US Open Men’s Singles Seed Analysis

Yesterday, the seeds (1 through 32) were announced for the upcoming US Open.  It is no surprise that Djokovic is the number 1 as securely hold the top spot in the ATP rankings. Instead of analyzing just the top few seeds, I analyzed the seeded players and placed them into 6 categorizes.  This analysis is based on  comparison of the  Riles Clubhouse serve efficiencies against the corresponding return efficiencies.

US Open Men's Seed Analysis, Comparison of Serve & Return Efficiencies
US Open Men’s Seed Analysis, Comparison of Serve & Return Efficiencies

Dominant – Top of the Elite

Players: Djokovic (1), Federer(2)

Dominant players are at the top of both serve efficiency and return efficiency.  They will be favored in every match they play (except against each other).  There is little chance for a major upset, only the other top players should be able to contend with them.

Likely outcome: Probable to at least semi finals with only minor drama.  Biggest threat from Forceful group.

Forceful – Potential to Overpower 

Players: Wawrinka (5), Berdych (6), Tsonga(19)

Forceful players have the ability to power their way through even the elite players.  These players have world class serve efficiencies but are also somewhat dangerous on the return side.  An example of the effectiveness of these players is what Wawrinka did in the French Open by powering through both Federer and Djokovic.

Likely outcome: Expect to play at least to seeding if not an additional upset.  Easily see quarterfinals, probable for semifinals, opportunity for championship.

Resolute – Strong & Consistent without Major Weapon

Players: Murray (3), Nishikori (4), Ferrer (7), Nadal (8)

Resolute players are elite in return efficiencies often meaning if they can get to a neutral rally they can often wear down their opponent. However, they are susceptible to their own service breaks allowing a player who is hot on their serve or overpowering groundstrokes to beat them.  An example is Nadal at Wimbledon losing to hot serving Dustin Brown.

Likely outcome: Should make quarterfinals but potentially with drama (4 or 5 set matches).  Ability to move to semis and beyond dependent on matchups and service quality.  Needs help to challenge dominant players.

Threatening – Massive serve equalizes 

Players: Raonic (10), Isner (13), Karlovic (21)

These players are unique in that they can challenge even the elite players with their big serve.  Often matches come down to only a few break points or key points in tiebreaks.  However, this makes them more likely to be upset by inferior players even at the same time they have a puncher’s chance to knock off the elite.

Likely outcome: Potential to pull off an upset but 7 wins in a row is highly unlikely.  Likely to lose before quarterfinals.

Conventional – Good but not Great

Players: Cilic (9), Gasquet(12), Anderson(15), Monfils (16), Dimitrov (17), Lopez(18), Thiem(20), Agut(23), Tomic(24), Robredo(26), Chardy(27),  Sock (28), Kohlschreiber (29), & Bellucci(30)

Conventional players are typically top players by combining both good serve and return efficiencies.  However, they lack any great skill in either breaking or holding serve against elite players. An example case is Marin Cilic from the French Open & Wimbledon, winning matches they should win with some effort but then falling one sided against better players of Ferrer & Djokovic, respectively.

Likely outcome: Unlikely to pull off major upset.  Best case is probably Round of 16 or quarterfinals if upsets help their open their bracket.  Slim chance to elevate level like Cilic did at the US Open last year.


Sneaky – Nothing Scary but Requires Attention

Players: Simon(11), Goffin (14), Troicki (22), Seppi(25), Garcia-Lopez (31), Fognini (32)

Sneaky players do not have any major uniqueness.  Among seeded players they have the worst service efficiency meaning they can be susceptible to breaks of serve even against inferior players.  Also, they tend to depend on inconsistencies in their opponents and leaves them exposed early in tournaments.  An example is Goffin’s loss in the second round of the Australian open to a steady Marcos Baghdatis

Likely outcome: Most likely to be upset early in tournament. Unlikely to proceed past Round of 16.

Let’s remember that this analysis is early, without a look at the draw and there will be 96 other players vying for the title.  However, we can already draw conclusions.  For example, I will be looking closely at where Tsonga ends up and what seeds may see him in the Round of 32 & beyond.



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