For the second Grand Slam tournament in a row, one of the big four men’s singles players made an early exit. At Wimbledon it was Rafael Nadal, but at Flushing Meadows it was Roger Federer who made his earliest exit from a Grand Slam event in years.
Federer lost comfortably to 19th seed Tommy Robredo, marking the end of a poor year for the Swiss in which his battles with his declining powers have become sadly evident. Whilst players have come back from such a slump before – Andre Agassi being a case in point – the top of the men’s game is so competitive now that you have to wonder whether we will see Federer, the old Federer, ever again.
Robredo, by contrast, now looks to be one of the value tennis picks of this tournament. His next task is a quarterfinal against Nadal, who had his own struggles in beating Philipp Kohlschrieber in four sets. Nadal looked well below par in that game on Tuesday, taking fewer than a quarter of the break points offered by Kohlschrieber. On the other hand, he has still to drop his serve in this competition and unless Robredo can do that he simply will not win. Another thing that he needs to avoid is giving up break points of his own. Federer was as profligate as Nadal on that particular issue and Robredo knows that his countryman won’t be as generous again.
The other quarterfinal in that half of the draw sees fourth seed David Ferrer take on eight seed Richard Gasquet. Both men had tough fourth round matches, Ferrer needing four sets to see off 18th seed Janko Tipsarevic whilst Gasquet was taken to five sets by 10th seeded Canadian Milos Raonic. After all of that effort, this could be a battle of whoever can stay on their feet longest. If Ferrer can get though then he will be a very real threat to Nadal in the semi finals, and at a whacking 55/1 betting odds with Paddy Power, he could be a very good bet to be the first man since 2009 to win a Grand Slam from outside of the big four.
The last man to do that, Juan Martin del Potro, surprisingly fell to Lleyton Hewitt in the third round. Hewitt then went on to lose a five set thriller to Mikhail Youzhny in round four, thus missing out on his chance of a first Grand Slam quarter final since 2008.
Youzhny now plays the top seed and tournament second favourite, Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Djokovic is currently at 9/5 with Boylesport, which you might not think of as great odds, but with Nadal a somewhat surprising favourite here given his consistency problems since his knee injuries, that is possibly the best price you’ll get on Djokovic this year. He was particularly impressive in winning through from round four, taking just 86 minutes to seal a 6-3/6-0/6-0 win.
Defending champion Andy Murray is also in that half of the draw. At 7/2 in most markets Murray is well priced to retain his crown and his recent record against Djokovic, who he should meet in the semi-finals is good. The danger for him is his habit of losing to opponents he should beat easily. His next opponent, Stanislas Wawrinka, falls into that category, even though he is seeded in the top ten as well; so watch out if you're thinking of adding him to your sports picks.Share your thoughts on the US Open on our tennis message boards!