The Olympics have literally just wrapped up, but there is no time to rest for some of worlds best tennis players, as the 2008 U.S. Open is upon us. Even yours truly, a former collegiate tennis player, managed to forget about the Open as all interest were focused on the drama, controversy, and heart break surrounding Micheal Phelps, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Lolo Jones, Tyson Gay and the rest of the American and World athletes.

Men’s Prediction

For the first time in what seemed forever, Roger Federer (2) will not be the top seeded player in the draw or the favorite to win, but don’t count out the defending champion. Federer has two Grand Slam finals and a semi to his belt this year, a record 99% of the pros would want. He will have a potentially tough match-up in the third round if he faces Radek Stepanek. Federer is 4-2 against him, and in their last match-up Stepanek came out on top. Beside that match-up, he should have an easy road all the way to the semis where he could possibly play Novak Djokovic (3). Federer has a lot to prove, as Nadal (1) has extinguished a lot of his fire and talks of him being the greatest ever fizzle out. Watch out for Federer as he proves that he is still The Man.

Staying on the bottom half of the draw, Andy Roddick (8) will have a tough first round as he face Fabrice Santoro who will slice, tap, dink, and push all the balls over, countering Roddick power, and out right frustrating the American. Roddick is 2-1 against Santoro, but Santoro did win in their last encounter. If Roddick can get past Santoro, then he would most likely face the very talented youngster Ernests Gulbis. I would not be surprise if Gulbis takes Roddick out. If Roddick gets to the quarters, then he would possibly face Novak Djokovic, that would be a really good match up. Andy Roddick has been struggling all year with both his play and injury. The high of playing in NY, should boost his adrenaline, but I don’t see him going far.

Others that could give Federer and Djokovic some trouble in the bottom half of the draw are Richard Gasquet(12) who will have a tough first round against Tommy Haas, Fernando Gonzalez (11) who just won a Silver medal in the Olympics, and Marat Safin who is always dangerous.

As of last week, the number one player in the world is Rafael Nadal, and how fitting is it for him, as he wins a Gold medal during the Olympics. Nadal’s road to the finals will be a lot tougher than Federer, a lot of the seeded players on the top half of the draw are hard court players, and hard court is Nadal least successful surface. Still, Nadal is the favorite to win. He has two Grand Slam and a Gold medal to his resume this year. He could possibly face James Blake(9)/David Nalbandian(7)/Gael Monfils(32)/Paul-Henri Mathieu(24) in the quarters. A Blake/Nadal match-up would be interesting to watch in NY. Blake’s favorite surface is hard court and he just missed medalling at the Olympics where he beat Federer. Blake is also 3-2 against Nadal.

On the other half of Nadal’s draw, David Ferrer (4), Gilles Simon (16), Stanislas Wawrinka (10), Andy Murray (6) and Juan Martin Del Potro all could contend for the semis. Simon, Murray, Del Potro have been the hottest players this summer.

My Pick: Roger Federer

Women

While the men’s draw seemed to be dominated by a select few. The women’s draw is wider than it has been in years. The top half of the draw is completely stocked with talent compare to the bottom half of the draw. Talk about unbalanced.

In the top half, you have the Williams sisters (4)(7), Anna Ivanovic (1), and Danira Safina (6), all four of these girls should be favorite to move to the finals. But it will not be easy as these girls are all in their half, Daniela Hantuchova (11), Alize Cornet (17), Nicole Vaidasova (20), Agnes Szavay (13), and Agnieszka Radswanska (9). The Williams sister could meet in the quarters, so could Ivanovic and Safina.

The bottom half of the draw does have Jelena Jankovic (2), Olympic champion Elena Dementieva (5), 2007 finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova (3), the loopy lefty Patty Snyder (15), and up-and-comer Caroline Wozniacki (21). All good player, but no where near as talented as the top half of the draw. This could be the best chance for Jankovic to get to her first Grand Slam final.

My Pick: Danira Safina

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