Let’s take a look at Day Two of the U.S. Open and what we can expect from the key matches.
Novak Djokovic vs. Ivan Lujubicic
Djokovic is coming into the Open as perhaps a darkhorse contender for the title. Since last year’s confrontation with Andy Roddick in their quaterfinal match where Djokovic was booed for his comments to the New York crowd, Djokovic has toned down his personality and looks subdued on courts these days. I actually think this has hurt his game as he needs that “militant” fire to fuel his game. On the other side, Ljubicic is a former top ten player who’s on the wane as of late. He’s still got the game to perhaps test Djokovic, but I like Novak in four in this one.
Ernests Gulbis vs. Andy Murray
At last year’s Open, Gulbis was a set and a break up on Roddick before Roddick won. Many thought Gulbis was a sure bet top 20 player. What a difference a year makes. Gulbis is now hovering around the 100’s rankings wise and has not been able to win two matches in a row all year. I saw him play in L.A. this summer against Safin and thought he resembled Safin in lack of mental clarity. Gulbis has a nice backcourt game but his lack of focus should make this an easy three set win for Murray.
Ana Ivanovic vs. Kateryna Bondarenko
Bondarenko has had a so-so year but this summer she did have some good results including getting to the Round of 16 at Toronto. Ivanovic has struggled all year with her form all year so this match will be a good test to rate Ivanovic’s chances this year.
Other matches to watch:
Patty Schnyder(SUI) vs. Lucie Safarova(CZE)
Tomas Berdych(CZE) vs. Wayne Odesnik(USA)
Jesse Witten(USA) vs. Igor Andreev(RUS) ( I actually like Witten in this one).