The Definitive, Comprehensive Guide to this years US Open with Darkhorses! Oh yeah……and Predictions!
We all know the usual suspects. We know that Fed, Djokovic and Nadal will be championship threats, play deep into week two and one will probably win; personally I never bet against Mr. Roger, but that’s another story. I also really can’t imagine any unknowns having much of a chance or even ‘kinda knowns’ like a Thiem or an Isner or Dimitrov, not over two weeks and having to go through multiple heavyweights. I just don’t see it, not impossible, but its just not going to happen. Dimitrov might not even make it out of his first round match against baby titan Wawrinka, as a matter a fact I would almost guarantee he won’t. Be fun, but he wont. On the men’s side, there just isn’t anyone ready to come out of nowhere and snatch a Grand Slam from one of the Titans, they are all just still too good with still to much of a strangle hold on the sport for that, not to mention having to beat multiple ones to win it. It just ain’t happening.
The Woman’s side is much more wide open in that regard. Serena is entering as something of an underdog, but its SERENA, so if we don’t just assume that she’ll be there in the end then we are probably one of those people, like myself, that just loves being wrong all time. I’m a big fan of Wozniacki and I think she will be in the mix but her game as a bit of a light hitting counterpuncher makes her vulnerable on this surface, her win at the Australian notwithstanding. I always have a soft spot for Venus (whose ‘best game’ I will go to my grave believing is the best we’ve ever seen on the woman’s side) and while she has made some deeps runs lately it doesn’t appear she is capable of closing the deal any longer.
Now for Sloan Stevens that is not the case. It appears she is poised to begin to assert herself into the top of the woman’s game after an unexpected win here last year and a runner up at this years French. Her game is perfectly suited for this tournament and I expect her to make a deep push to defend her title. Standing in her way, as her number one threat (because I’m just not sure if Serena is quite ready to win yet) is Angelique Kerber, the winner here in 2016 and the Wimbledon champ this year; the counter punching lefty wears down her opponents and has just enough power to keep them honest.
Did you mention POWER? Well then! Turn your gaze to a little (actually extremely tall) lady named Sharapova, she has the pedigree and game to challenge and win any tournament she enters, and that goes especially for a fast hard court like the ones in Queens. The wrinkle is the same as the one with Serena……is she ready after a long layoff with limited court time since her return.
If your asking me for a sentimental dark horse to keep your eye on, I have an interest in what Eugenie Bouchard will do this year; the former Wimbledon finalist who in 2015 fell and hit her head at this very same US Open, the result of which began a tail spin she only now appears to be coming out of, has the game and resourcefulness to make a deep run. Her best Open result is only a desultory 4th round exit; but although not a heavy hitter her game is a tenacious counterpunching one, which will remind of Conner’s or Agassi or on the woman’s side I think of Chris Everett. Obviously her results don’t deserve these kinds of comparisons but…WHATEVER! I’m pulling for her. Look for her in week two.
Rounding out the Dark Horse long-shot category on the woman’s side is Victoria Azeranka, she has the movement and the baselining power to put a scare into anyone and if her game is right she could be holding up the Trophy. She is also a bulldog competitor who fights for every point, Love Her!
But she is not my pick; I am going to make my pick, but I also want to add a ‘if not them, then them!’ category, because I am LORD of my posts and I want to hedge a little….its more fun ok!?
So without further nonsense…. My picks for the 2018 US Open!!
On the Woman’s side, like I said, if she manages to qualify today, I like Bouchard to make a mini run, and Kerber will be heard from, but I’m picking Sloane Steven’s (que the anti-climatic music) to defend her title; she is entering her prime, has the game, and knows what it takes. A champion herself now, she wont be intimidated by the Williams sisters, has the power to match Sharapova blow for blow and the versatile game to hang with the Kerbers of the world.
For the newly established category ‘if not her then her’ pick I like the aforementioned Sharapova in a bit of an upset to reestablish herself. As I said before, she has the game and the confidence and her results have been improving steadily since her, ahem, hiatus.
On the Men’s side, as long as he’s breathing I always lean toward Fed, and why not, he’s only the GOAT and is in the middle of one of the greatest resurgences in the history of the sport…BUT….I hear your resurgence and I raise you a Renaissance, the father of which is a man named Nadal. He has a favorable draw and would not have to face either Fed or Djokovic till late in week two. I like him to continue his late career dominance and come through victorious! If not Nadal, I’m leaning toward Del Porto, a very long-shot to be sure, don’t ask me why when you consider his recent results, but he is the 2009 winner and has the big serve-big-forehand game, which gives EVERBODY trouble and he just so happens to be kinda Fed Kryptonite.
Well that will do it for the first annual ‘The Definitive, Comprehensive Guide to this years US Open with Dark- Horses! Oh yeah……and Predictions!’ Keep your eye on the ball!