With the big stars of tennis having won the first three majors and the 2012 Olympic gold medal (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, respectively), will one of these men take their second big tournament of the season or can someone who has yet to win get a major victory in this hard court tournament?
Though the winners of the first three majors and the Olympics come in as the favorites, there are several dark horses who can challenge those four men.
Some of the men who have a chance to win the 2012 U.S. Open:
The Spaniard has played quite well in many of the major tennis tournaments over the last few years, however, he has yet to break through to win one. After reaching the semifinals in the 2011 Australian open, he is currently rated #5 in the ATP Tour Rankings. He is known as a clay-court specialist, just like Rafael Nadal. However, he has had success on hard courts, such as reaching the semifinals of the 2007 U.S. Open.
He is known as a great returner and plays groundstrokes as well as anyone on the ATP Tour. However, he has been held back by his average play at the net. Even for being regarded as an agile athlete, he has not been able to put it all together to win a major tournament. With his past success at Flushing Meadow, he may sneak through this year.
The Japanese-born pro has had success on hard courts. He has won smaller tournaments such as the 2008 Delray Beach International Tennis Championship. However, he has yet to get even to a final of a major tournament. After reaching the quarterfinals of the 2012 Australian Open, Nishikori has the opportunity to learn from that experience and bring that to Flushing Meadow to advance deep into this tournament.
He is a great baseline player but lacks a powerful serve that can generate aces against great returners. Without a great serve, he needs to hope that his opponents have a bad day with their groundstroke games.
Currently rated as the seventh best player on the ATP Tour, Czech Tomas Berdych has not had success on the hard courts of Flushing Meadow. He has not broken through the fourth round of the U.S. Open three different times. However, he has had a strong 2012 season by winning in doubles tournaments.
He is as good a server and as fast a server as any player on the tour. However, his poor footwork and lack of mental fortitude has been his downfall at times. He will have to put it together to get it done in this tournament. Anyone who has had success in a tournament like the Sony Ericsson Open (where he reached the 2010 Final) should have success at Flushing Meadow.
Edwin Alexander has been following tennis since he was a child. He vividly remembers the run of Jimmy Connors in the 1991 U.S. Open.
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