is holding up.

    Roger appears to have got his act together for the time being so if they meet it will be a tough match again but Rafa will prevail.

    A lot of people seem to be falling into the trap of underestimating Djokovic’s form based on recent performances. Losing RG and Wimbledon knocked the stuffing out of him but I’m predicting he will regroup and could make a run to the final.

    Really can’t second guess how Andy will fare. it all depends on how he copes with the pressure of defending a Slam for the first time in his career. All I know is watching his matches will be a white water ride for Muzza fans but should he meet Djokovic in the SFs I can’t help feeling it will be Nole who’ll get the win. Sorry Deucy, Twinge and Alex.

    • ed251137, i agree with you there! I mean every major tournament there is ALWAYS someone who is a threat to Rafa. Earlier it was Delpo, then it moved to Ferrer, then again it has moved to Isner. I mean come on! Rafa will be able to handle Isner like he has on previous occassions. Not to undermine Isner but who knows, Isner’s serve may go AWOL and then his game suddenly falls apart! Everybody seems to be a threat to Rafa including Roger, Novak and Andy…………….i mean for goodness sakes, Rafa has a +ve H2H against all these players, oh and let me not forget, Davydenko!!!! I mean, hell, Rafa should just not bother even turning up at that rate!!!!

      My take is if Rafa continues playing the way he has, and I imagine he will improve on his play here and there, I think Rafa will be a threat to ALL of these above mentioned players rather than the other way round!!!!! Give me a break!!!!

  13. I think Gulbis is going to the quarters, and I do not have that good a feeling about Janowisz. Yes, he played well on the grass, but I bet he’s gone in Rnd 2 or 3. Don’t count out FED!!!!

  14. As a Rafa fan I am hardly going to underestimate him at all. I know better. However, I am not about to get carried away here and act like it’s a done deal. Nobody has a ticket to the final. Nothing is certain. Rafa approaches slams the same way. That’s why he will not discount any of his opponents.

    Rafa also knows that predictions don’t mean anything. It has to be won on the court. Pardon me if I am a bit nervous for some of Rafa’s opponents, but that’s how I roll. Over confidence is not my thing. I don’t think that Harrison or Pospisil will trouble Rafa. Verdasco had a nice result at Wimbledon, but he isn’t mentally tough enough to hang with Rafa. I also don’t think he’s in good enough form right now. Isner does make me nervous. If some Rafa fans have a problem with that, too bad. I don’t expect him to beat Rafa, but I never like seeing Rafa go up against him. The guy doesn’t give his opponents any rhythm and can stand at the baseline blasting aces and big serves. The key will be for Rafa to hold his serve. One break of serve and that’s the set against Isner.

    I think if Delpo is healthy, he can take it to Djoker. That’s one of the big questions in my mind. Normally I would say Djoker is a lock to get to the semis. But I remember that match at Wimbledon with Djoker and Delpo. If Delpo can play like that again, then watch out.

    I will be surprised if Ferrer makes it to the semis. He’s going to have to play a lot better. I don’t think Gulbis can get there. He’s not nearly mentally tough enough. Jerzy could get there or he could get knocked out in an early upset. It could go either way with him.

    I do think that Murray will come out playing much better here. I think he will beat Berdy in the quarters. I don’t see anything stopping him from getting to the semis. But I go back and forth with Djoker and Murray here. I do think Murray can beat Djoker. If Delpo pulls off the upset and gets there, then he might be too tired to take on Murray. But without having seen even the first round matches, I think at this point it’s a tossup between Djoker and Murray in a possible semifinal meeting.

    I think if Rafa gets by Isner and Fed, he is going to be very hard to stop. We know he plays his best once he reaches the second week of a slam. It won’t matter who he faces in the semis – Ferrer, Gulbis or Jerzy.

    I want to see some matches before I finalize any of my predictions.

  15. I dont understand why are Isner and Fed being considered as threats to Rafa. A threat is when one can beat his opponent. I dont see that happening.
    Fed would have been really a threat to Muzz or Nole in Qf.
    Threat to Rafa were Jerzy in R4 and Delpo in Qf. He avoided them. Then he has avoided Muzz in Sf. I dont see any reason for Rafa or his fans for not liking this draw. This is the best possible draw he could have got.

    • no it isn’t.

      Isner is way more dangerous than Janowicz, and Federer is way more dangerous than Gasquet. Nadal’s draw could have been much better. The only good part is that he got Ferrer instead of Murray.

      • I have to agree with Ricky. As well as Rafa played in the Cincy final, he never got a break of serve or even a break point. Now the good news is that Isner didn’t break Rafa’s serve either. But it was about as tight a match as possible.

        It’s never easy to play a big serving guy like Isner and it’s disingenuous to pretend otherwise. None of the other top guys would have wanted to face him. We know Rafa doesn’t like playing guys like Isner and Karlovic, because he’s said so in the past.

        Everybody is so high on Jerzy. Let’s see if he can back up that semifinal result in Wimbledon. But he isn’t nearly mentally tough enough to hang with Rafa in a best of five match. His temperament will also work against him in this kind of match. Gasquet couldn’t beat Rafa if he tried. Fed found some answers in that quarterfinal match at Cincy and will come in determined to play well. He won’t roll over for Rafa.

        The prospective semifinal opponent is the bright spot in Rafa’s draw.

      • seriously Ricky. Izzy better than JJ. JJ is a much better all court player than Izzy. Yeah, he has got temperamental issues, but has the complete game to knock off top guys. With Izzy it’s all about serve.
        And from where did Gasquet dropped off? I was talking about DELPO!

        • no, Isner is considerably better than JJ. People underrate Isner’s all-court game simply because his serve is the best on tour.

          anyone who has watched tennis this summer knows that.

  16. saying isner is more dangerous than JJ is debatable but WAY MORE? thats a hyperbole

    JJ has a better return game, he moves so much better , he hits bigger from the baseline and ah those drop shots ! if he is clicking, I would certainly want to avoid him

    • JJ doesn’t move much better than Isner. At best he barely moves better than Isner, but it’s probably tied. Have you watched Isner this summer?

      And he definitely doesn’t hit bigger than Isner from the baseline. Not even close!!!

      Janowicz has a harder first serve (not better, only harder) and has better touch. That’s about it.

  17. #sure, Isner has a better serve and he is stronger on service games.
    # JJ is definitely a better mover than Isner and he is more agile too.
    #JJ being more agile is also better at the net
    #JJ has more variation in his game
    #JJ competes better than Isner (my opinion)
    # JJ has a better return game .. return game is his weakness but its defnitely better than isner’s. Isner has won a mere 12% return games in 2013 , JJ has a better but still poor 17%
    # As far as hitting from the baseline is concerned, JJ can hit harder on the run, isner can only hit harder when he has time to set up his for his shots. On extended baseline rallies Isner can be pinned back behind the baseline and he is just putting balls back from there.
    # Isner can hit REALLY BIG off his forehand side, but JJ has a better backhand and he can generate great pace too.
    #Isner is a big threat when he is having a ridiculous servign day ( chances of that happening aren’t too bad though) ..even then, its extremely unlikely he’l win 3 tie breaks against the big 4. He very rarely break’s their serves , relying on concentration lapses from them

    OVERALL: JJ can be POTENTIALLY much more dangerous than Isner.

    • JJ doesn’t compete better than Isner. Most of the other points are fair. Isner is a way better competitor.

      JJ gets fired up when he hits winners. that’s not the same as competing well. he is a mental midget on MANY occasions. Isner probably has the third best mental game on tour behind Djokovic and Nadal.

  18. getting fired up after hitting winners is not what I meant by competing better. JJ is not intimidated by the big boys, he looked fearless in the wimbledon SF against currently the best grass court player. He was definitely not scared to face off against roger and rafa too.

    May be my definition of competing better was slightly misleading. Because if you want to include who chokes more frequently then yes it has to be JJ, his mental state is not so stable lol. However, I am strongly of the opinion that JJ has more ‘belief’ that he can topple the big guys.

    #isner has the third best mental game on tour behind djokovic and nadal? Woah, thats a big statement you made there… the jury has to be out on this one 😛

  19. I though isner’s return game on hard courts might eb slightly better than on other surfaces but upon checking, I found out that iner has won a mere 11% return games on hard courts in 2013 , JJ has won 19%. Isner definitely has to improve this % if he is to make a big impact at the open…

    Who would you pick if they face off against each other, Ricky?

    • vamosrafa,

      I am not yet totally convinced when it comes to Jerzy. I see a lot of potential, but there are some things he needs to address. I noticed that at times he just hits hard, harder and hardest. He bludgeons the ball. But you need variety and also need to understand when to pound your shots and when to pull back a little. He doesn’t seem to have that down yet.

      By far his biggest liability is his temperament. He had a lousy match in Cincy to flame out early against Blake. That match highlighted for me some of the issues with Jerzy. He got frustrated and just started overhitting his shots. He went for broke feeling the pressure after loosing the first set. He didn’t have to do that. He was wild and all over the place and his frustration was his undoing. Blake used his smarts as a veteran and also played some really great tennis to get the win. It was ugly stuff from Jerzy.

      The one weakness that I thought Rafa exposed in the final at Cincy was Isner’s poor ROS. I thought Rafa served intelligently to take advantage of that. However, what I did notice is that Isner’s groundstrokes are a lot better now. He did some damage with that forehand and was able to beat Rafa in some good rallies. The guy does have the advantage with the height and the huge serve, but he has been working on developing other aspects of his game. I give him credit for that.

      Also, keep in mind that Rafa will be facing Isner much earlier in the tournament than Jerzy. We know that Rafa is formidable when he gets to the second week of a slam. By the semis he is almost in his best form. Jerzy won’t have a chance against Rafa in a semifinal. But in the early rounds that’s where it gets complicated.

      I believe that Rafa will know what to do and be able to handle Isner. But I do think that playing Isner and Rafa back-to-back at the USO is not as easy as some seem to think.

      Let me be clear – that is not the same as saying that Rafa cannot do it!

  20. Hahaha! Not long before they proclaim Rafa a HC Specialist:


    “Nadal is definitely back and playing maybe the best tennis that he ever has played on hard courts,” said Djokovic.

    Defending champion Andy Murray admitted Nadal will be “very difficult to beat” in New York.

    Murray, who expects to play his opening match against Michael Llodra on Wednesday, has been hugely impressed by the 12-time Grand Slam champion’s form.

    “It’s hard not to be,” said the 26-year-old Scot. “He hasn’t lost yet because he’s beaten some tough players in tough tournaments, winning the two tournaments back to back in Cincinnati and Canada. I think it’s only been done once before.

    “I think Roddick did it once [in 2003], so it doesn’t happen often. It’s not like he’s had easy draws or whatever. He’s beaten some top, top players.”

    Roger Federer, a five-time champion at Flushing Meadows, was in agreement, having lost to Nadal in the Cincinnati quarter-finals.

    “I’m clearly very impressed,” said the Swiss, who plays Grega Zemlja in Monday’s night session. “Especially seeing him play really well on the quicker hard courts.

    “It would be different if it was just Indian Wells and Miami where it’s very slow over there, and then Montreal and Cincinnati would have been first round [losses].

    “But he won those as well, and he showed also on the quicker hard courts he’s someone to be reckoned with.”

  21. Times were Ricky would say, “Until Rafa beats Novak, I am picking Novak to win”. Well, Rafa has beaten Novak twice in a row, one time on his favourite surface, a fast HC. I guess the new refrain is, “Until Rafa beats Novak at the USOpen, I will always pick Novak”.

    Oh wait, Rafa has beaten Novak at the USOpen before……………….

  22. I am fine with Ricky predicting a Djoker win over Rafa. I don’t have a problem with it. He’s entitled to his opinion and despite recent results, still believe that Djoker has the advantage in a hard court slam. So be it.

    I don’t happen to think that is the case anymore, but even Steve Tignor had the same prediction as Ricky for the final – a Djoker win over Rafa. So maybe Rafa does have to beat him again to show people. It’s been three years since the USO and memories are short or it’s what have you done lately.

    I think Rafa is never more dangerous than when he has something to prove. I think he wants this to reassert himself. I remember an interview he did when he was just coming back earlier this year or maybe it was when he was still out with the knee injury. Someone was talking about Djoker and Murray as dominating now or something to that effect and Rafa answered that he still believes that he should be in that conversation. I wish that I could remember Rafa’s exact words, but there was no question that he made a point of letting the interviewer know that he’s far from done and has more to accomplish in this sport.

    I think Rafa is saying it now with his racket!

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