Handicapping The Open

By Richard Kent, Staff Reporter

NEW YORK — It is such a tough tournament to handicap. How humid will the weather be? Will it be so hot that it could lead to a player like Australian John Millman beating a physically drained, yet highly favored Roger Federer in the quarters like last year?

Who know, but we will give it our best shot.     

On the men’s side, despite all the talk about the next generation of great players like Stefano Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov, it really still comes down to the big 3,Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

They have won the last 11 Grand Slams and 53 of the last 64. The last player other than them to win one was Stan Wawrinka, at the US Open in 2016. 

There is no reason to believe that this trend will change. Some scribes point to no. 4 seed Dominic Thiem, but Thiem is not on his best at the hard surface of Flushing Meadows.

If form hold true, he would have to battle Nadal, as he did last year to make it to the semis. A match he is unlikely to win. So it may come down to which of the big 3 has to beat 2 others to win the title.

That would be Federer and Djokovic, who are in the same half.

Nadal does have obstacles in his half, but not nearly as great as a Djokovic or Federer. He has the aforementioned Thiem and also Tsitsipas and always dangerous, but enigmatic Nick Kyrgios in his half.     

This writer has always advocated a potential 1-4, 2-3 match-up in the semis, but that was not the result this year.Djokovic should emerge with the men’s title.     

The terrain is far different on the women’s side. There are at least 8 women who can win it all.Serena Williams is always penned in as the favorite, despite the fact that she is seeded no. 8.

She was a finalist last year, losing a highly controversial match to this year’s no. 1 seed, Naomi Osaka. Williams has won the Open 6 times, but not since 2014. Williams would have to beat players like Madison Keys and Angie Kerber to make it to another Open final and we don’t see that happening.

Patrick McEnroe does. Pencil in Keys, the winner in Cincinnati as a finalist against Simona Halep, who easily won Wimbledon this past July over Williams, in straight sets.

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