Roger Federer hasn’t won four matches at a hardcourt tournament since the Australian Open. With three wins under his belt, Federer tries for No. 4 today at the US Open against the heavy-hitting Igor Andreev.
Radek Stepanek was the guy most people circled as the danger man for Fed in his section, but it may very well turn out to be Andreev, who like Fed has not dropped a set in reaching this stage.
Federer did play well, really raising his game against Stepanek, but Andreev is a totally different player than Mr. Vaidisova. Igor is going to pound and pound and pound his groundstrokes, especially his forehand, and make the rallies long and longer. And as we saw against Fed’s earlier opponents, baseliners Maximo Gonzalez and Thiago Alves, the Swiss has been error-prone off the ground.
Federer and Andreev played just once before with Federer winning in the 2004 Gstaad final in four sets, so it’s a bit of a new meeting.
Getting back to the overall trend, though, remember, Robby Ginepri had Fed on the ropes, and Gilles Simon closed the deal earlier this summer. Andreev I put ahead of both of them in terms of ability off the ground. That bodes very well for the Russian.
So can the upset happen today? I think it very well could. A lot of numbers and trend points to Igor heat. Faster court, heat maybe help Roger, but more importantly, Andreev, has not fared well against Top 10 players (5-15 mark plus seven straight losses) so I’ll still give Federer a very, very slight edge in this one.
Novak Djokovic, who looked creaky in his win over Marin Cilic the other night, should up his game today against Tommy Robredo and reach his seventh career Slam quarterfinal. If he doesn’t play better he’ll be gone either today or Thursday night when Roddick will get him. Novak’s clearly feeling the pressure of those points from last year.
Big, powerful match tonight with Andy Roddick and Fernando Gonzalez getting it on. Roddick has beaten Gonzo seven of 10 times, but the two have only played once since Gonzo’s 2007 Australian Open run that coming at Shangai last year in which Andy breezed.
Tonight will be much tougher for Andy. Despite a bum ankle, Gonzalez is playing good tennis. The key, though, will be just how well the Chilean handles the atmosphere of the playing in the cavernous Arthur Ashe stadium in a marquee night match against the home favorite Roddick. Because it’s under the lights, I think Roddick again comes up with the big shots at the big moments to survive.
And I like Nikolay Dayvdenko to roll over Gilles Muller. The Russian has quietly cruised through three matches without the loss of a set, and comes Saturday he could still be in the tournament.
On the women’s side, the quarterfinals are underway and Elena Dementieva is already into the final four after an easy win over Patty Schnyder. Tonight we get Jelena Jankovic and Sybille Bammer, while tomorrow features Dinara Safin v. Flavia Pennetta and then the big one Wednesday night with Venus v. Serena.
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