2010 US Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles 2nd Round

Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) vs. Richard Gasquet (FRA)

Davydenko took down American Michael Russell in the first round in straight sets. He has had good success at the US Open in the past, reaching the semis twice and the Round of 16 two other times. He comes in ranked #6 in the world and definitely has the goods to make a deep run.

Gasquet is still coming back from his layoff and has worked his way back up to #38 in the world. He beat Simon Greul in straight sets in the first round and is into the second round for the first time since 2007. He didn’t have a great hard-court summer, but he is more than capable of beating the best when he is on.

Match-Up:

Davydenko and Gasquet have faced twice before with each winning a match (although both took place back in 2005). This is definitely one of the more compelling match ups of the second round as you have two guys who really can beat anyone. Gasquet’s biggest weapon is his backhand. He is able to whip it around the court and really punish his opponents with it. He uses an extreme semi-western grip but is still able to use it effectively. He also moves well, has a good serve and is confident. I feel his downfall is that sometimes he has too many shots in his head. He just needs to simply things and do what he does best. Davydenko is a pillar of consistency on the court. No emotion (maybe the hot NY sun will help!) and very few mistakes. He has a great two-handed backhand, solid serve and is a great mover. This is going to be a barnburner between two of the best on tour, but I have to give a slight edge to Davydenko because of his consistent play.

Nick’s Pick – Davydenko in 4 sets

Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs. Marin Cilic (CRO)

Nishikori, who trains at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy, had his coming out party at the US Open in 2008 when he reached the fourth round and took out a couple of high seeds. In 2009 he was hampered by injuries, but he is feeling healthy again and is brimming with confidence. He advanced to the second round when Evgeny Korolev retired in the second set.

Cilic beat Illya Marchenko in straight sets in the first round to reach the second round of the US Open for the third time in his career. He was a quarterfinalist last year, but has had mixed results this summer as he lost in the first round two times (Canada and Cincinnati) and reached the semis once (Washington DC).

Match-Up:

Cilic is 1-0 against Nishikori, beating him back in 2008 at Indian Wells. Cilic plays aggressive at all times. He has a booming serve, killer forehand and very consisntent backhand. He is a big boy and he moves well for his size. I don’t think he has reached his full potential yet and there could be even brighter days ahead for him. Nishikori looked very good against Korolev – he controlled the court with his outstanding movement and footwork forcing Korolev to hit an extra shot or two. He can take the ball on the rise extremely well and understands what it takes to win at this level. This match will be decided by how well Nishikori can return Cilic’s serve. If he returns it well, this is going to be one heck of a match. I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes either way, but I am going to go with the upset and pick my boy Kei!

Nick’s Pick – Picking the upset here and going with Nishikori in 4 sets

Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Dustin Brown (JAM)

Murray made quick work of Lukas Lacko in the opening round, beating him 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Murray’s had an excellent summer, reaching the semis of Wimbledon, the finals of LA, winning Canada, and then reaching the quarters in Cincy. He is definitely one of the favorites to win this tournament and claim his first Grand Slam title.

Brown is playing in his first career US Open and defeated Rubin Ramirez-Hidalgo in the opening round in straight sets. He comes into the tournament ranked #123 in the world and is definitely a heavy underdog in this match.

Match-Up:

This is the first career meeting between Brown and Murray. This match is on Murray’s racket. If he is playing to his potential he will win. Murray is striking the ball extremely well and also looks calm, cool and collected on the court. His return of serve and movement are basically as good as anyone in the world and his groundstrokes and serve are excellent. He is running his own show and I feel this is in his best interest. The more accountable he is for himself, the better he will be in the long run. The one thing I wish Murray would find is his “bread-and-butter” shot. He doesn’t have one and I think the sooner he can find one the better off he will be. I look for Murray to advance and I am interested to see how these two weeks play out for him.

Nick’s Pick – Murray in 3 sets

Ryan Harrison (USA) vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)

I am so happy and excited for Ryan Harrison. He has been training at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy for the last couple of years and his hard work is paying off as exemplified by his upset win over Ivan Ljubicic in the first round. His father, Pat, works with him daily at the Academy and they are a great one-two team. With his win, he is the first American teenager to beat a Top 20 opponent in a Grand Slam tournament since Andy Roddick (19) at 2001 US Open (d.No. 11 Corretja in 3rd Rd.).

Stakhovsky needed four sets to beat Peter Luczak in the first round and comes into the tournament on the heels of winning the event in New Haven last week. He is also ranked a career high of #36 in the world. A win here would put him in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.

Match-Up:

This is the first career meeting between Stakhovsky and Harrison and promises to be an interesting match. Stakhovsky has big time weapons from both sides and a sonic serve. He moves well and is a real competitor. He really has the tools to be a top 20 player. Harrison is coming off of a huge win and at the age of 18 he really doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. He is already gaining respect from the American fans and the players and it’s just a matter of time before he is a household name in tennis. He has a big first serve and he also has a tremendous kick serve that penetrates. His forehand is huge, his backhand is consistent and he is in great physical shape. What I like is that he is coming in towards the net as often as he can looking to put points away early. Stakhovsky certainly will be favored in this match, but I am smelling another upset from my boy Ryan Harrison!

Nick’s Pick – Harrison in 4 sets

A couple of other matches to keep your eye on:

Taylor Dent vs. Robin Soderling – Spoke to Taylor and he said he needs to play about 5-10% better in this match than he did in his previous match against Falla. Love watching the serve and volley and I think Taylor has a real shot here. Soderling needed five sets in the first round and we will have to see how that effects his stamina, especially with the heat the way it is.

Ricardas Berankis vs. Jurgen Melzer –Berankis is a former world #1 junior and also won the US Junior Open a couple of years ago. He stands only around 5’9” but he is like a bull on the court. He took down Ryan Sweeting in the opening round and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pull off another upset. This kid is the real deal and at the age of 20, he is someone to watch over the next few years as I think he has top-20 talent.

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~ by Nick's Picks on August 31, 2010.

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