Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych continued on their semifinal collision course by breezing into the US Open quarterfinals Tuesday night.
The 5-time champion Federer had little trouble with the dangerous Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to advance to his 10th US Open quarterfinal.
The conditions were windy, the air heavy, and Federer did have a few serving issues, but after losing in this round a year ago to Tommy Robredo, he’ll be pleased.
Thursday night it’s a rematch from Cincinnati in Gael Monfils. The flying Frenchman was once again restrained in a very impressive 7-5, 7-6(6), 7-5 win over baby Federer Grigor Dimitrov.
“[After my win in Cincinnati] I know exactly how I need to play him,” Federer told ESPN of playing Monfils. “It’s going to be more or less the same conditions. It’s very clear cut in my opinion. I know I’ll be coming in; he knows he’ll be defending. He’ll be wanting to serve well and play big as well. So we both know what to expect going in.”
As for Monfils, who has yet to lose a set, I think he’s playing well enough to win.
“He’s definitely the legend of the tennis,” Monfils said of the Swiss. “I think right now he’s the greatest tennis player we ever had, and for me it’s always challenging to play against him. It’s always great, because no matter what, you know, I will say to my children, you know, I played against him. Even I kill him, you know. And this is cool.”
In the other afternoon Thursday semi, Tomas Berdych, who crushed Dominic Thiem, will meet 3-time US Open quarterfinalist Marin Cilic. In the heat it was Cilic picking up his first career win over Gilles Simon in a 5-set marathon.
“Tomas is very dangerous player. He’s very consistent throughout the year,” said Cilic who beat Berdych at Wimbledon. “He’s always pushing you to play your best to actually beat him. I hope I’m going to be on a good level of tennis if we are going to match up.
“He’s not unbeatable, but definitely very tough task,” Cilic added. “But for the quarterfinals of a major, I think for both of us this is a good opportunity.”
In the women’s draw, Caroline Wozniacki pummeled Sara Errani tonight 6-0, 6-1. In her Friday semi she’ll face Peng Shuai, a 6-2, 6-1 winner over 17-year-old Belinda Bencic.
Tomorrow Serena Williams takes on 2013 US Open semifinalist Flavia Pennetta and in the afternoon Victoria Azarenka meets Ekatarina Makarova.
As for the men…
Stan Wawrinka v Kei Nishikori
No one was more happy to hear Nishikori had to play until almost 2:30am Monday night than Wawrinka. The late finish all but finishes Nishikori’s chances against Stan. At least that’s what I think. Kei would have had trouble anyway, but now having to play late at night then transitioning to a day match in the heat will likely spell trouble for the talented kid from Japan. And that’s unfortunate, but it’s the breaks as they say.
So to me this is an easy choice.
The pick: Wawrinka in 3
Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray
In the 2012 US Open final rematch, Djokovic leads this series 12-8 having won four of their last five. After suspect summers, both seem to be playing better tennis this week in New York, so we should be in for a cracker of a match.
And since it’s at night the heat shouldn’t be much of factor either.
What will be is Djokovic. If he plays like he’s been playing he should get through this pretty comfortably. Even though he beat Tsonga the other day, I’m not fully convinced of Murray’s game right now. Through four rounds Djokovic’s been the better player and he’s been the guy on top for most of this year, while Murray still hasn’t been to a final since his win over the Serb at Wimbledon.
In their first Slam meeting since then, I think Djokovic will want revenge and he’ll get it Wednesday. Not only for Wimbledon but also for the 2012 loss in the US Open final.
The pick: Djokovic in three
ESPN2 has full day coverage on Wednesday.
WEDNESDAY US OPEN SCHEDULE
Arthur Ashe Stadium 11:00am Start Time
Abigail Spears (USA) vs. Taylor Townsend (USA)
Santiago Gonzalez (MEX) Donald Young (USA)
Not Before: 12:30pm
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)
Not Before: 3:00pm
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. Kei Nishikori (JPN)
Arthur Ashe Stadium 7:00pm Start Time
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Flavia Pennetta (ITA)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)
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