I'd love for the subject of this article to be about which American could actually win the U.S. Open, but only a crazy person would think such a thing and I haven't had enough caffeine yet today to go that far. No, what American tennis fans are looking for are some simple bright spots. Players to root for, young talent that may one day contend for this title. With that in mind, here's a list of the most interesting American men's tennis players that have made the U.S. Open singles draw, their ATP ranking, and their chances in this tournament (in the order they come up on the brackets).
* Donald Young (No. 80) - He's playing Roger Federer in the first round. It's not so much that we all know he's going to lose. What I want to see is how he plays and reacts to the No. 1 player in the world. Young was supposed to be the future star of American tennis, but he has never come close to living up to his potential.
* Mardy Fish (No. 24) - There's hope that Fish can make it quite far in this Grand Slam, but given that he's in the top half of Federer's bracket, I'd say he doesn't have much of a chance. Sidelined for part of the season due to a heart condition (now corrected), Fish hasn't played nearly well all year as he did when he soared up the rankings in 2011. In any case, I'd love to see him get so far as to play Federer and to give the world No. 1 a run for his money.
* Jack Sock (No. 248) - In my opinion, one of the future stars of American men's tennis and has a history of success at the U.S. Open. Won the Juniors title here in 2010, and in 2011 actually won the senior mixed doubles title with Melanie Oudin. Honestly, I think if Sock can get past his first round opponent (Florian Meyer), he could get to the third or fourth round.
* Sam Querrey (No. 28) - Querrey might be the highest-ranked American men's tennis player that no one knows about. He's won seven career titles (including at Los Angeles this year), but he seems to fly under the radar. He has made the fourth round twice here (in 2008 and 2010).
* Brian Baker (No. 70) - Baker has made some waves with a highly successful summer (won Nice, and then made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon), but considering that his second round opponent is No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic, I don't see him getting too far in this year's tournament.
* John Isner (No. 10) - Isner is the one American who could go all the way to the semi-finals (and possibly further) if he's serving well. He's in the bracket that would have been Rafael Nadal's and now the highest ranked player in that quarter is No. 5 David Ferrer. The only Grand Slam that Isner has ever advanced beyond the 2nd round has been the U.S. Open, and the only time he did it was last year when he lost to No. 4 Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. This could be the year for Isner to go even further.
* Ryan Harrison (No. 61) - Harrison made more waves for his poor behavior this year than for his play on the court. Last year he won his first round match (at the age of 19), but was bounced in the second round by Andy Roddick. This year he's also likely to go out in the second round as his opponent would no doubt be No. 8 Juan Martin Del Potro who is finally starting to come back to the form that made him the champion here at the U.S. Open in 2009. I like Harrison, but he has to control his temper and improve his play at smaller tournaments so he stops getting these horrible seedings at Grand Slams.
* Andy Roddick (No. 21) - Finally, we have the most successful American men's tennis player since Pete Sampras retired. The biggest question about Roddick at this tournament will be whether he will retire at the end of this season after battling injuries and poor results over the past few years. He's been playing better as of late, having won the ATP title in Atlanta last month. As a past champion (2004), he's always a crowd favorite at the U.S. Open, but I think the best he can do this year will be the third or fourth round.
Julie is a featured tennis contributor for the Yahoo Contributor Network. She's followed tennis all her life, and is sad that it's already time for the last Grand Slam of the season.
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