Doug Smith’s U.S. Open Picks

Men

Novak Djokovic – Novak is quite a showman and the bigger the spotlight, the more he seems at ease, indeed at home. The 25-year-old Serb loves New York and his penchant for doing wild and wacky things, including mimicking fellow pros Sharapova, Agassi, et all, serves him well. But he’s also a consummate pro with a chest full of pride, ready to reclaim his Numero Uno crown. 2:1

 

 

Roger Federer – Watch Roger at work just for a while and you realize what greatness in motion looks like. Whether he’s banging away at the baseline or chipping and charging, Federer knows what to do and when todo it. The smooth stroking 31-year-old Swiss has appeared in a record 24 Grand Slam singles finals and holds a record 17 major titles. He aims to prove that he’s still a contender. 4:1

 

 

Andy Murray – The 25-year-old Scot finally gave England something to cheer about at Wimbledon, though it wasn’t the coveted Wimbledon men’s singles crown, last won by a Brit in 1936. Still, all of Great Britain’s hills were alive and ringing with the sounds of music a few weeks ago after Andy claimed a gold medal by defeating Federer in the
Olympic Games final. Andy also beat Djokovic in the Olympic semifinals, but he’s winless (0-3) against Federer and winless (0-2) against Djokovic in Grand Slam singles events. 10:1

 

John Isner — The tallest American pro (6-9) is also the highest ranked American pro (No. 9). No telling how many major titles John might have or how higher in the rankings he might now be had someone
taught him the serve-and-volley game years ago. Thus far, John’s career best result in Grand Slam events occurred at the U.S. Open last year when he reached the quarterfinals. With a bazooka of a serve and
a wingspan of an SST, John should exploit his physical advantages, be more assertive. 16:1

Women


Serena Williams — With Serena recently bagging back-to-back major titles (Wimbledon and Olympics), Kim Clisters proclaimed her unbeatable. “She’s fast, she’s strong, she has a good eye, as well,”
Clijsters says. “What we have seen over the last few months is the best player ever.” Says Serena: “I’m not worthy of that title. I’m just Serena. I love to play tennis and I’m good at it.” Moral of story: The only thing Serena has to fear is Serena herself. One other
thing: Be wary of high praise from a potential adversary in U.S. Open final. 2:1

Kim Clisters — The 29-year-old Belgian superstar ends a sterling career
after the U.S. Open with 41 singles trophies, including three U.S. Open titles, and stints at No. 1 in singles and doubles with no regrets.
She makes it clear, however, that if a fourth U.S. Open title seems within reach, she’ll go for it. “This place (New York) is magical for
me,” she says. “I have had so many beautiful memories. I’m not retiring yet, you know.” 6:1

Maria Sharapova — The 25-year-old Russian’s French Open victory last May made her only the sixth woman in the Open Era to win a career Grand Slam. Maria won Wimbledon in 2004, U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. She lost to Azarenka in the Australian Open final last January but was ousted in the Wimbledon fourth round by Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-3. Maria has 27 singles titles and has been ranked No. 1 on five different occasions. 12:1

 

 

 

Victoria Azerenka — The 23-year-old rising star from Belarus claimed
her first Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open last January but stumbled at the French Open, losing to Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 7-6 in the fourth round and at Wimbledon, losing to Serena 6-3, 7-6 in the semifinals. A big win here would put her back in the running for No. 1. 14

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