There are always a handful of floaters who are capable of causing an upset in the early rounds of a Grand Slam. These are players are ones that seeds will want to avoid at all costs. This year’s US Open is no different, below are just some of the most dangerous unseeded players in the men’s draw.
Juan Martin del Potro
He may be ranked 142 in the world, but he’s without a doubt the unseeded player that everyone wants to avoid. Juan Martin Del Potro looks back to his very best following his silver medal at the Rio Olympics.
The Argentine shocked the tennis world when he defeated world #1 Novak Djokovic in the first round . Not content with that he disposed of Rafael Nadal in a scintillating semi-final. He eventually lost to Andy Murray in the final, but he made the Scot fight extremely hard over a brutal four hours of tennis.
He had been showing positive signs prior to Rio, particularly when he knocked off Stan Wawrinka in the second round of Wimbledon . His main issue has been consistency, but after the Olympics that no longer seems to be a problem. Moreover, his huge flat forehand is always a weapon, but it will only be augmented by the surface at Flushing Meadows.
His first round match is against Diego Schwartzman – a match he’ll be expecting to win. What’s more interesting is that del Potro could meet American #1 Steve Johnson in round two. There would be added spice in that match given the comments Johnson and his compatriot Sam Querrey made about del Potro’s wildcard .
In arguably the pick of the matches from round one, the Spaniard takes on Stan Wawrinka. Verdasco certainly isn’t at the peak of his powers at 32-years-old, but he’s still a dangerous player when he wants to be.
He has big match experience having played in Grand Slam quarter and semi-finals. However the main factor that makes him a threat is the surface. If his game is on song then Verdasco can be a very imposing player on a hard court.
He’s a lefty who, like Rafael Nadal, is able to generate lots of the spin on the ball. He also has a colossal forehand which is a weapon his opponents should fear.
There’s no doubt this is a harsh first round draw for Wawrinka, and it doesn’t get better for him when you look at his potential passage to the final.
The 19-year-old Croat has proven this year that he has a very bright future in the sport. He showed just how an exciting a prospect he is at the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati. Coric decimated Rafael Nadal, 6-1, 6-3, to become the youngest player to reach a Masters 1000 quarter-final since Novak Djokovic in 2006 .Nadal may have been nursing an injury, but Coric never wavered on his way to victory.
He also defeated another two players in the top 32 in Nick Kyrgios and Benoit Paire. Unfortunately he had to retire from his quarter final against eventual winner, Marin Cilic. That said the youngster has shown he has the game and mental strength to beat big players when it matters.
There’s no doubt that consistency is still an issue for him. However if he gets it right on the day he could definitely cause an upset – as he’s shown already this year.
He goes up against Feliciano Lopez in the first round, which could be a very tricky opener for the Spaniard.
He’s the youngest player in the top 100, but Taylor Fritz has the potential to cause a few upsets. The 18-year-old has already been successful at Flushing Meadows, winning the junior event in 2015.
Fritz has youth on his side and will not feel any pressure on his shoulders. Being able to play nerveless tennis makes the young American a dangerous prospect – especially when you consider how much of a weapon his serve is.
He’s not been able to make a massive impact in any Grand Slam this year, but playing in front of a home crowd in New York is the perfect opportunity to rectify this.
It will be an all American affair in round one as Fritz takes on Jack Sock. The pair met earlier in the year at the Australian Open, where Sock eventually emerged the victor after a gruelling five set match . This one has the potential to go the distance again.