No. 2, after Nadal
A shot at redemption
Soderling again drawn to Federer
NEW YORK — If Roger Federer is going to reach a seventh consecutive US Open title match, he might need to get past the man who ended his Grand Slam semifinal streak.
Federer, the five-time US Open champion, was given a possible quarterfinal against two-time French Open runner-up Robin Soderling in the tournament draw conducted yesterday. Soderling, seeded fifth at the US Open, upset Federer in the quarterfinals in Paris this year, stopping Federer’s run of reaching at least the semifinals of a record 23 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments.
“I’m motivated to do well because I love New York, I love playing in Arthur Ashe [Stadium],’’ Federer said. “If I couldn’t get motivated by this stadium and this city, then I’d have some issues.’’
The other men’s matchups in the quarterfinals could be No. 1-seeded Rafael Nadal against No. 8 Fernando Verdasco, two-time major finalist Andy Murray against Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych, and No. 3 Novak Djokovic against No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko or No. 9 Andy Roddick.
The top-seeded woman, 2009 runner-up Caroline Wozniacki, could face 2006 champion Maria Sharapova in the fourth round and 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals.
Other possible women’s quarterfinals are defending champion Kim Clijsters against French Open runner-up Sam Stosur, 2000-01 US Open winner Venus Williams against French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, and 2008 US Open finalist Jelena Jankovic against Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva.
“I know if I play well that I can beat anybody out there,’’ said Clijsters, who also won the 2005 Open, “so that’s what I’m going to try to achieve.’’
Murray, hoping to become the first British man since 1936 to win a Grand Slam title, could meet No. 20-seeded Sam Querrey of the United States in the fourth round.
In the semifinals, Murray was drawn to meet Nadal, who lost in that round in New York each of the past two years and is trying to complete a career Grand Slam.
Federer was drawn to meet Djokovic or Roddick in the semifinals. Federer beat Djokovic in the 2007 US Open final and the 2008 and 2009 semifinals.
“Over the last three years here, I’ve only lost to one player — Federer — and that gives me enough reason to believe I can go far this year,’’ Djokovic said. “I like the courts, I like the atmosphere here. I just like the tournament — it’s suitable to my game, and to my personality.’’
Federer could face another familiar opponent in the third round: 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt. Federer beat Hewitt in the 2004 US Open final, part of a 15-match, head-to-head winning streak for Federer — which ended when Hewitt beat him in the final of a grass-court tournament at Halle, Germany, in June.
“I know my way around New York so well,’’ said Federer. “The center court is so familiar.’’
Federer lost in the 2009 US Open final to Juan Martin del Potro, who — like No. 1-ranked Serena Williams — withdrew from this year’s tournament, having not recovered fully from surgery. Del Potro’s wrist was hurt; Williams cut her foot shortly after winning Wimbledon.
“It would be great to have Serena compete,’’ Clijsters said, “but that’s sports, and that’s life.’’
Williams’s older sister Venus, who is seeded No. 3, could face an intriguing matchup in the third round against No. 32-seeded Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria. Pironkova has won two of her three matches against Venus, including a straight-set upset in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
That was the last match Williams played on tour; she sprained her left kneecap this month, forcing her to withdraw from hard-court tournaments at Cincinnati and Montreal.