Grading the First Week of the US Open
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic – The top seeds Federer and Djokovic have gotten through the first week of the US Open without dropping a set. On serve, they both have been broken only once so far. Their drama-free approach in the early rounds of Majors helps them conserve energy for the later stages of the tournament.
Sam Stosur – The defending US Open champion has been largely overlooked because she has a reputation for folding under pressure, but she’s looked relaxed and confident so far in her attempt to defend her title. She hasn’t dropped a set yet. She does face a daunting challenge in her next match against Victoria Azarenka, who has beaten Stosur in straight sets every time they’ve met before.
Victoria Azarenka – The World No. 1 has steamrolled through every set she’s played, losing no more than two games in any set she’s played. She’s put on a clinic for her opponents, showing once again that she’s one of the most formidable hard court players in the game.
Laura Robson – Robson played the match of her life against Kim Clijsters, and then backed it up with a win over the red hot Li Na. Though her US Open bid ended at the hands of Sam Stosur, she proved she’s capable of beating top players. Now, she will have to work on building up her ranking and improving her consistency.
Philipp Kohlschreiber – After playing a five set second round match against Benoit Paire, Kohlschreiber knocked out John Isner in five sets, beating the big server in a tight match that lasted until 2:26 AM.
Martin Klizan – Ordinarily when a much lower ranked opponent beats a top player, as Klizan did beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in their second round match, the player will lose in the next match as reality sets in. Not so for Klizan. The 52nd-ranked 23 year old backed up his upset of Tsonga with an impressive straight sets win over 32nd-seeded Jeremy Chardy.
Juan Martin del Potro – The only man aside from Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic to win a Slam since 2005 has toiled in relative anonymity through his early round matches. Incredibly, the US Open hasn’t scheduled him for an Arthur Ashe match since he won the title back in 2009. It took him four sets to beat Ryan Harrison, but del Potro is still looming large in Djokovic’s quarter. Facing a retiring Andy Roddick with nothing to lose will be a bigger challenge than he’s faced so far, but the outlook is good for him to reach his third Major quarterfinal of the year.
Andy Murray - As is customary, Murray’s early round form at the US Open has left much to be desired. It wasn’t as bad as last year’s horror of a five set match between Murray and Robin Haase, but Murray squeaked through an ugly, tight four set match, winning three tiebreaks against Feliciano Lopez, and played an error-filled opener against Alex Bogomolov Jr. Most concerning, he hasn’t won more than 50% of his second serve points in any of his matches so far. That won’t cut it against tougher opponents. He’s been broken eight times so far, and Federer and Djokovic have held serve all but one time each. Right now, he’s a distant third to those two in form.
Petra Kvitova – After having such a promising North American hardcourt season, Kvitova fell meekly to Marion Bartoli in their fourth round match, getting bageled in the third set. It was unfortunate to see Kvitova have such little fightback, even though Bartoli played well.
Maria Kirilenko – This year, Kirilenko has begun to live up to her potential in singles, reaching a career-high ranking of No. 12. But Kirilenko could not pull through a tough three-setter against World No. 82 Andrea Hlavackova, falling in the third round to her much lower-ranked opponent.
John Isner – When Isner was placed in the draw into the quarter anchored by David Ferrer, many were predicting that this opportunity would lend itself to a breakthrough for Isner, who has never made it past the quarterfinals of a Slam. But instead, Isner fell to Philipp Kohlschreiber in a painful five set match in which Isner lost his composure and was given a point penalty for losing his temper several times. Even worse, Isner hasn’t made it past the third round of any Major this year, unbelievably losing in five set matches at each of the Slams.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - Tsonga’s four set loss to Martin Klizan was completely inexplicable for a player of his caliber, especially since there was no injury or illness. Although Klizan played well, Tsonga entirely failed to show up for the match. For a player who can regularly challenge the very top players on the ATP Tour, a loss like that one is inexcusable.
Bernard Tomic - In the court of public opinion, Tomic had an extremely rough US Open. Between getting accused of tanking his match against Andy Roddick, and lashing out at a reporter at a press conference, Tomic’s had his better days. The good news? It can’t get much worse for the young Aussie.