Bottom half of U.S. Open draw becoming more and more “bananas” by the day

Let’s play a game: describe the bottom half of the U.S. men’s singles draw with just one word.

It’s a game I started on Twitter, and both the quality and quantity of responses were overwhelming. Within just a few of minutes I thought the word “joke” might become a worldwide trending topic.

In addition to “joke,” we also got “fake,” “opportunity,” “chance,” “yikes,” “new,” “surreal,” “ugh,” “sad,” “mess,” “open,” “satirical,” “messy,” “carpediem,” “blah,” “exciting,” “easy,” “savage,” “catastrophic,” “cray,” “abominable,” “unexpected,” “available,” “ATP250,” “Challenger,” “sports,” “tennis,” “tatters,” “anonymous,” “Kitzbuhel,” “change,” “chaos,” “scary,” “mistake,” “lol,” “uncharted,” “busted,” “pathetic,” “shambles,” “facepalm,” “bananas,” and–to incur a couple of audible obscenity warnings: “clusterfuck” and “dogshit.”

All of those are accurate.

“Blah”: That’s Sam Querrey. Duh.

– “Busted”: That’s Pablo Carreno Busta. Obviously.

– “New”: That’s 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov.

– “Dogshit”: That’s Kevin Anderson. His dog–yes, his dog–was in attendance for his third-round win over Borna Coric (ask his wife, Kelsey, if any cleanup was necessary).

– “Anonymous”: That’s 35-year-old Paolo Lorenzi. He’s been around since the Stone Age and only hardcore tennis fans have ever heard of him.

– “Exciting”: That’s 5’7” Diego Schwartzman, who won a wild four-setter on Friday to break the draw wide open with a knockout of No. 5 seed Marin Cilic.

– “Mistake”: That’s Mischa Zverev. A Zverev was supposed to be in the fourth round of this U.S. Open, but it was supposed to be the fourth-seeded Alexander.

– “Messy”: That’s Lucas Pouille; his hair, and–prior to the U.S. Open–the state of his tennis throughout this summer.

This, using tennis terms, is also accurate.

– Of the eight remaining men in the bottom half, zero have made it to a Grand Slam final.

– Only one (Querrey) has reached a slam semifinal and that happened to him for the first time ever just two months ago at Wimbledon.

– The betting favorite to advance to the final (Querrey) won a grand total of five matches at the U.S. Open from 2011 through 2016. For those counting, you need to win six in the same year in the reach year.

– After a mere three rounds, Carreno Busta is the highest-ranked player left. The Spaniard is barely inside the top 20 (19th). He had never advanced farther than round three of any major other than the French Open prior to this week and had never been past round three of any major including the French Open until June of this season.

“It opens up the draw,” said Shapovalov, who is still alive and into the last 16 after getting a fourth-set retirement from Kyle Edmund on Friday. “It helps players like myself to kind of have a chance and not play, you know, Novak (Djokovic) or Andy Murray in the early stages.”

In the early stages? How about in every stage until the final?!?! And judging from Roger Federer’s and Rafael Nadal’s current form, how about even in the final, too?!?!

Shapovalov plays Carreno Busta next and it would only go downhill from there if the Canadian continues on to the quarterfinals and semis. In the quarters he would meet the winner of a match between the No. 16 seed (Pouille) and the No. 29 seed (Schwartzman). He would then run into at best Querrey and at worst Lorenzi. Yes, Lorenzi is in the fourth round of a Grand Slam.

Among those not in the fourth round of this Grand Slam: Cilic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Jack Sock, John Isner, and the younger Zverev brother.

“I was aware of the draw,” Isner said after wasting his opportunity in a loss to the older Zverev on Friday night. “How can you not be? Everyone’s talking about it. (But) it’s not like I was on social media or anything.”

But I am on social media–and you should be, too. When Grand Slam draws become so “surreal,” “scary,” “messy,” and “catastrophic,” Twitter becomes especially fun. And it will only get more and more fun by the day all the way to the the final.

29 Comments on Bottom half of U.S. Open draw becoming more and more “bananas” by the day

  1. Vaudeville
    Am not very entertained myself.. feels very very unfair to me that players who aren’t up to it are going so deep when far better players have never made slam finals or semis because they had to play real opposition…

    • Anderson did beat Murray at the uso and nearly beat nole at Wimbledon so I guess he deserves a shot..I kinda have a soft spot for mischa who was great beating Murray at ao..

  2. Would be very entertaining to hear the behind the scenes comments from the espn team.. I bet they’re full of obscenities..
    Brad gilbert is struggling to find new nicknames..

  3. How about – surreal?

    I’ve been watching tennis all my life and have never seen anything like this. To see the really ghost quality seeds start dropping like flies, has been unreal.

    It’s becoming a travesty and an embarrassment. Someone is going to get through to the final who had no business being there.

      • On ESPN they are talking about all the good players who were knocked out of the bottom half of the draw.

      • “Ghost” works. This slam is haunted by the spirits of the greats, past and present.

        The USO website is referring to it as the US (wide) Open.

        Has “nightmare” been used yet? Everyone who should have stepped up has stepped down so far. Diego Schwarzman, USO champion? I suppose stranger things have happened, but I can’t remember one. (oh yeah, the last US presidential election :()

        • Ramara,

          Love it! I guess autocorrect got it right with the “ghost” word after all! This slam will be haunted by past greats, some of whom may be rolling over in their graves!

          Love your mention of the last presidential election! Brilliant!

        • Waking up to the daily nightmare never ceases…not since the 2016 election.

          Rafa will prevail – fingers crossed.
          Many others would be shocking as winners and surreal.
          A couple would be thrilling and remind me of Safin 2000. 😀

  4. Angry!- because i miss N. Djokovic, A. Murray, K. Nishikori, M. Raonic, S. Wawrinka.

    Refreshing!- because this guy’s are balling!

    ROGERLICIOUS!!- because Roger Federer will win it, well done Roger, well done!

  5. I think the bottom half is an opportunity for Shapolavov to show what he’s capable of and make hist first grand slam semi.

  6. I don’t get why everyone is so down on this. I love to see less heralded guys make deep runs at slams. Paolo Lorenzi in the finals of a grand slam would be MORE THAN EPIC!! Imagine how shocking and exciting it would be and how he would react and to see a guy like that at 35 who has been a no name all his career up until the last couple seasons make a freaking slam final. That being said, he won’t beat Anderson.

    • Honestly just the fact that Lorenzi being in a grand slam final is even being talked about on here is epic enough. Who would’ve thought?

  7. I like it! For 10+ years we’re been watching 4 guys dominate the slams, time for something new! And who doesn’t deserve to be there? They are still is the draw aren’t they!

  8. I don’t have a problem with this.. A freak draw like this on a slam happens maybe only once in every 15 years. Watch it, enjoy it. In next 60 slams the finals will be filled again with the same usual suspects.

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