A week into the last grand slam tournament of the year, the Swiss tennis players look as sharp as the cheese their country is famously associated with. Roger Federer dispatched of Marinko Matosevic in a straight sets win on Tuesday, all while debuting his new Jordan inspired tennis shoes. And Stanislas Wawrinka rolled through his first round match against Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic on Monday, despite not serving his best.
Federer, now 33 years old has put together an impressive summer of tennis. A quick scan of his 2014 resume includes reaching the finals at Wimbledon, making an appearance in the Rogers Cup finals, and being crowned the champion of the Western and Southern Open. Federer’s still got it and by no means should he be counted out of the 2014 US Open.
His fellow countryman Wawrinka has not had quite the summer after coming off of his first grand slam title at the 2014 Australian Open. Despite an average summer for Wawrinka, his first round showing was inspiring and his second round showing was even better. He built up a quick two set lead against Thomaz Bellucci and closed out the match confidently in the fourth set to move onto the third round.
Wawrinka’s distinct advantage over the other elite players is his section of the draw, it is very well suite for him to make a deep run into the final 2014 grand slam tournament. He would not face another seeded player until at least the fourth round. Assuming Wawrinka makes it that far he would face the winner of Nick Kyrgios and Tommy Robredo’s third round match. Robredo is seeded #16 but don’t count the teenage Kyrgios out to pull off the upset. From there the road gets a little tougher, he could possibly meet the #5 seed Milos Raonic or the #10 seed Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals. Both of these opponents would be challenges, but Wawrinka should come out on top. In the semifinals he could face a number of top 10 opponents including Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray, or Novak Djokovic. If I were Wawrinka, I would want to meet Tsonga in the semifinals. This would give him the best chance of advancing to the finals. Wawrinka will not be able to walk into the finals but he has a good shot of making it to at least the semifinals, in my opinion.
Federer’s section of the draw is not as lucky and he will run into some dangerous players sooner. In the third round, Federer will face Marcel Granollers, who pulled off the surprise upset over Ivo Karlovic. In the fourth round, he could be looking at a match-up against the #17 seed Roberto Bautista-Agut. From there he might meet the French #12 seed Richard Gasquet or the #7 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals. This is where things will get challenging for Federer. Though, a Federer and Dimitrov matchup would be a very interesting one to watch. Dimitrov is often called Baby-Fed because of how similar the two players game styles are. If they meet, this match will be sure to be a crowd pleaser. And if Federer can make it through the quarters, he might set up a meeting with the #4 seed David Ferrer or the #6 seed Tomas Berdych. If he were to meet either of these players in the semis, Federer would have a pretty good shot at moving to the finals.
However, it’s not only the Swiss men who have been playing well. Belinda Bencic, a 17-year-old native of Switzerland upset the #6 seed Angelique Kerber in the third round on Friday afternoon. She could also make a surprise run deep into the US Open.
But tennis is never that easy to predict and Wawrinka and Federer will need to play their very best tennis to make a run for the US Open title. The absence of Rafael Nadal certainly opens up the draw for both players. And I know this is a bold prediction but I believe that the winner of the 2014 US Open is going to be Swiss.