Mardy Fish v. Tobias Kamke– Enjoying by far the best year of his career, Mardy Fish will be looking to make a deep run in the 2011 US Open. In the first round he will be facing Tobias Kamke from Germany. Kamke will be no light task as the speedy Germany possesses an all around game with no overwhelming weaknesses. Kamke generates a ton of racket speed off both sides and will be looking to dictate play from the baseline by taking the ball early when given the opportunity. With this being said, Fish will undoubtedly have to work but should be able to make it through unscathed.
Prediction:Fish in 3
Roger Federer v. Santiago Giraldo– This first round match is about as lopsided as it gets. Giraldo is a defensive baseliner from Colombia who does not have any weapons to threaten Federer and really prefers the Clay courts to which his style of play is much better suited. Federer should be able to use this match to build form for the rest of the tournament. I don’t see any possible way for Federer to lose this match barring an injury.
Prediction: Federer in 3
Ryan Harrison v. Marin Cilic– This is an extremely intriguing matchup. You have the young American upstart in Ryan Harrison looking to breakthrough in a major for the first time and accelerate his already inclining career path. In contrast, Marin Cilic is attempting to regain the form that cemented his spot in the top 10 and spurred him to an Australian Open semifinal in 2010. Cilic has not won a grand slam match this season and this match very well could lead to his completion of a “grand slam”- losing in the first round of all four majors. Look for Harrison to relentlessly attack the Cilic forehand as it contains a lot of wrist action and is prone to breaking down. Overall, I think Harrison plays a more reliable, gutsy, confidence driven game and at this moment is in a better spot in his career despite being ranked lower.
Prediction: Harrison in 4
Gael Monfils v. Grigor Dimitrov– This is an absolutely fantastic first round match between quite possibly the future of men’s tennis in Dimitrov and arguably the most electrifying player on tour in Monfils. Dimitrov is surely going to give Monfils everything he can handle and really make him work hard to earn his passage through to the 2nd round. This match will really be predicated on whether the passive or aggressive Monfils shows up. If Monfils chooses to camp back 2 miles behind the baseline and retrieve with his exceptional defensive abilities, he really is not setting himself up with the best chance to win. Dimitrov has incredible shot making ability and if he is on, playing defensive is simply not going to work out for Monfils. If Monfils chooses to play more offensively, this could be a slugfest. I expect Monfils will draw substantial confidence from his performance against Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati and in the end find a suitable balance between offense and defense that will be too much for Dimitrov to counter.
Prediction: Monfils in 4
Ivo Karlovic v. Fernando Gonzalez– Many people might be surprised to find out that Fernando Gonzalez in fact still does play tennis being he has only played 6 tour level matches this season. Plagued by a knee injury in the first half of 2011, Gonzo faces a formidable challenge in the big serving Croatian. I really see this match as one that is going to be very difficult for Gonzalez to win. Only having played one hard court match this summer, Gonzo is lacking match play and there is no worse player to try to develop rhythm against than Karlovic.
Prediction: Karlovic in 4 (expect a few tiebreakers)
Kohlschreiber v. Stepanek– Stepanek has enjoyed greater success on the American hard courts than Kohlschreiber this summer and leads their head to head 4-1. Kohlschreiber is a personal favorite of mine but unfortunately the craft and finesse of Stepanek will prove too much for the German.
Prediction: Stepanek in 4 tight sets
Malisse v. Granollers- Toss up match. Neither player has won a hard court match this summer and Granollers has not even played in a hard court tournament. This is a tough call, but I am going to say the X-man in five unentertaining sets.
Prediction: Malisse in 5
Monaco v. Seppi- This could be a long, drawn out match as both of these guys prefer to grind it out from the baseline. Monaco definitely has a greater ability to turn defense into offense and pull the trigger.
Prediction: Monaco in 5
Rounding off Day 1…
Montanes over Kukushkin in 5, Ferrero over Andujar in 3, Dolgpolov over Gil in 3, Petzschner over Ramos in 3, Fognini over Zeballos in 5, Llodra over Hanescu in 3, Tipsarevic over Gensse in 3, Nishikori over Cipolla in 3, Gasquet over Stakhovsky in 3, Haas over Dasnieres De Veigy in 5, Troicki over Falla in 4, Berdych of Jouan in 3, Anderson over Soeda in 3
Upsets: Sela over Bellucci in 4, Jaziri over De Bakker in 5