As the fourth round of the U.S. Open Men's Draw kicked off Monday, the only unseeded player remaining is Martin Klizan , the 52nd ranked player in the world entering Flushing Meadow.
Klizan has never been known to be even a solid hard court player. Klizan won the Juniors of the French Open in 2006 , but has not had much success in Grand Slam tournaments since turning pro in 2010.
Klizan's Play In the U.S. Open
In his first match in this tournament, he beat Colombian Alejandro Falla in straight sets. Falla is not a great hard court player and Klizan was able to work on his game against an opponent that struggled and is not suited to play on the hard court. Klizan is known as a great clay court player, where the game's pace is generally slower.
Klizan is a solid baseline player and will get overmatched against opponents with big serves.
However, in his second round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, he did not face Tsonga's best serve due to a "lack of energy" from Tsonga. Klizan lucked out as Tsonga was falling again due to his lack of composure. Tsonga has always struggled when pressure is on him, even though he has achieved a top 5 world ranking.
In that second round match, Klizan was able to win the third set, 6-1, and get to 4-0 in the fourth and decisive set because he avoided unforced errors and a poor serve of Tsonga.
In his third round match against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, he was able to stay on top of his opponent by not allowing himself to get caught up in unforced errors and avoiding a heavy serve that would hurt him.
Klizan's Path To Continued Success At Flushing Meadow
After winning three big matches, including the last two against seeded Frenchmen, he will have to face the Croatian Marin Cilic. Cilic has been working to break into the top 10 of the rankings. Klizan can do the best he can to do so in the fourth round. Klizan's best chance to get deeper into this tournament is to play better on the ground that Cilic and avoid getting Cilic to gain advantage at the serve. If Klizan can break Cilic's serve several times during this match, he has a good chance of winning.
If Klizan upsets Cilic, his next ranked opponent would be Canadian Milos Raonic or Olympic Gold Medalist Andy Murray. Murray has played as well on the hard courts this past season. In their only match this season, Raonic defeated Murray on the clay courts in Spain. Murray won a walkover on the hard court in Miami.
Klizan's Tennis Future: Whether He Wins At the U.S. Open Or Not
Klizan's future is bright, especially if he is able to get better on hard courts and grass courts. Being a clay court specialist, the only thing that prevents him from getting into the upper echelon of clay court players would be better health of Rafael Nadal, arguably the best clay court player ever. If Klizan can use this experience as springboard, he should consistently move up the rankings over the next couple of years.
Edwin Alexander has been following tennis since he was a child. He vividly remembers the run of Jimmy Connors in the 1991 U.S. Open.