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Todd’s Tennis Takes – 2011 US Open Preview

The last slam is upon us and here’s my TTT preview…not quite as thorough as past slam previews, but enough to whet your tennis appetite.

Djokovic is still a heavy favorite after winning Wimbledon and Montreal and making the final in Cincinnati since his upset loss to Fed at the French 3 months ago. He did retire in the Cincy final vs. Murray, his shoulder bothering him, but should be sharp and rested after a week off since. Nadal, Murray, and American Mardy Fish look to be the biggest threats to Djoker’s bid for a 3rd slam in 2011. Nadal is the defending champ, Murray the Cincy champ, Wimby semifinalist, and still world #4, while Fish is playing the best tennis of his career, making the quarters of Wimby, winning Atlanta, finalist in L.A., finalist at Montreal (l. to Djoker), and semifinalist at Cincy (l. to Murray). 

Sadly, Federer has done nothing of note this summer, and now 30, it’s possible his decline has started to steepen. He lost in the quarters of Wimbledon to Tsonga after blowing a 2-0 set lead for only the 3rd time in his career, then lost in the round of 16 at Montreal (to Tsonga again) and then in the quarters of Cincinnati to Berdych. He’s slated to meet either Tsonga or Fish (should be a great 4th round match between those two!) here in New York in the quarters. Should he survive that, a semifinal rematch with Djoker likely awaits – last year’s was epic, the Serb surviving two match points to take Fed down. 

Other Matches/Players to Watch for:   Soderling/Isner 3rd round; Dolgopolov/Gasquet 3rd round; Monfils/Berdych 4th round (if you want to see possibly the most amazingly athletic shot in tennis history, check out this Magical Monfils Dive from the 3rd round at the French Open vs. Melzer in 2009 – Melzer gives him a low 5 afterward, it was that unreal); Verdasco/Tsonga 3rd round; Cilic/Harrison 1st round (Ryan Harrison an American up-and-comer, only 19); Roddick/Almagro 3rd round (Roddick playing quite poorly of late); and Gulbis/Youzhny 1st round (Youzhny the 16th seed and a semifinalist here last year, Gulbis won L.A. over Fish a month ago). 

Look for updates throughout the tourney, and enjoy the last slam of 2011. For great nightly recaps of the days activity during the entire two weeks, check out US Open Tonight on Tennis Channel at 8pm PST every night. 

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