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US OPEN '13: Capsules on top men's players


August 24. 2013 12:38AM
Associated Press



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(AP) Men to watch at the U.S. Open, which begins Monday:


NOVAK DJOKOVIC


Seeded: 1


Age: 26


Country: Serbia


2013 Match Record: 44-8


2013 Singles Titles: 3


Career Singles Titles: 37


Major Titles: 6 U.S. Open ('11), Wimbledon ('11), Australian Open ('08, '11, '12, '13)


Last 5 U.S. Opens: '12-Lost in Final, '11-Won Championship, '10-F, '09-SF, '08-SF


Topspin: No worse than a semifinalist six years in a row at Flushing Meadows, including four finals appearances in that span but only one title. ... Played Andy Murray in three of the past four Grand Slam finals, going 1-2; one of those losses came at the U.S. Open a year ago. ... His 28 career hard-court titles are second among active men to Roger Federer's 52.


RAFAEL NADAL


Seeded: 2


Age: 27


Country: Spain


2013 Match Record: 53-3


2013 Singles Titles: 9


Career Singles Titles: 59


Major Titles: 12 U.S. Open ('10), Wimbledon ('08, '10), Australian Open ('09), French Open ('05, '06, '07, '08, '10, '11, '12, '13)


Last 5 U.S. Opens: '12-Did Not Play, '11-F, '10-W, '09-SF, '08-SF


Topspin: Returns after missing last year's U.S. Open during a seven-month absence from the tour because of knee issues. ... Not only does he lead the tour this season with nine titles no one else has more than four. ... 15-0 on hard courts in 2013, giving him three titles on the surface in a single season for the first time. ... 14-1 against opponents ranked in the top 10 this year. ... Could meet Federer in the quarterfinals.


ANDY MURRAY


Seeded: 3


Age: 26


Country: Britain


2013 Match Record: 37-7


2013 Singles Titles: 4


Career Singles Titles: 28


Major Titles: 2 U.S. Open ('12), Wimbledon ('13)


Last 5 U.S. Opens: '12-W, '11-SF, '10-3rd, '09-4th, '08-F


Topspin: Reached at least the semifinals at nine of the last 10 Grand Slam tournaments he's entered, and the final at the last four in a row. ... Victory at Wimbledon in July made him the first British man to earn that title since Fred Perry in 1936, sparking talk of knighthood. ... Career-redefining stretch over past 13 months includes two Wimbledon finals, Olympic gold medal and U.S. Open title. Now gets first chance to try to defend Grand Slam title. ... Says his movement is a key to success these two weeks.


TOMAS BERDYCH


Seeded: 5


Age: 27


Country: Czech Republic


2013 Match Record: 40-16


2013 Singles Titles: 0


Career Singles Titles: 8


Major Titles: 0 Best: F, at Wimbledon ('10)


Last 5 U.S. Opens: '12-SF, '11-3rd, '10-1st, '09-3rd, '08-1st


Topspin: Tied with Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro for most hard-court match wins this season, with 25, but is also the only one of the trio without a title on the surface in 2013. ... Runs as hot-and-cold as anyone on tour, capable of upsetting Federer on the way to the semifinals (which he did at the U.S. Open last year) or of losing in the first round (which he did at the U.S. Open twice in the past five years). ... Ranked in top five for first time in career.


JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO


Seeded: 6


Age: 24


Country: Argentina


2013 Match Record: 34-11


2013 Singles Titles: 2


Career Singles Titles: 15


Major Titles: 1 U.S. Open ('09)


Last 5 U.S. Opens: '12-QF, '11-3rd, '10-DNP, '09-W, '08-QF


Topspin: After health issues sidetracked him none more serious than wrist surgery in 2010 del Potro appears to be back at the top of his game, pushing Djokovic to five sets in the longest Wimbledon semifinal in history last month, and faring well on the hard-court circuit. ... Left knee that he hyperextended at Wimbledon no longer a problem. ... His 2009 title at the U.S. Open is the only one of the past 34 Grand Slam trophies not won by Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray.


ROGER FEDERER


Seeded: 7


Age: 32


Country: Switzerland


2013 Match Record: 32-11


2013 Singles Titles: 1


Career Singles Titles: 77


Major Titles: 17 U.S. Open ('04, '05, '06, '07, '08), Wimbledon ('03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '09, '12), Australian Open ('04, '06, '07, '10), French Open ('09)


Last 5 U.S. Opens: '12-QF, '11-SF, '10-SF, '09-F, '08-W


Topspin: Since winning the championship at Flushing Meadows for five consecutive years, has been regressing, with two semifinal exits and then last year's quarterfinal loss. ... Record streak of reaching at least the quarterfinals at 36 consecutive major tournaments ended in June at Wimbledon with a second-round exit. ... Lowest seeding at the U.S. Open since 2002. ... This is his 56th consecutive Grand Slam appearance, equaling the men's record held by Wayne Ferreira.


KEI NISHIKORI


Seeded: 11


Age: 23


Country: Japan


2013 Match Record: 27-14


2013 Singles Titles: 1


Career Singles Titles: 3


Major Titles: 0 Best: QF, at Australian Open ('12)


Last 5 U.S. Opens: '12-3rd, '11-1st, '10-3rd, '09-DNP, '08-4th


Topspin: Hasn't been able to string together more than two match wins in a row since losing to Nadal in the fourth round of the French Open. Was first Japanese man to make it that far in Paris since 1938. ... Game shows up best on hard courts, and his top Grand Slam results have come at the Australian Open and U.S. Open.


JOHN ISNER


Seeded: 13


Age: 27


Country: United States


2013 Match Record: 32-19


2013 Singles Titles: 2


Career Singles Titles: 7


Major Titles: 0 Best: QF, at U.S. Open ('11)


Last 5 U.S. Opens: '12-3rd, '11-QF, '10-3rd, '09-4th, '08-1st


Topspin: Missed Australian Open with a knee injury, lost in third round at French Open, then had Wimbledon cut short by a quadriceps injury. Can salvage rough Grand Slam season at the major tournament where he's most comfortable and his big serve is most dangerous. ... Now officially listed by the ATP World Tour as 6-foot-10, an inch taller than he was listed at before this year. ... Beat four players ranked in the top 11, including Djokovic and del Potro, en route to final at Cincinnati; also was runner-up at Washington and won title at Atlanta on hard courts.


___


Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


Associated Press


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