What happened to home court advantage?? I know that the draw for a tournament must be fair, but I am going to assume that many American tennis fans, (as well as the tournament director) were left scratching their heads after the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships Men's Singles Draw yesterday. Let me give you a preview of some first round matches.
Andy Roddick vs. Richard Berankis - If you've been following tennis at all recently, you would know that the rise of 20 year old Richard Berankis has been a frequent topic of water cooler conversation. He is the youngest player to be ranked in the top 75, and is part of recent Youth Movement that also includes rising star Milos Raonic. He reached the 3rd round of the Australian Open, and more recently the QF of the SAP Open. This will be Roddick's first match since his loss in the 4th round in OZ to Stanislas Wawrinka. Roddick should be able to win this match easily, especially in front of the hometown crowd, but as Berankis moves up the ranks, so does his confidence, and it is possible, (though unlikely) he could upset the #1 seed. If Roddick makes it through he'll likely face Janko Tipsarevic in the 2nd round, and the last time they played Janko upset A-Rod in the 2nd round of the US Open in 2010.
Sam Querrey vs. Denis Istomin I would have said 1 week ago, that Querrey would have no problem with this match, but Querrey is now 0-3 for the 2011 season, bowing out in the first round of the SAP Open last week. Denis Istomin on the other hand reached the QF of the SAP Open before being beaten by Fernando Verdasco. They've met each other twice in 2009, splitting the head-to-head. Tennis is 90% mental and Querrey doesn't seem focused. I smell an upset.
and last but not least, the kicker...........
John Isner vs Juan Martin del Potro OMG. This could be a final and it's a first round match-up. They've met twice both in 2009 and Del Potro dominated. Delpo who is making a comeback after wrist surgery is still not in 2009 form, but he is playing well, last night taking out Lleyton Hewitt convincingly in straight sets at the SAP Open. All I can say is......... the Tennis Gods are cruel.
And no, I didn't forget about James Blake and Mardy Fish. I honesty don't have an opinion about Blake yet since this is only his second tournament since October 2010. I will say that Fish probably has the easiest draw of all the American men, as long as he has gotten his thyroid under control.
And let me just mention for fun Fernando Verdasco vs. Milos Raonic. Raonic's star is rising....fast. He is in the finals of the SAP Open (a walkover due to Monfils wrist injury) vs either Verdasco or Del Potro. This should be an amazing match.