If not for a five-set loss in the Australian Open final, Roger Federer would be rolling into Flushing Meadows with a chance for a true Grand Slam. But that loss to Rafael Nadal means Federer, who won the French Open and Wimbledon, will be looking for "only" his third major championship of the year and his sixth straight title in Queens. Not bad for a player written off during the American hardcourt season in March. Nadal lost in Paris as the four-time defending champion in the fourth round and didn't even play Wimbledon because of patellar tendinitis in both knees. Since returning earlier this month, he hasn't looked sharp in two hardcourt events in Montreal and Cincinnati.
Andy Murray, last year's runner-up, is the second favorite on the men's side, followed by Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick, who took Federer to a fifth set before losing, 16-14, in the Wimbledon final. If the seeds hold, Roddick and and Djokovic would play in the quarters, with the winner playing Federer in the semis. Nadal and Murray would clash in the semifinals if they advance. Nadal (Richard Gasquet) and Murray (Ernests Gulbis) both have interesting first-round matches.
On the women's side, defending champion Serena Williams is slated to meet sister Venus in the semifinals. The top half includes Dinara Safina, the world No. 1 despite not winning a grand slam, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova, who won in 2006 but didn't play last year because of injury. Kim Clijsters, granted a wild card as she comes out of retirement, will play in the bottom half. Jelena Jankovic, last year's runner-up, could play fellow Serbian Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round.