World No. 1s Djokovic, Serena Dominate At US Open; Rafa Returns Wednesday Night
by Sean Randall | September 4th, 2013, 12:15 am

We are less than a week from the conclusion of the 2013 Grand Slam season, and things in both draws are going to form thus far. Serena Williams continued her domination rudely double-bageling birthday girl Carla Suarez-Navarro tonight in a quarterfinal content that felt like a first round mismatch. Because, really, it was.

But Serena was only following fellow No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s lead. Earlier on that same Ashe court the Serb hammered a depleted Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 in his fourth round match. Djokovic’s looked good, been efficient but it’s hard to know how these blowout wins over these patsies will help him later this weekend when he finally meets some serious competition.

For now, though, the 2011 US Open champion is content.

“Definitely today, second and third set have been,” Djokovic said. “Some of the best tennis that I’ve played on Arthur Ashe in my career. It all comes at a great time for me. It was something I was wishing to be more aggressive as the tournament progresses and to be able to stay committed to play every point, to win every point, regardless of what’s the score. So I’m very happy with my mental state, how I feel physically, and the way I played. You know, it’s definitely coming at the best possible time.”

Lost in the conversation is the fact Granollers had won his first three matches in FIVE SETS! Now, by the graces of the Draw God Djokovic will face his third straight guy who’s just played a 5-setter because next is Mikhail Youzhny. The veteran Russian, twice a US Open semifinalist, overcame breaks in the final two sets to turn away 2001 US Open winner Lleyton Hewitt.

“There was a lot of momentum changes, yeah, right from the start,” a disheartened 32-year-old Hewitt said. “He had a lot of different swings out there where we both played better at certain stages for three or four games. You know, it was hard for both of us to hold our serves at times as well out there. You know, in the end, he played the big games when he needed to. He didn’t give me too many cheap errors.”

Youzhny or Hewitt, it doesn’t matter. That guy won’t have there legs against an ultra-fresh though untested Novak.

“Well, probably pays its toll, the fact they have played five setters and they are coming in tired in the matches,” Djokovic said of his good fortune. “But I really don’t try to pay attention on my opponents during the matches. I have this very determined, you know, vision of what I need to do on the court. My goal is to win the matches whoever I play against.”

And that he will.

In the late match, Andy Murray struggled early on before gathering himself to pull away against Denis Istomin in four sets. Murray will play Stan Wawrinka who toughed out Tomas Berdych in four in a mild upset.

Berdych just seems destined to be a guy who’ll never get over that hump and become a regular contender on the final weekends. Credit to Wawrinka, he’s had a good year and he’s beaten Murray at the US Open before. It should be a good quarterfinal Thursday night.

Looking at tomorrow’s start of the men’s quarterfinals, here are my picks.

Rafael Nadal v Tommy Robredo
Both these guys are playing really well with confidence to boot. Robredo has been an unsung story this year. The former Top 5 player battled a career-threatening leg injury 18 months ago and since his return has played some remarkable tennis.

At the French Tommy won three straight 0-2 comebacks. Then Monday evening he destroyed a hapless Roger Federer for his first career win in 11 attempts over the Swiss. Now he’ll try to back up that win against Rafa. Unfortunately for the 31-year-old, that’s where this run ends.

Rafa has won all six meetings in their series and he’ll run Tommy ragged again. I do think Nadal might finally lose his serve, just not the match. Tommy doesn’t have the firepower like a Kohlschreiber does to hurt and trouble Rafa on a consistent basis.

And Nadal’s numbers and have numbingly good on his least favorite surface of late: 19-0 in 2013 on hardcourts winning 23 in a row dating back to that Federer loss at 2012 Indian Wells. This close to the end Rafa won’t falter here.
The pick: Nadal in three

Richard Gasquet v David Ferrer
I had picked Gasquet to emerge out of this weaker quarterfinal section but by beating Ernests Gulbis to do it. The Latvian of course disappointed once again. Ferrer usually doesn’t, especially in Slams. After a rocky summer Ferrer has found his footing thanks in large part to a favorable draw.

Ferrer did beat Janko Tipsarevic in the last round although let’s be honest, the Serb’s been a disaster for much of the year. So I can’t even put much stock in that win except that it was that close.

Still, Ferrer is such a tough player in Slams and he’s beaten Gasquet eight of nine times. And Richard, not known for his fitness unlike Ferrer, might be feeling it in the legs after that big 5-set win over Milos Raonic late on Monday.

But maybe Richard’s turning the corner. Maybe! He took care of business beating an ailing Tursunov last week and then saved a matchpoint to take down Raonic, both very losable matches. So I’m going to stick with my initial pick.

In this contest mentally and physically Ferrer’s the better of the two. No contest. However, on talent it’s a big edge to Richard. For once, or twice (he did beat Roddick in the QFs at Wimbledon), I think Gasquet, a former US Open junior champ, proves his worth and get his game clicking and he dumps Ferrer who maybe has slipped a bit this summer.
The pick: Gasquet in four

Did I really just pick Gasquet? Did I not learn anything from picking Gulbis to make the quarters?

The women’s Serena Invitational continues it’s quarterfinals also tomorrow with Roberta Vinci v Flavia Pennetta and in the evening Victoria Azarenka against Daniela Hantuchova. I’ll take Pennetta in three and Azarenka in two close ones. I do hope come Sunday it is Vika-Serena. That should be a good one.

ESPN2 has coverage all day of the matches.

Arthur Ashe Stadium 12:00 pm Start Time
Roberta Vinci (ITA)[10] vs. Flavia Pennetta (ITA)
Richard Gasquet (FRA)[8] vs. David Ferrer (ESP)[4]
Arthur Ashe Stadium 7:00 pm Start Time
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) vs. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[2]
Tommy Robredo (ESP)[19] vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

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28 Comments for World No. 1s Djokovic, Serena Dominate At US Open; Rafa Returns Wednesday Night

Steve 27 Says:

Gasquet is very well known by Mr. fourth round. This is just his second quarterfinal in a gs in his career. Unless the French will be on fire, the consistency of “The Wall” will be too much for him.
Ferrer in 4.
Of course, Rafael in three. Maybe he can hold his serve one more match.

Gregoire Gentil Says:

Congratulations Sean! You mentioned women tennis and you even made some predictions :-) We are not yet at women picks and pans but at least some good progress here!

funches Says:

I think Ferrer is more talented than Gasquet, unless you think speed around the court and return of serve aren’t talents. Gasquet is a beautiful shotmaker, but he has to stand 15 feet behind the baseline to return serve, leaving him out of position on the next shot and unable to overcome that lack of positioning against the top players because his speed is average at best.

There’s a reason Ferrer has won all but two sets in their head-to-head meetings, and it’s not just mental strength. He’s just a better player.

I agree, though, that Ferrer has been off this summer. That’s the only way Gasquet makes this close and even pulls off the upset.

Michael Says:

Novak had a very easy path to the quarters and hereto his opponent will only be Youzhny against whom I am sure he will be very much fancying his chances. Due to the easy run of Novak, I am unable to gauge the level of his play ? But it looks as though he is determined, thoroughly focussed and motivated well enough to reclaim that title which he won in 2011. He has not had an easy year so far and his path has been laded by disappointments. Still, he has had a good year in my opinion considering that he won the Australian and so nearly won the Semis against Rafa at Rolland Garros which in my opinion is equal to winning the title and at Wimbledon he was outwitted by an rejuvenated and highly motivated Andy. Let us see if he turns lucky atleast at the US Open. If he manages to reach the finals, I am sure he will give a Rafa a run for his money despite his murderous form.

Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa!

tennisfan Says:

Looks like Rafa might not lose serve till the finals.

Kathy Says:

It would have been interesting to see how Djokovic performed in the conditions that Nadal and Kohlschreiber had,ie 91% humidity. Also had he been up against a more challenging opponent. I doubt he would have been quite so happy with his physical and mental state, but we’ll never know.

rafaeli Says:

Michael Says:

Still, he has had a good year in my opinion considering that he won the Australian and so nearly won the Semis against Rafa at Rolland Garros which in my opinion is equal to winning the title….

September 4th, 2013 at 1:49 am

It’s a myth that Nole nearly won the FO. He was given a breadstick in the 3rd set and Rafa served for the match in the 4th. Rafa lost his serve in the 1st game of the 5th set but broke Nole back and went on to beat Nole by breaking him to love to win 9-7 in the 5th set.

Giles Says:

“and so nearly won the Semis against Rafa at Roland Garros”.
Nearly is as good as never! Ask Rafa – AO 2012!!!

queen Says:

Don’t forget the Serb still have Andy ahead of Nadal. Now with Berdych gone Andy beats Wawrina no doubt about it. Nadal vs Andy will be the final.

Zeljko Says:

Novak haven’t had serious opponent in the USO, so I doubt he is the good condition to win the tournament.

I am his great supporter, but he had some bed display this year especially against Berdych and Isner. This shouldn’t have happened to that class of player.

You haven’t watched the match closely. Novak lose crucial point by umpire decision wich is subjective, because the same thing happened in Isner case (Cincy Open) when umpire didn’t “see” anything.

the DA Says:

BTW, here’s that shanked FH of Andy’s which landed in and enabled him to get the final break to close out the match. Shame they didn’t show Istomin giving Andy a high five afterwards. Dennis seems like a great guy.

He called it the luckiest shot ever but I’ve seen so many of those from Rafa and Nole.

James Says:

Djokovic is in great form as he easily dispatched Granollers in their Rd 4 match. Good news for him, his team and fans. Andy seems to be playing well too. Missed his match.

Hope Rafa continues his good form today against Robredo and keep marching ahead. Montreal-Cincy-USO treble would be amazing. Vamos!

Polo Says:

The top three all look like they are in good form. Ferrer and Wawrinka can not be disregarded. Youzhny, too, though to a lesser extent. Big promise for interesting quarterfinals and the rest of the tournament.

Robredo is doubtful with a big D. Beating Federer for the first time would be his treasured memory of this event.

Gasquet, I have completely lost faith. He has probably reached the end of the road here.

Margot Says:

@ the DA
Brill shank :)
Re your other comment, we wouldn’t want Andy to go on court every time and beat the living daylights out of every opponent, now would we? Where would be the fun in that?
Hmm…on reflection…..;)

Margot Says:

PS a friend said Andy “hobbled” off court! Please say that ain’t so!

Giles Says:

^^^ Unfortunately he did!

Brando Says:

Andy is fine. This is what he had to say about his health post match:

Rick Says:

I told you guys that’s, how Roger played in Cincy was only moment of brilliance. And I don’t really care, who wins the Open now! As long as, Fed is gone! Him being a GOAT is all hype, not the real thing!

Nina Says:

Djokovic in ruthless mode, Andy seems troubled. Interesting semifinal.

mat4 Says:


Novak and Andy aren’t yet in the semi. Let’s wait a bit, because both Wawrinka nad Youzhny play quite well.

skeezer Says:

TR 0-4, lol…..suuuuuch an exciting match. Glad I’m busy playing Beer Pong.

Eric Says:

Hey, Tommy’s got almost as many points in his first game here in set 3 as he won in the entire first set – not bad.

Jimmy Says:

How does Murray get the day match tomorrow and Djokovic the evening match? More rigging the schedule, Stan gets less than 2 days to recover from a 5 setter and Murray gets more time than Novak before Saturday’s semi. Bullshit!

Kimmi Says:

WOOO! Ruthless Rafa

Brando Says:

Great performance Rafa!

Michael Says:

Well Novak should have no trouble disposing off Youzny, but Andy against Wawrinka is tough to call. Wawrinka has beaten Andy before and gave him a run for his money at Wimbledon too. So, it would be quite tricky for Andy. Nevertheless, he would be happy to face Wawrinka instead of Berdych.

M Says:

Registering a protest on behalf of Serena, though I’m sure she will not complain, LOLsigh.

Who is in charge of defining what, exactly, constitutes “after sufficient rest”? Does she really have to play both her semis, in singles and doubles, practically back-to-back on the same day?

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