2012 US Open Predictions: Round #1

Before we get started with this quick review I want to go ahead and call my shot: I’m picking Federer to win this tournament, even though I think Novak may actually hold a slight edge. In other words, I’m a huge Federer fan, and I’m making an emotional pick. Yes, yes, I realize there’s more to it than that. There are a lot of really good reasons Federer will probably win the 2012 US Open, but one those is not the fact that he took Novak to the woodshed in Cincinnati last weekend. In fact, I bet Novak was probably thinking to himself, “Oh, so that’s what I’ve got to do to beat Federer now. OK. Check.” But while having a gameplan is one thing, having bullet-proof self-confidence is another thing altogether, and Federer’s self-confidence is as high as it’s ever been. The dude just won a tournament without dropping serve! Against the best returner in the game!

Anyway, enough about my biases. Here are my predictions for round #1

Top half, first quarter: Notable matches

Others advancing to Round#2:
Federer (in straight sets, in 100 minutes, +/- 10-min, vs. Donald Young), Bjorn Phau, Robby Ginepri, Fernando Verdasco, Mardy Fish, Nikolay Davydenko, Ivo Karlovic, Gilles Simon (Tough break for Michael Russell vs. Simon)

Bottom half, first quarter: Notable matches
Tough first round for Nicolas Almagro. Frankly, I think this is a 50/50 proposition, and I don’t really have a good reason for picking Almagro over Stepanek, other than the fact that Almagro is seeded higher. If there’s going to be an upset though, this would be a match where that could very well happen.

Others advancing to Round#2:
Nicolas Mahut, Flavio Cipolla, Florian Mayer, Sam Querrey, Somdev Devvarman, Denis Istomin, and Tomas Berdych. This is a tough first round match for David Goffin. Although an upset is possible – it’s always possible – it’s not probable. 90/10 in favor of Berdych.

Top half, second quarter: Notable matches

Others advancing to Round#2:
Andy Murray, Ivan Dodig, Thomaz Bellucci, Feliciano Lopez, Marcel Granollers, James Blake, Igor Andreev (upset potential vs Paul-Henri Mathieu), and Milos Raonic.

Bottom half, second quarter: Notable matches

Others advancing to Round#2:
Marin Cilic, Daniel Brands, Bobby Reynolds, Kei Nishikori, Jeremy Chardy, Matthew Ebden, Alejandro Falla, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Top half, third quarter: Notable matches
Brian Baker. Because any time Brian Baker plays a match it’s notable. Still the best comeback story of 2012, bar none. Baker advances to round #2.

Others advancing to Round#2:
Janko Tipsarevic, Ricardo Mello, Viktor Troicki, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Grigor Dimitrov, Mikhail Kukushkin (50/50 vs Jarkko Nieminen), and John Isner.

Bottom half, third quarter: Notable matches
Finally, some excitement!

Tommy Haas vs. Ernest Gulbis. Could be interesting if Gulbis shows up to play. The qualifier in that previous sentence, the big “if” word, as it relates to Gulbis and whether or not he shows up to play tennis, is precisely why I’m picking Haas to win this match. Plus, Tommy’s been playing great tennis lately.

Mikhail Youzhny vs. Gilles “I made it to the finals in Atlanta a few weeks ago” Muller. Gotta go with the Russian on this one, but still, it has the potential to be an interesting match.

Lleyton Hewitt vs. Anybody. I picked Hewitt to win this match, but it was more for emotional and sentimental reasons than that I actually think he’s *going* to win. Could he win? Yes. Will he win? [shrugs] We’ll find out soon enough.

Igor Sijsling going with the qualifier over Daniel Gimeno-Traver for no good reason whatsoever.

David Ferrer vs. Kevin Anderson. Now THIS is a match to pay attention to! This is a tough first round draw for both players, and Ferrer will have his work cut out for him to wear Anderson down. I do believe he will wear him down, but he’ going to have to earn it. Ferrer in…however long it takes him to win. I won’t be surprised at all if this one goes the distance.

Others advancing to Round#2:
Richard Gasquet, Jurgen Melzer, Rajeev Ram

Top half, fourth quarter: Notable matches
Juan Martin Del Potro vs. David Nalbandian. Wow! A former US Open champion vs. a proven giant killer in the first round! What a crappy draw for both of these players.

Ryan Harrison vs. Benjamin Becker. The same B. Becker that showed Agassi the exit at the 2006 US Open. I think Harrison has the game to win, but Becker could potentially frustrate Harrison, and get him to beat himself. It’s the only way Becker can win this match (if Harrison beats Harrison), but it wouldn’t be the first time Harrison has given the match away for failure to manage his emotions and focus during the match. Still, I’m going with Harrison on this one.

Andreas Seppi vs. Tommy Robredo. I’ve picked Seppi to win, but this could easily be an upset about to happen.

Others advancing to Round#2:
Lukasz Kubol, Andy Roddick (even with all the struggles Andy’s had of late, he will undoubtedly win this match), Bernard Tomic, Edouard Roger-Vasselin (50/50), and Juan Monaco (also 50/50).

Bottom half, fourth quarter: Notable matches

Others advancing to Round#2:
Alexandr Dolgopolov, Marcos Baghdatis, Steve Darcis, Stanislas Wawrinka, Julien Benneteau, Jerzy Janowicz (50/50), Teymuraz Gabashvili (50/50) and Novak Djokovic.

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