Article and Photographs by Mike McIntyre
With the final Grand Slam of 2018 fast approaching, it remains to be seen if someone unexpected can challenge for the US Open. The first three majors of the year have gone to the usual suspects - Roger Federer at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal (comme d'habitude) at the French Open and a resurgent Novak Djokovic recently at Wimbledon. What are the chances that those all-time greats can be bested in New York?
If you're looking to play the odds, sportsbettingdime.com has a list of trustworthy betting sites you can utilize.
Let's take a look at some of the next-tier of contenders.
The leader of the so-called "Next Gen" on the ATP World Tour, the German has yet to translate the success that has propelled him to No. 4 in the world to the Grand Slam level. A disappointing showing at the Masters 1000s in Toronto and Cincinnati don't lend to much optimism however the young talent has recently brought Ivan Le
ndl into his team. Having an eight-time major champion in one's corner can't hurt. The fact that Lendl didn't win his first Slam until the age of 24 will probably also help this partnership thrive.
The 6'8'' South African proved at Wimbledon that his finalist showing last year at Flushing Meadows was no fluke. He has found a consistent top-ten level in his game and is a class act both in victory and defeat. His confidence is now as powerful as his booming serve and he truly believes he belongs at the top of the men's game. Anderson is an opponent that nobody relishes playing at the moment.
Let's not forget that Cilic is one of the few players outside of the "Big Four" who has one a Grand Slam in the past 15 years. The 2014 US Open champion has had decent results lately making the quarterfinals in Toronto and the semifinals in Cincinnati and clearly enjoys playing in New York. He made the finals of the Australian Open at the start of the season and should not be overlooked on the other hard court Slam of 2018.
It has taken the three-time Slam champion a little longer than expected to start posting favorable results since coming back from a knee injury to start the year. He missed the US Open last year but has won there in 2016 and also has semifinal showings from 2013 and 2015. He fell to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals in Cincinnati recently but put-up a brave challenge before going down 6-7, 7-6, 6-2.
Juan Martin Del Potro
There are few players who are more likeable on the ATP World Tour than the affable Del Potro. Nine years since his lone Grand Slam title here in New York, the Argentinian has rebuilt his game after multiple wrist surgeries and is back to displaying the ferocious game that we hoped he was still capable of showing us. A solid 2018 including the semifinals at Roland Garros and quarterfinals of Wimbledon are proof that he can handle the best-of-five set grind. His maiden Masters 1000 title back in March in Indian Wells was also a huge moment that reveals his prowess on the hard courts as well.
Check back with us often over the next two weeks as well for regular updates and analysis from the US Open. Whether is it Djokovic, Nadal, Federer or one of the above mentioned players, we will have you covered throughout the final Grand Slam for 2018.