U.S. Open R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Daniel, Federer vs. Youzhny

After getting their first-rounders in under the Arthur Ashe roof, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will continue their U.S. Open campaigns when second-round action resumes on Thursday. Nadal has a date with Taro Daniel, while Federer is going up against Mikhail Youzhny.

(1) Rafael Nadal vs. Taro Daniel

Nadal began his bid for a third U.S. Open title on Tuesday, when he got off to a slow start against Dusan Lajovic but recovered from an early break down in the first set and eventually cruised 7-6(6), 6-2, 6-2. Thus continued a stellar 2017 campaign, highlighted by a 10th French Open triumph and a return to the world No. 1 ranking (Nadal regained it two weeks ago following the Cincinnati Masters). The top-seeded Spaniard is 50-9 this season, but he bowed out early at Wimbledon to Gilles Muller and did not play great in either Montreal (lost to Denis Shapovalov) or Cincinnati (lost to Nick Kyrgios), so the jury is currently out on his form away from clay.

Up next for Nadal on Thursday is a first-ever meeting with Daniel. The world No. 121 from Japan took a much more circuitous route to the last 64, requiring five sets to outlast Tommy Paul 6-1, 4-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday. Because of Tuesday’s rainout on all courts other than Ashe, Daniel also has one less day than his opponent with which to recover. The 24-year-old is now 4-8 at the ATP level this season and 3-7 lifetime in the main draws of Grand Slams. A massive step up in competition should bring about a swift end to Daniel’s fortnight.

Pick: Nadal in 3 losing 8-10 games

Mikhail Youzhny vs. (2) Roger Federer

Federer and Youzhny will be facing each other for the 17th time in their careers on Thursday. This is one of the most lopsided matchups on tour, as Federer is sporting a perfect 16-0 record in the head-to-head series. He is also 37-4 in total sets at Youzhny’s expense, including 12-1 at Grand Slams. The U.S. Open is the only major at which the two veterans have never squared off, and they have not met at all since February of 2015 in Dubai. Federer is 14-1 in total sets against the Russian dating back to the second set of a 2011 Wimbledon encounter, won by the Swiss 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Whereas the 36-year-old did not donate a single set on the way to capturing an eighth Wimbledon title last month, things look like they could be more difficult for him in New York. Federer struggled with a back issue in a recent Montreal final loss to Alexander Zverev and he has already dropped two sets at the U.S. Open, needing five to fight past Frances Tiafoe 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 on Tuesday night. Youzhny benefited from a favorable draw against Blaz Kavcic and took care of business 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday afternoon. The 35-year-old is still a dreadful 9-18 this season and toiling away at No. 101 in the rankings. Federer may not be 100 percent, but if he is even close to full stretch he will likely make mincemeat out of Youzhny yet again.

Pick: Federer in 3 losing 8-10 games

12 Comments on U.S. Open R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Daniel, Federer vs. Youzhny

  1. The kid is fighting until the last. There are plenty of guys like Tomic who would just give up.

    It’s a good tune up for Rafa…really enjoyed that one. Vamos Rafa!

  2. Nadal wins 40% because he is a better player today, 60% because he is much stronger physically.

    If Daniel sustains the same stamina as Rafa, it would be competitive 5 sets with Rafa still wining.

  3. Yes! Bravo Rafa! Two down! ?

    Daniel seems like a very nice kid! He certainly has the potential! Rafa needs to fine tune his game, but the last two sets were really good showing! Hope Rafa continues to improve!

    Vamos Rafa!

    • Thank God Rafa won! Now I have a day to recover!

      Hopefully this is what Rafa needed to get his rhythm and groove with his groundstrokes. Coming from behind and finishing strong should help give him confidence.

      Now I can get some sleep!

  4. Rafa is the crushing favorite to win USO for Bing.

    During 1R,

    Fed had a 26% chance to win (highest), Rafa followed at 22%

    After 1R,

    Nadal took the lead with 25%, Federer 21%

    Now,

    Nadal has a 41% chance of winning the USO, and Fed has a 19-20% chance.

    Bing you know how to pick well ;).

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