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The dark horses for the USO, who is going to make the surprise run

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Post by socal1976 Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:56 pm

It is hard to analyze before the draw has come out, but in this lull till the open I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the players outside the top 4 who could make a run at the trophy if their game comes together:

Juan Martin Del Potro: Hard to call the 09 winner a dark horse but Del Po has struggled to get his game back to where it was before the injury. Still when at his best he can beat any of the top guys. JMDP is the toughest matchup for Nadal stylistically and would want to be in Nadal's quarter. He loves the north american hardcourts his big flat hitting from the forehand and serve suit the conditions ideally. Most likely doesn't want to be put into Novak or Andy's quarters as they seem to be the best at neutralizing his power.

JW Tsonga: Has all the attacking attributes to be an open champion his problem seems to be in replicating his performances from match to match and week to week. He got to the semis of wimby and should be a danger man to any of the top 4. With two wins over fed he would probably prefer to be in Roger's quarter.If his serve comes together for an entire fortnight he has the ability to make it all the way.

Robin Soderling: 2 grandslam finalist, another power player who has the shots to knock out the big boys. But since the start of the season when he won three straight european indoor events Soderling hasn't had a very good year in the slams. He looks a bit off from last years form but he is another player who if he clicks can be very dangerous

Thomas Berdych: Berdych hurt his shoulder but he played very well in cincy before going down in the semis. Again another big server and flat ball hitter hopefully his injury at cincy is not serious and he will be able to recapture some of the form from his wimby finals run last year.

Mardy Fish: The second hottest guy on tour right now. He will have the added benefit of playing on home soil. He has beaten every one of the top 4 before except for Novak. Would probably prefer to be in Rafa or Andy's quarter. He has more variety than the other players on this list but his forehand can break down when he isn't playing well. Fish is also a bit susceptible on the second serve. But he has a good 1st serve, a great backhand return, and lovely touch at net.


Last edited by socal1976 on Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:59 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by yummymummy Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:58 pm

Keep on dreaming socal The dark horses for the USO, who is going to make the surprise run 291114



NONE of the above stand a chance !

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Post by socal1976 Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:00 pm

That is why they are called Darkhorses yummy, I don't care if they win or don't win, I think however that one of these 5 will make a run at least to the semis.

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Post by sportslover Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:09 pm

The only player out of your list socal IMO would be Tsonga depending if he is fit and in Federers half of the draw!

A semi for him could be realistic but all the way doubtful.

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Post by lydian Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:10 pm

One has to pick Fish to go far - but not sure that qualifies him as a dark horse because he's the No.2 form guy at the moment.

For true dark horses, maybe its time for someone like Melzer to make a deep run, or even Verdasco if he can keep his wobbles at bay as he pushed Nadal to the wire last week! I dont really believe they will though. Hard to see beyond the top 4 making it to the semis though really. I think if Nadal makes it past the first week he could become very strong again his slam record is really quite remarkable and he is very hard to beat over 5 sets even when not on form.

But in reality I'm expecting a Nole-Andy final...unless they're drawn for the semis...but that's always Nole-Fed right? lol
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Post by socal1976 Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:15 pm

I am not saying that any of these guys are going to win the whole thing, I am just saying that they are darkhorses which means they aren't a favorite but have the potential to do real damage and make a run. I think of these five players one of them most likely will make the semis.

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Post by socal1976 Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:18 pm

Lydian, i think with how strong the top 4 have been all these guys qualify for darkhorses. None can really be called one of the favorites. Yes Fish has been playing great but do you think he can be classed as a favorite? Out of the 5 players I listed I think Tsonga and Fish have the best chance of making a semi. Verdasco at this stage isn't much of a horse, his match against Nadal was horrific in terms of tightening up and blowing a match.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:15 pm

Judging by the poor recent showings of Federer and Nadal there is a real possibility that one of these 'dark horses' could gatecrash the semis at Flushing Meadows. Best bets for that are Del Potro and Mardy Fish I'd say. Would add Berdych but that injury for him is a big handicap.
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Post by Josiah Maiestas Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:22 pm

Tsonga isn't really a dark horse though. On the back of a semi at Wimbledon, finalist a few season ago in Aus, and semi's of Montreal prove that he is a big player these days. Berdych is definitely dark horse material, he's never won a big tournament before and hasn't performed in the last few slams, but he can still beat Fed ( Shocked .) Del Potro is too big a name to be a dark horse.

My dark horses would be Gulbis/Simon.
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Post by time please Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:48 pm

I don't think there will be a winner that comes out of nowhere - hoping it is going to be Murray's first slam, or Fed's 17th (lol on current form!) I have nothing against Djokovic or Nadal, but would love to see Murray step up and begin to challenge so we don't continue to have a duopoly at the sharp end of the majors.

My dark horses to go deep are: Monfils (okay, humour me on this one Very Happy ) - he is erratic but entertaining and sometimes brilliant for odd moments. With the right draw could take some scalps.

Berdych looked fiercely focused playing TMF. He has a big game, and pedigree of going deep in slams during 2010. I am not sure how troublesome his shoulder is going to prove, but if he is fit I think he will ride on the confidence that taking out Fed and running Nole close for one set must have given him. Plus he has beaten them both before in slams, so has that to draw upon.

I think Delpo is a dark horse myself, because although W looked promising, I think he went out too tamely to an indifferent Fed last week. He loves US Open though and this is his chance to 'defend' his 2009 crown - again. depending on the run I think he could go deep - he is a proven big match player.

Gasquet - again with good run, but he has had a pretty respectable season all in all, and would love to see him go deep - going to tick my neck out and predict a quarter final for him!

Tsonga and Soderling are obviously very dangerous but both seem to have injury issues atm, so reserve judgement on those two.

Of the young ones to make an impact, if Raonic is feeling okay, I think he could do some damage.

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Post by yloponom68 Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:08 pm

Seeds supposedly announced today, saw this earlier somewhere but till now can't find it anywhere - perhaps a mistake by whatever media on which I saw it....

Raonic out for US Open.

So much of what will transpire will come down to the draw, as a first yardstick of trying to measure possible scenarios. Once that's made, then we have some parametres from which to move forward.

Darkhorses - Berdych, Tsonga, Gasquet, Verdasco, Ferrer, JMDP, Fish, Melzer & Soderling - will leave it at that for now. Of course, chances are, there will be several pairings of the above, that will mutually exclude some, as they will be drawn either against each other, or one of the top 4/8 seends, depending on how the draw pans out.

Berdych, well we'll have to see where the shoulder is, because 3 of 5 sets at Flushing is a "big ask," when fit; nevermind when less than 100% (goes for Djokovic as well). If his injury is OK, then a likely 1/4, possibly semi here.

Tsonga - hopefully over his "strain," and with great serving, his game won't take quite as much out of him, as someone like Ferrer, a grinder, though forever under appreciated for his tremendous skill. Could make the semis for sure...not a "bad bet...."

Gasquet - for him, alot more dependent on the draw than the first two - he's not quite as "sturdy" in the 3 of 5 sets as these first two, I believe. Know he has come back from 0-2 sets in Major before, but was grass.

Fish - a good bet for 1/4's probably though again, more dependent on the draw, as Gasquet above.

Verdasco & JMDP - either of these guys playing close to the top of their games, wouldn't surprise that many by making 1/4s, then depending on draw, a round further. They are both amazing strikers of the ball; JMDP has the experience in the Major's latter rounds, that Verdasco doesn't have - 2009 Aussie Open excepted.

Melzer and Soderling - for me, the least likely of the aforementioned to make serious headway into the latter parts of the 2nd week at Flushing. Not because of talent, but with all that must come together at the right time, in THIS particular Major. Some temperaments seem to take all the "loud, late night, hustle and bustle" more in their stride, than do others.

Draw first, then hopefully some more good introspection by others as to what may play out in 2011's last Major.

Djokovic's 3 slam season.....
Federer's 17th Major singles....
Nadal's defense of title...
and a slew of other possible stories awaiting here....

Wozniacki - not looking for her to win first Major here....
Sharapova - think it's too late for her now, but MUCH depends on that draw
Zvonareva - not likely
Jankovic - ditto
Serena - wouldn't be a big surprise, though I think that now it's definitely within her sights, that added pressure may get to her. She'll be careful on the foot faults, and treatments of umpires, linesmen though, me thinks...

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Post by droogle Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:03 pm

Nadal is the dark horse as people seem to have discounted him already.

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Post by yloponom68 Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:07 am

Winner of 4 out of last 6 Majors, made 5 of last 4 Major finals....hmm...well I think that anyone who has already cast out Nadal as a possible winner of the upcoming US Open, whilst entitled to that opinion, and to the expression thereof, is rather impulsive and unwise.

It's POSSIBLE that Nadal might not make the 2nd week, but at this point, the same holds true for another 127 players that will be in the draw.

It's a rather ridiculous statement to make at this stage, but all things are possible, indeed.

As a Rafa fan - amazed by all the top 4 at this point, for their various accomplishments and talents - as long as he plays very well, then come what may. But I think someone of his "ilk," will not go quietly and perhaps the results he's had of late, may actually serve him well. Not long to go, till we see this all unfold.

I remember saying before the Canada tournament, reading all that had been written, that - stranger things have happened, than to have all or most of the top 4 out before the semi finals - lo! and behold....Nadal, Federer and Murray all went out far earlier than the vast and overwhelming majority, would have forecast.

My "gut" tells me that Djokovic won't feature in the semis, but Federer and Nadal will, along with someone that we don't expect to do so, at this stage. There we go, gone out on a limb....alia jacta est!

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Post by socal1976 Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:21 am

Some really good post by everyone. I like the addition of Gazza as a darkhorse to me he still doesn't play well naturally on a hardcourt, he stands too far back. If he could find away to hit a more compact forehand that would allow him to stand up in the court it would help him a great deal on the faster surfaces. He is really good volleyer but rarely makes it to the net because he starts every rally 3 meters behind the baseline. Would love to see Gazza get to the semis. If I could pick 4 players to make the semis it would be Nole, Gasquet, Fed, and Mardy. This is less what I think would happen but what I hope happens.

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Post by Solerina Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:45 am

Great thread!

If Andy can't win this....then I'd like to see it go to Fed or Tsonga (I'm becoming quite a fan of Tsonga).

I would like to see an Andy v Fed final.....if that's what we get....then we'll have to ask for a <behindthesofasmiley>

We'll also have to ask for the chatbox to be open for the final... maybe have it open for all Andy's matches......tho' I'll probably be working as usual and have to miss most of them.

Where's it being shown, btw? I only have BBC red button and bet365....hope it's on one of those.

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Post by Jeremy_Kyle Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:50 am

yloponom68 wrote:Winner of 4 out of last 6 Majors, made 5 of last 4 Major finals....hmm...well I think that anyone who has already cast out Nadal as a possible winner of the upcoming US Open, whilst entitled to that opinion, and to the expression thereof, is rather impulsive and unwise.

It's POSSIBLE that Nadal might not make the 2nd week, but at this point, the same holds true for another 127 players that will be in the draw.

It's a rather ridiculous statement to make at this stage, but all things are possible, indeed.


I don't really think anybody is that mad to rule Nadal out. I do think that all the posters and “pundits” who have predicted years of Nadal's dominance after his epic 2010 have been superficial. In fact they have factored in their analysis the decline of Federer, but totally missed the possibility that Nadal himself would have begun his own declining path.

As a consequence of all the above Nadal has to be a considered a contender, but not the dominant favourite as in the last two years. This make him an unlikely, but possible, winner just like all the other 4 to 5 top contenders.
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Post by legendkillar Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:17 am

Grigor Dimitrov.

I have a feeling he may cause a few upsets.

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Post by Chazfazzer Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:49 am

Ernests Gulbis. You heard it here first.

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Post by lydian Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:54 am

Its about time Ernests did SOMETHING with that talent...
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Post by Josiah Maiestas Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:27 pm

Chazfazzer wrote:Ernests Gulbis. You heard it here first.

I already mentioned him mad
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Post by sirfredperry Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:08 pm

Rule one about forecasting major tennis events - Never EVER EVER tip Gulbis to win a single match. You heard it here first.

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Post by socal1976 Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:52 pm

sirfredperry wrote:Rule one about forecasting major tennis events - Never EVER EVER tip Gulbis to win a single match. You heard it here first.

He certainly has had a very underachieving career for the talent that he possesses, in terms of natural talent I actually think Gulbis has more of it than any of the top 4 guys with the exception of Federer. Who knows maybe Canas can have some of that fight that he possessed on tour rub off on Ernie.

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Post by Chazfazzer Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:11 pm

Sorry Josiah, I skimmed through the posts before mentioning Gulbis but I didn't see you had already done it! I should have said - you saw it here second.

I'd really like it if Gulbis did well actually; usually I'm bored by big hitters, but there's something different about him; I'm not really sure what. I think it's the fact that virtually all of his shots could either go for a blazing winner or horrible error - same goes for Verdasco, who I also usually support when he's playing. Gulbis vs Verdasco final anyone? Very Happy

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Post by socal1976 Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:56 pm

LK, don't know about Dimitrov, his one handed backhand is weak and highly attackable at this level. I like the rest of his game but he seriously needs to consider canning the one hander now it is nice looking shot but very weak for the top levels of ATP right now. It is certainly not a Gazza one hander.

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Post by time please Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:10 pm

I'd love to see either Gulbis or Dimitrov do well - it was good to see Dimitrov manage 3 sets against Ferrer (was it Canada or Cincy, forgotten already!) but thought he should have stepped up to take against a Ferrer with a hairline fracture (in hand or wrist - dementia is us atm!).

Both lovely players to watch - and I agree with Chazfazzer that it is good to see another game than big hitting slugfests which you often get in both the women's and men's game. Just not convinced that what is between the ears of either is good enough to ever get some consistency, despite their brilliance.

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Post by sportslover Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:34 pm

time please wrote:I'd love to see either Gulbis or Dimitrov do well - it was good to see Dimitrov manage 3 sets against Ferrer (was it Canada or Cincy, forgotten already!) but thought he should have stepped up to take against a Ferrer with a hairline fracture (in hand or wrist - dementia is us atm!).

Both lovely players to watch - and I agree with Chazfazzer that it is good to see another game than big hitting slugfests which you often get in both the women's and men's game. Just not convinced that what is between the ears of either is good enough to ever get some consistency, despite their brilliance.

Depends on what Gulbis turns up (and where he has been the previous night!')

He has made the 4th round of the USO and WHEN he is on form I would agree he is enjoyable to watch.

Wasn't Dimitrov likened To Federer (playing style) he hasn't done well SO FAR in the slams but at 20yrs he still has time on his side.

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Post by superochog Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:07 pm

What about Tipsarevic? I would love to see him realise his potentials - hope he can make it to at least the QF

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Post by wow Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:44 pm

Robin Soderling

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