US Open 2014: Quarterfinal Predictions

The last Grand Slam of the tennis calendar year is here, and New York (Flushing Meadows) is set for one of the most intriguing tournaments in years. Unlike previous years, there is an unconventional favourite—a 5 time Champion who is an underdog of sorts—and a bunch of younger contenders led by the World no. 1
 
The draw is out, and the exclusion of Rafael Nadal has thrown up some interesting possibilities. For once, Federer has it easy as the no. 2 seed, while Djokovic has been saddled with huge tests. Here are my predictions for the quarterfinalists by going through each of the four quarters of the draw:
 
Quarter 1:
 
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray find themselves in this unkind quarter of death, coupled with hard-hitting Tsonga and Verdasco. Common sense would see the Serb and Brit go through to face eachother in the quarters, but the formbook is awry and any one of Kohlschreiber, Muller and Isner could give Djokovic a run for his newly-wed money. I predict Murray to be the first high-profile casualty of this draw.
Quarterfinal1: Djokovic v/s Tsonga
 
Quarter 2:
 
Wawrinka finds himself with a bunch of giant-killers in the top half of this quarter: Young, Youzhny, Stakhovsky, Posposil and Robredo. It could have been worse though, if he had Murray or Tsonga in this portion. The bottom half has Raonic, who has it relatively easy with only Nishikori in the way. 
Quarterfinal2: Wawrinka v/s Raonic
 
Quarter 3:
 
Berdych faces Aussie veteran Hewitt in the first round, and what a cracker of a match it will be. If Berdych gets through this, he has only Gulbis or Lopez to contend with before the quarters. In the bottom half, Ferrer will have to face Aussie Tomic in the second round, while Cilic faces Baghdatis in a mercurial first-round encounter. These were once promising youngsters with the world at their feet, but they have never quite lived up to their potential (unlike Ferrer who has maximised his limited potential). Even Janowicz could be a contender here, and therefore, this part could throw up some upsets. 
Quarterfinal3: Gulbis v/s Ferrer
 
Quarter4:
 
No. 7 seed Dimitrov—the most promising youngster out of the lot—might consider this year to be his breakthrough, but it hasn’t happened yet. His big tests will be Frenchmen Monfils and Gasquet before the quarters, after which he must contend with Big Daddy Roger Federer, who only has big-serving Karlovic as a threat in his path. 
 
Quarterfinal4: Federer v/s Dimitrov
 
Final Prediction: Repeat of Wimbledon—Djokovic vs/ Federer. 
 
Winner Prediction: Roger Federer could win his 18th Grand Slam title.

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