Nick's Picks is back for the US Open and we are in New York City for the entire tournament to provide live coverage! Once again, we've partnered with Tennis Week for even more coverage and you can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr!
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Tommy Robredo (ESP)
Federer had to right hard to beat Lleyton Hewitt in the third round, but once again he came up with timely shots when he needed them. He now has a 37-match winning streak at the US Open and hasn't lost here since falling to David Nalbandian in the fourth round in 2003. What he has done on this surface is incredible and everyone should be thankful that they are around to witness his play.
Robredo took down American James Blake in straight sets and is into the fourth round of the US Open for the sixth time. He has never been past this point, and a win here would definitely be one of the biggest of his career. Coming into the tournament he wasn't playing his best tennis (1-5 record in his previous six matches before the US Open), but he has been able to find his rhythm during this event.
Federer is 8-0 against Robredo, but the two haven't met since the 2007 French Open. While many of the Spaniards prefer clay, Robredo has had excellent results on the hard courts. He hits the ball flat, has an excellent serve and covers the court well. He has played Federer close in previous Grand Slams, and that should help his confidence. The question is: Does he actually think he can beat Federer? I look for Federer to use his outstanding all-around game and his fantastic serve to keep Robredo off-balance and on the run. One of the things that separates Federer from everyone else is his ability to win the big points when he needs too. Every time he needed a big serve against Hewitt he got one, and that is just unbelievable to see. I simply cannot pick against Federer right now, but don't be surprised is Robredo takes a set.
Nick's Pick - Federer in 4 sets
John Isner (USA) vs. Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
Isner came up with one of the biggest wins of his young career in the third round, knocking out fellow American Andy Roddick in a fifth-set tiebreaker. This is the first time he has ever been to the fourth round of a Grand Slam, and to do it at the US Open, it must be a dream-come-true for this youngster.
Verdasco beat Tommy Haas in the third round, but he didn't do it with his play, he did it with his mind. He was able to hang in there when Haas got frustrated and he outlasted the German mentally. Verdasco didn't play his best tennis in that match, and he cannot continue to play like that if he expects to go much further.
This is the first career meeting between Isner and Verdasco, and it promises to be an interesting match. This is a tough match to call because I don't know how which Verdasco we will see. When he is on, he is one of the best on the tour, but he certainly didn't play like that against Haas. If Isner continues to serve like he did against Roddick, I am going to have a hard time picking against him. His groundstrokes from both sides are extremely solid and for a big guy he moves pretty well. Normally, you would think that Verdasco would win this match, but I under these circumstances, with the American fans behind him, I am going to give the edge to Isner.
Nick's Pick - Isner in 4 sets
Marin Cilic (CRO) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)
Cilic took down Denis Istomin in three easy sets to reach the fourth round of the US Open for the first time in his career. Cilic has seen his ranking go in the wrong direction over the last couple of months and he is determined to reverse this. Cilic has been picked by many to be the next big thing, but so far he has yet to live up to it. He is still only 20 years old, but he has some big expectations to fulfill!
Murray looked extremely comfortable in his three-set win over American Taylor Dent in the third round. Next to Federer, I don't think anyone is playing better than Murray, and I wouldn't be surprised if he won his first Grand Slam title in New York. He has now reached at least the fourth round in his last six Grand Slam appearances.
Murray is 3-0 against Cilic, and beat him in the fourth round of the French Open earlier this year. Cilic got very lucky against Jesse Levine in the second round, because he lost his focus for a bit, but was able to come back and win that match in five sets. If he loses his concentration for a second in this match, Murray will jump all over him. Cilic must have a big time serving day and win as many free points as possible with that serve, because Murray can pretty much negate all of his offensive firepower. Murray will also keep Cilic pinned behind the baseline, frustrating him, and making him over-hit. Cilic definitely has the ability to win a set, especially if he is serving well, but I look for Murray to continue rolling.
Nick's Pick - Murray in 4 sets
Gael Monfils (FRA) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Monfils had won the first two sets against Jose Acasuso in the third round, when Acasuso retired early in the third set. This is the second consecutive year that he has reached the fourth round and he is looking to advance to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the third time in his career. Monfils is a big crowd favorite and he will definitely have plenty of fans out there cheering him on throughout this match.
Nadal got through against Nicolas Almagro in the third round, but it wasn't without an injury timeout for some abdominal pain. We will have to see if that has any effect on him moving forward. In my mind, he has yet to really be tested by anyone and this will definitely be his first real test of the tournament!
Nadal is 4-1 against Monfils, and they have already faced twice this year. Nadal won their most recent battle on the hard courts in Rotterdam, but Monfils beat him on hard courts in Doha earlier in 2009. This is the match of the day for sure! Everyone will have their eyes glued to the television to see how Nadal competes with the eccentric Monfils. The Frenchman has great groundstrokes, a very solid serve, and his movement is off the charts. He is capable of going for the big shots and he can also track down balls that some players wouldn't even dream of going after. Nadal doesn't want this match to go to five sets, because the longer it goes the more the odds favor Monfils. On the flip side, if it does go five sets and Nadal wins, he will prove to everyone that he is back and ready to compete. This isn't going to be over in three sets, and in the end I look for the physical groundstrokes of Nadal to give him the edge over Monfils.
Nick's Pick - Nadal in 4 sets