2014 US Open Preview: All Eyes on Roger Federer & Serena Williams

2014 US Open Preview: All Eyes on Roger Federer & Serena Williams

The weather is warm. The air drips with humidity. It must be late August with the US Open, the last Grand Slam for tennis, around the corner. Question is, will the tournament award the usual suspects or will the next generation step up?

1. Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer

Holy cow. Roger received a draw that appears only in dreams. The man does not face a tough opponent until the quarterfinal, potentially against rising star Grigor Dimitrov. Djokovic faces a slightly tougher draw, but he is number one in the world for a reason, despite slip-ups at the Rogers Cup and the Western & Southern Open. Andy Murray’s star is not as bright since he won Wimbledon in 2013. Wimbledon semi-finalist Milos Raonic or Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka are potential opponents in the semifinals. But even those two are not locks to go through because Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Kei Nishikori, and Tommy Robredo are in their paths. 

2. No Rafael Nadal

Defending champion Rafa is out with a wrist injury. It is always sad when one of the best is not present, but this withdrawal is not surprising. Nadal missed the Rogers Cup and the Western & Southern Open. The absence of one of the top four means one of the upcoming stars has an opportunity to shine. If anything, we know for certain there will be a new US Open champion.

3. America still lacks men, but the women are strong

John Isner is the only American man seeded at the US Open. But America is filled with talented females without the last name Williams. Serena faces Taylor Townsend in the first round. She could possibly face Vania King in the second and Varvara Lepchenko in the third round. While Serena should easily advance, these young ladies have a bright future in tennis. Sloane Stephens (21) and Madison Keys (27) could very well make it to the third round, too. Then there is Venus Williams (19). She played excellent tennis since Wimbledon, even defeating sister Serena at the Rogers Cup! Venus will make it to the second round.

Make sure to watch Lauren Davis, Shelby Rogers, and Alison Riske as well. They are the future of American tennis!

4. The weather

ALL THE RAIN! The roof on Arthur Ashe stadium should be completed in 2016, but for now we fans must deal with rain delays. The weather forecast for next week appears to be slightly cooler than recent years. Hopefully that will keep away the rain.

5. Women’s Prediction: Serena will win

It is hard not to pick Serena. When she is on, she is invincible. The only person who can defeat Serena is Serena. Her first victory in Cincinnati lifted her spirits after an odd Wimbledon. With her confidence through the roof it will be hard to bring her down.

HOWEVER, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (3) is on fire and will meet Serena in the quarterfinals. Keep an eye on her. She just won in Connecticut and her adrenaline is high.

6. Men’s Prediction: Roger Federer will make history

With his easy draw and an excellent hard-court record in 2014, Federer will finally win his 18th Grand Slam. He will move into first place by himself, surpassing his personal hero and beloved American star Pete Sampras. 2013 was a disastrous year for Federer and many people wondered if it was time to hang up the racket. So far, 2014 put to rest that chatter. He breezed through Wimbledon, only to barely lose to Djokovic. Well, in New York, it will be Federer who hoists the trophy over Djokovic.

Follow Mary Chastain on Twitter @MChastain81 and continue the conversation.