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U.S. Open 2011: Men's Draw Preview

First Posted: 08/29/11 10:51 PM ET   Updated: 10/29/11 06:12 AM ET

Rafael Nadal is seeking his third Grand Slam in five tries, and while he looks to defend his U.S. Open title, the emergence of Novak Djokovic has become a real problem for the Spaniard. Nadal has even admitted that Djokovic (who has beaten him five straight times), has gotten into his head.

"The Djoker" -- who has twice reached the U.S. Open Final -- has played historically good tennis in 2011. The World No. 1 is 57-2 on the season and is coming off his first Wimbledon title, where he earned a decisive victory over Roger Federer.

Fed, for his part, has looked almost ordinary throughout 2011. He hasn't won a tournament since January, and even more disconcerting for the 30-year-old, he hasn't won a Slam in six tries. That's an eternity for the tour's all-time leader, who has 16 Grand Slam titles to his name.

Novak Djokovic - 11/8
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Even after a shoulder injury forced him to retire against Andy Murray in the Western and Southern Open Final last weekend, Djokovic is still having one of the best runs in tennis history. For the first time in his career, he has consistently kept his cool during heated late-match moments. He is 57-2 this season and has captured both the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Continuing to pound away from the baseline, the Serbian has been flat-out dominant with his powerful groundstrokes and improving serve. Assuming his right shoulder is a go, expect plenty more smiles out of Djokovic's camp -- and perhaps a few more imitations -- before he likely faces Federer in the semifinals.
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