US Open Tennis 2014 Draw: Complete Bracket Analysis and Preview
The draw is out. The players have arrived. The fun is about to begin.
On Monday, the most talented male and female tennis players in the world will square off in Flushing Meadows to see who will be named the 2014 U.S. Open champion.
The men's defending champion will be missed, as Rafael Nadal had to withdraw from the event with a wrist injury. However, No. 1 Novak Djokovic and five-time champion Roger Federer are still vying for the title as 126 other players try and stop them.
In the women's field, Serena Williams will be trying to win her third U.S. Open trophy in a row and her first major of 2014, as a packed field of competitors including Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova will try and score the upset.
Men's Favorites with an Easy Draw
Roger Federer (No. 2)
Smile on, Federer. Draws don't get much easier than this. His half of the draw is free of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The 17-time major champion could face Ivo Karlovic (No. 25) in the third round, Fabio Fognini (No. 15) in the fourth and Grigor Dimitrov (No. 7) in the quarters. His semifinal opponent would likely be Tomas Berdych (No. 6) or David Ferrer (No. 4).
Stan Wawrinka (No. 3)
This year's Australian Open champ, Wawrinka has a good shot at defending semifinal points at the U.S. Open this year.
His first seed would be Jeremy Chardy (No. 30) in the third round, then Tommy Robredo (No. 16) in the fourth. His quarterfinal opponent could potentially be Milos Raonic (No. 5), against whom he has a 3-0 record. He's in Djokovic's half.
Men's Favorites with a Tough Draw
Novak Djokovic (No. 1)
The Wimbledon champion is in a loaded top half of the draw, and there are a few tricky faces in his path. The first seed he can face is the always dangerous Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (No. 28) in the third round. He could get John Isner (No. 13) in the fourth, Andy Murray (No. 8) in the quarters and Stan Wawrinka (No. 3) in the semis.
The best news for the Serb, who has struggled mightily this summer, is that he should have a few rounds to find his form.
Andy Murray (No. 8)
Murray's ranking has fallen since his back surgery last fall, and he paid the price for it with this draw. Seeded eighth, facing Djokovic in the quarters is certainly a worst-case scenario.
But Murray has a rough path to even get that far, especially with how he's been playing lately. He could face Fernando Verdasco (No. 31) in the third round and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 9) in the fourth. It's going to be very difficult for the 2012 champion to win his third major over the next fortnight.
Women's Favorites with an Easy Draw
Petra Kvitova (No. 3)
If you follow tennis closely, you know that nothing is straightforward for the two-time Wimbledon champion. However, her draw in New York does make it possible for her to make it to her first U.S. Open quarterfinal.
Kvitova's first tricky encounter would come against American Madison Keys (No. 27) in the third round. Then she could get struggling Victoria Azarenka (No. 16) or unpredictable Svetlana Kuznetsova (No. 20) in the fourth round. Her projected quarterfinal opponent is Eugenie Bouchard (No. 8), who is also slumping this summer.
If she makes it that far she could get Serena Williams (No. 1) in the semis, but she would have already had the best U.S. Open of her career.
Agnieszka Radwanska (No. 4)
Radwanska established herself as a contender when she won the Rogers Cup earlier this month. Like Kvitova, she is trying to make her first U.S. Open quarterfinal.
The Pole could face Roberta Vinci (No. 28) in the third round, Alize Cornet (No. 22) or Lucie Safarova (No. 14) in the fourth and Angelique Kerber (No. 6) in the quarters. She's in Simona Halep's half of the draw.
Women's Favorites with a Tough Draw
Serena Williams (No. 1)
Nothing has been easy for Serena in 2014. The two-time defending champion should, in theory, be fine with her draw. However, there's enough danger looming for apprehension to be justified.
After opening against the talented young American Taylor Townsend, Serena has a pretty clear path to the fourth round, where she could face 2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur (No. 24). A surging Ana Ivanovic (No. 8) might be waiting in the quarters.
Petra Kvitova (No. 4) is her slated semifinal opponent.
Simona Halep (No. 2)
Even though she's No. 2 in the world and made the French Open final and Wimbledon semis this year, Halep is still searching for a signature win on a big stage. It won't be easy to get that victory in New York.
Halep could face the dangerous Garbine Muguruza (No. 25) in the third round, Venus Williams (No. 19) in the fourth round and then Maria Sharapova (No. 5) in the quarters. That's not a smooth path to glory.
Maria Sharapova (No. 5)
Sharapova is certainly paying for letting her ranking slide to No. 5. She opens up against her dangerous compatriot Maria Kirilenko, could face Sabine Lisicki (No. 26) in the third round, Caroline Wozniacki (No. 10) in the fourth and then Halep in the quarters.
She'll have to rely on her vintage fight if she wants to make it to her first U.S. Open final since 2006.
Outlook for the American Men
It's that wonderful time of the year when we all get worked up into a panic about the state of American tennis, particularly on the men's side. So is there any hope that this year's edition of the tournament will paint a different picture?
Well, it's not looking likely.
The top American, John Isner (No. 13), has a manageable first two rounds but then could face his nemesis Philipp Kohlschreiber (No. 22) in the third round. Isner has lost to Kohlschreiber in the third round of the U.S. Open for the past two years in a row.
If Isner makes it past the German, he could face Novak Djokovic (No. 1) in the fourth round. Ouch. It doesn't help that the North Carolina native is nursing an ankle injury, per the Associated Press (h/t Fox Sports).
There are no other seeded American men, but there are a few who could make a little noise during the first week. Sam Querrey has a winnable first two rounds before he would face Djokovic in the third. Donald Young has been playing well this summer and could find himself facing Stan Wawrinka (No. 3) in the third round, a player Young upset at the U.S. Open a few years ago.
Jack Sock's draw is open enough that he could make a run to the third or fourth round if he's playing well, and an in-form Steve Johnson could open things up for himself if he upsets Feliciano Lopez (No. 19) in the second round.
Ryan Harrison, who has never had much luck with Grand Slam draws, opens up against Grigor Dimitrov (No. 7).
Outlook for the American Women
Besides Serena Williams, there are a lot of other American women who could make a run in New York.
Serena has three talented Americans in her section. She opens up against young Taylor Townsend, then could play Vania King in the second round and Varvara Lepchenko in the third.
Sloane Stephens (No. 21) has a nice draw until the third round. There, she could face Jelena Jankovic (No. 9), who has already defeated Stephens twice this summer.
Venus Williams (No. 19) has had a spectacular month and is definitely a dark horse at the tournament. She opens up against one of the only players on tour older than she is, Kimiko Date-Krumm, and the first seed she faces is Sara Errani (No. 13) in the third round. A run to the second week is far from out of the question.
The other seeded American, Madison Keys (No. 27), has a good draw up until Petra Kvitova (No. 3) in the third round. If that matchup happens as planned, expect a lot of big hitting.
Lauren Davis has a chance for an upset right out of the gates when she takes on Samantha Stosur (No. 24) in the first round. Coco Vandeweghe, who has surged up the rankings over the past three months, has a nice path to the third round.
Shelby Rogers starts against a qualifier and could open up her draw if she upsets a struggling Flavia Pennetta (No. 11) in the second round. Another promising young American, Alison Riske, opens up against Ana Ivanovic (No. 8).
Must-See First-Round Matches
Tomas Berdych (No. 6) vs. Lleyton Hewitt
Bernard Tomic vs. Dustin Brown
Grigor Dimitrov (No. 7) vs. Ryan Harrison
Serena Williams (No. 1) vs. Taylor Townsend
Svetlana Kuznetsova (No. 20) vs. Marina Erakovic
Jelena Jankovic (No. 9) vs. Bojana Jovanovski
Maria Sharapova (No. 5) vs. Maria Kirilenko
Wild Cards to Watch
For the men, it's certainly the year to pay attention to the next generation, especially Milos Raonic (No. 5), Grigor Dimitrov (No. 7), Kei Nishikori (No. 10) and Jerzy Janowicz.
But don't forget about 23-year-old David Goffin, who has come on strong this season. Unseeded and ranked No. 62, Goffin is having the summer of his life after winning three Challengers in a row and an ATP title in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
For the women, keep an eye on the former No. 1s and past major winners floating around in the draw.
Victoria Azarenka (No. 16) has struggled due to injury lately but has made it to the U.S. Open final the last two years and is always dangerous on hard courts.
Additionally, Venus Williams (No. 19) could do some damage after a great summer, 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic (No. 8) has found her form again and the much-maligned Caroline Wozniacki (No. 10) is playing some of the best tennis of her career.
Predictions for the Men's Tournament
Novak Djokovic (No. 1) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 9)
Stan Wawrinka (No. 3) vs. Milos Raonic (No. 5)
David Ferrer (No. 4) vs. Feliciano Lopez (No. 19)
Roger Federer (No. 2) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (No. 7)
Djokovic vs. Raonic
Ferrer vs. Dimitrov
Djokovic vs. Dimitrov
Predictions for the Women's Tournament
Serena Williams (No. 1) vs. Ana Ivanovic (No. 8)
Petra Kvitova (No. 3) vs. Ekaterina Makarova (No. 17)
Jelena Jankovic (No. 9) vs. Agnieszka Radwanska (No. 4)
Caroline Wozniacki (No. 10) vs. Simona Halep (No. 2)
Williams vs. Kvitova
Radwanska vs. Wozniacki
Williams vs. Wozniacki