First, the good:
1) For a No. 22 seed, Sam Querrey got a favorable draw -- In the same way that Wimbledon is more fun when Andy Murray advances far, the U.S. Open provides better entertainment when an American makes some noise. We expect Andy Roddick to do so (he's advanced to the quarterfinals in seven of his last eight appearances at Flushing Meadow), but there's a good chance that the upstart Querrey could join him in the final eight.
After clinching the summer-long U.S. Open Series on Wednesday, Querrey had an equally good day Thursday when he found out that his likely second round match-up would be against No. 12 seed Robin Soderling, a clay court specialist. Throw in the home-country advantage, a possible $1 million bonus (for winning the Open series) and the rowdy support of his cheering section, the Samurai, and it could add up to a memorable weekend for the 21-year old from California.
2) The "shrieker heard 'round the world" shouldn't get too much TV time -- If a grunter plays in Queens and nobody is around to watch it, does she make a sound? Michelle Larcher de Brito, the 16-year old Portuguese player who was heckled in Paris earlier this year for her excessive shrieks, has a draw void of any big-name players, which means that her exposure on television should be minimal, barring an unexpected run to the quarterfinals. This is a good thing for people watching on CBS and ESPN, as listening to Larcher de Brito for more than three minutes is akin to blasting Coldplay on your iPod while jackhammering a piece of chalk against a blackboard. Our advice for those who will be attending the Open in person? Try to situate yourself at least three courts away.
And, the bad:
1) Venus and Serena are scheduled to meet in the semifinals -- Even though we firmly believe that the fact that two sisters from Compton are the best tennis players in the world is taken for granted, we can't deny that every time Venus and Serena play in a Grand Slam final it's a yawn-inducing affair. Even so, it's unfortunate that the Wimbledon finalists won't have a chance to play each other in their third U.S. Open final. (Maybe we're just bitter because there's no reason for Dinara Safina to be seeded No. 1 in anything other than "best current women's players named Dinara".)
2) Richard Gasquet will play Rafael Nadal in the first round -- This isn't bad for tennis fans because anytime a guy who is just one year removed from a top ten ranking plays a six-time Grand Slam champion in the first round of a Grand Slam event, that's pretty awesome. No, we're more concerned that Gasquet's likely early loss will disappoint Manhattan's coke-fueled party girls, who will miss out on the chance to make-out with a real, live French tennis star. Sorry, ladies.