Things Will Be Heating Up In D.C.

Tommy Keeler@@tkeelernvd and @nectar737Correspondent IIIJuly 31, 2010

ATLANTA - JULY 23:  Andy Roddick reacts after defeating Xavier Malisse of Belgium on Day 5 of the Atlanta Tennis Championships at the Atlanta Athletic Club on July 23, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Legg Mason tournament is one of my favorites, mainly because it's close to where I live. However, it also always has a good draw, and makes for a great tournament. This year should be no different.
This year's field is cleary the best yet in the U.S. Open Series. I would say it's one of the best that the Legg Mason has ever had.
Robin Solderling was supposed to play, but withdrew for personal reasons, but Tomas Berdych, Andy Roddick, Fernando Verdasco and Marin Cilic will be there among many others.
I plan to be there for at least part of the tournament, and I will write some stories throughout the week.
Here are my fearless predictions for the week:

First quarter
The top part of this section should go smoothly for Berdych. Only Dimitry Tursunov and Richard Gasquet loom as threats. John Isner could have a tough time with big-serving Thiemo De Bakkker, potentially in the first round or Xavier Malisse or Julien Benneteau in the second round. However, I expect Isner to make it through and meet Berdych in the quarters. Isner has been playing well, but after making the Wimbledon final I think Berdych's confidence is sky-high and I look for him to pull out a three-set win.

Pick: Berdych

Second quarter
This may be the most wide-open section of the draw. Verdasco is the top-seed of the section, but there are several darkhorses around him. After advancing to the quarterfinals last week in Los Angeles, I think James Blake could be ready for a big breakthrough. However, he could be facing Michael Llodra in the second round. In the bottom part of this section Marcos Baghdatis and Ernests Gulbis could be headed for a round-of-16 match-up. I'm going for the upset and I'm going to say Blake and Baghdatis will meet in a quarterfinal clash with Blake getting the win in  three sets.

Pick: Blake

Third quarter
This section is loaded with great players. Cilic could be headed for a showdown with Mardy Fish in the round-of-16. Fish has won 10 consecutive matches and back-to-back tournaments. On the other side of this section, Sam Querrey, Janko Tipsarevic and Lleyton Hewitt should be factors. I'm picking Querrey and Fish to play in the quarterfinals with Fish winning in straight sets.

Pick: Fish

Fourth quarter
Another tough section. Roddick could be playing the dangerous floater Benjamin Becker in his first match. Giles Simon looms as a round-of-16 opponent for Roddick. Stan Wawrinka and Radek Stepanek, who has been off tour for a while due to illness and a recent marriage to former women's player Nicole Vaidisova. David Nalbandian could be also be a difficult opponent. I'm going with Roddick and Wawrinka in the quarters with Roddick winning in straight sets.

Pick: Roddick

Berdych vs. Blake
I thought Blake looked much better in L.A., but couldn't quite close out Feliciano Lopez. I think he will have a great tournament in D.C., where he was won before. However, I think Berdych is simply playing too well.
Pick: Berdych in two sets

Fish vs. Roddick
Fish has been playing unbelievably well and beat Roddick last week in Atlanta. But that was last week. I think Roddick will get his revenge on his good friend and end the winning streak.
Pick: Roddick in three sets

Berdych vs. Roddick
Roddick has won in D.C. three times and seems to play well here every year. Berdych has a lot of confidence, but I think Roddick is due for some better results and will win another Legg Mason title.
Pick: Roddick in three sets.