Roger Federer cruised into his 26th straight Grand Slam quarterfinal after a 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-3 win over Jurgen Melzer Monday night in the US Open fourth round.
There was no “tweener”, but Federer played well enough to post his fourth consecutive straight-set win in Flushing and lift his current win streak to eight.
And the win earns the 5-time US Open champ another date with Robin Soderling likely on Wednesday night. The Swede, who dispatched Albert Montanes, beat Federer in the French Open quarterfinals and a year ago pushed Federer in a tight four setter in New York.
Might Soderling be the lone foil to a potential Federer-Rafael Nadal final Sunday? Probably, but more on that in the days ahead.
Other winners today were Novak Djokovic who sunk Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. I credit Djokovic who was nearly ushered out of the tournament a week ago for really finding his form. The Serb has been absolutely on fire since the Troicki match.
“It’s very encouraging fact at this stage of the tournament that I’m raising my game and feeling more comfortable on the court,” said Djokovic. “I played a great match today. Conditions were tough as well with a strong wind. I was using my serve in important moments extremely well and opening the court and kind of not giving him enough chances to come to the net and be aggressive.”
Djokovic has twice been to the semifinals in New York and the finals back in 2007. The only player to beat him during that stretch could be the man he faces on Saturday, Federer.
In the all-French battle, my man Gael Monfils is starting to heat up and realize his potential. Monfils was impressive in a 6-4, 7-5, 7-5 win over Richard Gasquet. Still, I’d like to see the guy be more offensive, but at least this is progress.
“I think I have to reach it to use my ability to be more offensive, because for sure will help me,” Monfils said after reaching his first US Open quarterfinal. “And I can do it, but is tougher and also is really different for me. I have another vision maybe on the court when I’m a bit, let’s say, scared. For me it’s more easy to run and move on my baseline and step back. To step in sometime is tough. I know I can cover it, but I need to improve on that. But slowly I think I try a couple points, couple games, to move forward. I hope I will arrive very soon.”
As for the women, I have to admit it was quite an impressive performance from Caroline Wozniacki who thumped Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-4. The Woz really does play exceptional defense and when she has to she really cracks that backhand.
Maria served a bunch of double faults but she made up for it by really crushing her groundstrokes and still it wasn’t enough against the Great Dane. It looks like Wozniacki and Clijsters in the Saturday night finale.
Tomorrow, the men’s matches figure to be fairly routine. If Nadal’s buddies decide not to roll over for their Spanish king then I think Feliciano Lopez could give Nadal some problems. But Rafa should win. I think Fernando Verdasco stays hot and beats the pesky David Ferrer.
In the other quarter I like Mikhail Youhzny to take out Tommy Robredo and in the best match of the day I think if he’s healthy, Stan Wawrinka upends Sam Querrey. Wawrinka apparently tweaked his leg during his win Sunday over Andy Murray so the Swiss’s health is a question mark. For Sam, until he wins a big match on a big stage (like Stan just did) I’ll maintain my doubts.
All in all, with Murray out the puzzle pieces are starting to fit together to resemble a Federer-Nadal Sunday final.
TUESDAY US OPEN SCHEDULE
Arthur Ashe Stadium
Not Before 1:00 PM
Stanislas Wawrinka(SUI) vs. Sam Querrey(USA)
Francesca Schiavone(ITA) vs. Venus Williams(USA)
Samantha Stosur(AUS) vs. Kim Clijsters(BEL)
Rafael Nadal(ESP) vs. Feliciano Lopez(ESP)
Louis Armstrong Stadium 11:00 AM
Mikhail Youzhny(RUS) vs. Tommy Robredo(ESP)
David Ferrer(ESP) vs. Fernando Verdasco(ESP)
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