I'm not quite as pumped about this one as I was the AMS Montreal draw, but 'Nati still looks pretty darn good. One thing of note is that assuming neither one pulls out due to fatigue, Federer and Djokovic are on the same side would therefore meet in the semis. Federer's quarter is beyond easy, but Djokovic has guys like Canas, Hewitt, and Gasquet in his, so he won't come out of there if he isn't fully recovered from a grueling week in Montreal. On the other side I'm intrigued by a potential Roddick-Stepanek quarterfinal in the top quarter, and the bottom quarter is jam-packed with talent but also filled with question marks (Gonzalez, Safin, Blake, Nadal to name four).
Some notable first-round matchups:
John Isner vs. David Ferrer - Isner's third-set-tiebreaker run in D.C. will not soon be forgotten and the pro-American crowd will surely come out and support him in this one. Another tiebreaker-laden duel could be in store here. Ferrer is not great on hard courts, but he has a solid baseline game and is very quick around the court so I don't see Isner breaking too many times if at all. But I also don't see Ferrer doing much with Isner's serve.
Marat Safin vs. Nicolas Kiefer - Safin has been consistently mediocre this year (and that's putting it nicely) and Kiefer is just coming back from injury but is already playing well. I'm picking Safin, but doing so reluctantly. Safin has much more talent and should dictate play, but Kiefer is way, way stronger mentally and will win if he gains an early advantage.
Tommy Haas vs. Mario Ancic - Normally this would be more like a third-round clash at the earliest, but both players (especially Ancic) are returning from missed time. If Ancic serves well I think he can force at least one tiebreaker, but he is clearly not all the way back yet whereas Haas should be about 100-percent. Either way, this match will answer some questions. I like Haas in straights.
and some intriguing potential middle-round matchups:
Safin vs. Gonzalez
Roddick vs. Stepanek
Nadal vs. Youzhny
The issue here is with Federer and Djokovic. As of now I assume they will both remain in the tournament and Fed's quarter is easy enough for him to cruise through it without any problem even if he's tired. I can't say the same for Djokovic.
All things being equal I would have what I consider to be the Big Four (on hard courts at least) of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Roddick in the semi-finals. But for now I'm taking Hewitt to come out of Djokovic's quarter to reach the semis, where he will get crushed by Federer as usual. I'll then take Federer over Roddick, who will beat Nadal in a three-set thriller.