Djokovic, Murray Advance At US Open, Azarenka Survives; Federer, Monfils v Dimitrov Tuesday
by Sean Randall | September 2nd, 2014, 2:41 am

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were two players who were struggling this summer. But the two former champions advanced Monday in straight sets in the heat over relatively stiff opposition to set up a super showdown Wednesday night in the US Open quarterfinals.

Top seed and tournament favorite Djokovic overwhelmed Phil Kohlschreiber 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 to reach his 22nd straight Grand Slam quarterfinal.

“I’m very glad obviously that I had so many consecutive quarterfinals of Grand Slams,” Djokovic said of the streak. “It says that I do value these tournaments the most and try to always perform my best tennis in them. Obviously motivates me for the future to continue that streak, of course.”

Djokovic acknowledged he did have to work a bit saving a set point in the second.

“If you won that point, won the second set, it’s pretty even,” he said. “So it’s a big point, and tried to get the crowd engaged. Not many matches I have played in the last five years on Armstrong Stadium, which was before Ashe the center court of US Open. A lot of history there. It’s a great court. So I tried to enjoy the experience.”

Murray followed with an equally impressive win over the hot-handed JW Tsonga. In fact arguably his best win since beating Djokovic in the Wimbledon final last year. Tsonga had beaten Murray a few weeks ago en route to his Toronto title, but the Scot took advantage of Tsonga’s inability to hold leads to advance to his 15th straight Slam quarter and earn his first top 10 win in over a year.

“Today was a good match for the most part,” said Murray. “I feel like I’m playing well. I’m going to have to play extremely well to win the event or even just to get through the next match…

“I’ll just try and take the confidence that I gained from a win like this into the next round, and hopefully put on another good performance.”

So the dream quarter is on. Djokovic leads Murray 12-8 winning four of their last five.

“He’s already has been Grand Slam champion, Wimbledon, US Open, Olympic Games,” Djokovic said of the Scot. “So he has a lot of success behind him and a lot of experience behind him. He knows how to play center court US Open where he played some great tennis and we had some great matches. You know, the last one was in finals in 2012 in five sets.”

I’ll have more on that match in the next day or so.

Also on this Labor Day, Stan Wawrinka toughed out Tommy Robredo 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2. Wawrinka has been a beast on hardcourt in Slam play reaching the SFs at the US Open last year and of course winning the Australian earlier this year. Today he was just the stronger, tougher guy in the end. He was the bully.

“I think there were a few moments in the match that made a big difference,” said Wawrinka. “Mentally I was really strong today. I was accepting the fact that I was really down physically in the third set, that I was struggling a lot with cramping and everything. But I wasn’t complaining about that. I stayed positive with that.

“Tried to find a solution how to relax mentally, how to be better, in better shape after and how to fight with him. To find a solution in the game, try to be a little bit more aggressive, try to start again to take my forehand back, not only playing backhand. A few little changes that made a big difference at the end of the match.”

In the late match I just stayed up for, Kei Nishikori edged Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-6, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4 in a 4-hour, 20-minute that tied for the latest finish to a US Open match at 2:26am.

The oft-injured, frail Nishikori will now have to recover and reset his sleep cycle to play a fresh Stan Wawrinka under the baking sun Wednesday afternoon.

In the women’s draw, Serena Williams won her 18th straight match at the US Open taking care of Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3. She’ll play former US Open semifinalist and Indian Wells champ Flavia Pennetta in the quarters Wednesday night. It’s Serena’s first Slam quarter of the season.

WTA dream girl Genie Bouchard succumbed to the heat and humidity in a 7-6(2), 6-4 loss to Russian Ekatarina Makarova.

“I was feeling very light headed and dizzy on the court,” the Wimbledon runner-up said. “You know, just seeing things a little blurry. You know, feeling well physically on the court is very important to me, so when I don’t feel that — I just generally didn’t feel good.”

In the quarters Wednesday afternoon Makarova will now face 2-time US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka who outlasted a very spirited effort from little-known qualifier Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Azarenka raced out to a break lead before Krunic ran off six of seven games to take the opening set. Azarenka got back on track and took the match, but Krunic never really went away fighting till the very end.

“I think she played exceptionally well today,” Azarenka said of the 21-year-old Krunic. “She gave a fight, and she wasn’t afraid to go big on the important moments. I was a little bit surprised that she’s not that tall, and she hits the ball and unleashes her forehand with so much power. So that was quite surprising. But, you know, I think she’s a young player. She has a good future if she keeps going this way.”

As for tomorrow…

Roger Federer v Roberto Bautista Agut
The Spaniard is a very good, underrated player, but I have to think Federer’s experience wins out here. Though this one could get very close, very tight.

A lot will hinge on Federer’s serving ability because I do think Bautista Agut will do damage to the Swiss off the ground. However RBA has never won a match this deep in a Slam.
The pick: Federer in 4

Dominic Thiem v Tomas Berdych
I’d love to see Thiem pull the upset but again experience wins out for Berdych. Plus the conditions are once again expected to be quite hot and the young 20-year-old Thiem has never played this much tennis in a single week, so perhaps some fatigue might set in.

That said, Berdych seems to be very beatable and the Austrian already has a lot in the arsenal.
The pick: Berdych in 3

Gilles Simon v Marin Cilic
Simon has never lost to Cilic in four previous meetings. But I think Cilic breaks that duck here. I just think Marin is playing better tennis and I like him in the heat more than Simon. Though the Frenchman did beat Marin in five under the very hot sun at the Australian this year, so what do I know?
The pick: Cilic in 5

Gael Monfils v Grigor Dimitrov
Maybe I’m bleary-eyed from watching this Raonic-Nishikori finish, but I’m going with my man Monfils in this one. It’s about time for him to make a move and fulfill his potential. And the way he’s been playing – with focus, with intent – this summer he should get through here.

Dimitrov has been playing just as well, but overall few players have the skillset that Monfils has. The question is can the Frenchman control it? I think he can.

And I also am not fully convinced of Dimitrov’s fitness in the heat – though Monfils’s fitness could also be called into question.

So in the match of the day – one that has makings of being the match of the tournament…
The pick: Monfils in 4

The women’s quarters also begin with Belinda Bencic-Peng and in the evening Caroline Wozniacki against Sara Errani.

Arthur Ashe Stadium 11:00am Start Time
Scott Lipsky (USA)/Rajeev Ram (USA) vs. Eric Butorac (USA)[12]/Raven Klaasen (RSA)[12]
Not Before: 12:00pm
Belinda Bencic (SUI) vs. Shuai Peng (CHN)
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)[7] vs. Gael Monfils (FRA)[20]

Arthur Ashe Stadium 7:00pm Start Time
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)[17] vs. Roger Federer (SUI)[2]
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[10] vs. Sara Errani (ITA)[13]

Louis Armstrong Stadium 12:00pm Start Time
Venus Williams (USA)/Serena Williams (USA) vs. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)[4]/Elena Vesnina (RUS)[4]
Marin Cilic (CRO)[14] vs. Gilles Simon (FRA)[26]
Tomas Berdych (CZE)[6] vs. Dominic Thiem (AUT)
Not Before: 5:00pm
Bob Bryan (USA)[1]/Mike Bryan (USA)[1] vs. David Marrero (ESP)[7]/ Fernando Verdasco (ESP)[7]

You Might Like:
Murray Meets Dimitrov Tonight in Bangkok; Top Five Seeds Remain in KL
Tsonga, Simon Advance; Murray, Zverev v Verdasco Tuesday In Madrid
Gael Monfils Says They’ll Be No Party For His 28th Birthday, He Also Doesn’t Want To Play On Ashe
Del Potro Denies Dimitrov In Rome; Murray Opens Title Defense Tuesday
Isner, Monfils Withdraw From Auckland; Will The Frenchman Play The Australian Open?

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59 Comments for Djokovic, Murray Advance At US Open, Azarenka Survives; Federer, Monfils v Dimitrov Tuesday

jane Says:

“Today he was just the stronger, tougher guy in the end. He was the bully.”

stan also hit 75 winners to robredo’s 19, so not only strength but being willing to go for it.

Wog boy Says:

Cilic will choke and Monfils the Shoelace will forget that you play to win…Simon and Dimitrov through to next round.

Adam Says:

Wog boy I utterly agree. Dimitrov easily.

wilfried Says:

Hi Sean,
This article has been written before the Nishikori-Raonic match result was known.
Why not wait with it till that result was known?
Djokovic’s and Murray’s victories were kinda expected, whereas Nisihikori’s victory was far less!
In the big picture the importance of that last result however may not be underestimated in my view.
Because now i’s almost a certainty that Wawrinka will advance to the semifinals in the upperhalf of the draw, and his hances to go to the final have increased considerably.
I think Federer wouldn’t mind such a scenario.

Tennis Fan Says:

Close match for Raonic – Nishikori last night. Only problem I had was when Nishikori abused the time out rules and left the court for a good 15 minutes or so between sets. If they aren’t willing to enforce rules in tennis why bother even having them. I think without that delay Raonic goes through.

Polo Says:

Tennis is the worst sport when it comes to rules and regulations. The players wantonly break them and the officials do not enforce them. They should look to golf as a model for their very detailed rules that cover every aspect of the game. All players and officials abide by them. That’s why tennis will never reach the popularity of golf. Tennis is often frustrating to watch especially when players break the rules but are still rewarded for it because the officials are too ignorant of the rules or afraid of the players or both.

andrea Says:

bummer of a loss for Milos. i didn’t see the end of it but had a feeling it would go the distance. thought Kei would run out of gas. i hope he is fit for the next match.

@ Polo – agree with you re: tennis rules. the service game rule (time in between) is constantly abused, medical time outs, pee breaks etc. azaraneka’s famous medical time out at the AO when she admitted after that she really needed to just stall the match cos she was choking (not literally). so often players are in grey areas or ‘cheating’ within the rules. the umps need to step it up.

Hippy Chic Says:

Gael v Grigor plenty of eye candy,in every sense of the word,ones a brilliant showman,the other an up and coming young player with imense talent,both are in fact incredibly talented,should be a great match,bring it on….

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m a little disappointed Raonic couldn’t pull through but no shame in losing to Nishikori.

But I am very worried that Nishikori pulls out or retires in his next match. It’s been a trend with him for his entire career. Stay strong, Kei.

Eric Says:

I would be surprised if Cilic beats Simon. What’s new and different in this matchup? Is Cilic playing better tennis than ever before? No. If anything, Simon has been the impressive one (of the two) at this tournament, in terms of who he’s had to come through.

Hippy Chic Says:

Nothing to seperate the two between Cilic and Simon,agree Simon has the slight edge,a very tasty match going on between Monflis and Dimitrov,first set Monflis….

Hippy Chic Says:

IMO I think we will see a Vika/Serena final on the womens side,Vika is the only player i believe that will trouble Serena,it would be fantastic to see Serena tying with Martina and Chrissy on winning 18 GS….

Hippy Chic Says:

Wozniaki has such a strong work ethic it would be lovely to see her make a breakthrough and bag a GS,unfortunatly she has no big weapons though….

Okiegal Says:

Gael is just about there…..He did it in straights!!

Okiegal Says:

Roger will make mince meat out of Bautista, me thinks!

Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal it was a great performance from Gael,i do like the up and coming players of the game,but its fantastic to see the veterans doing so well….

the DA Says:

Allez Le Monf! I’m not shocked he won but kinda surprised he did in straight sets. That was a different, focused Monfils out there – apart from the mid-2nd set madness. I think if he stays this focused he could pose a few problems for Fed, providing he gets through tonight. Interesting USO 2014.

jane Says:

wow, la monf straight-setted dimitrov? he means business then? very interesting. when is the last time he’s reached a qf?

the DA Says:

@jane – it has been so long I can’t remember ;)

Milos and Grigor need to sort a few things out in the off-season. As someone tweeted, the next generation is in danger of becoming the lost generation.

contador Says:

La monf is all business this tournament. I have been preaching the message. He is going to be a handful for Federer….(if Fed gets past Bautista Agut)

contador Says:

Hippy Chic, Vika and Serena will likely meet in the Semi-finals. The other semi-final will be Peng vs Woz or Errani.

Most likely Woz gets by Errani but Peng has been on fire – she looks very driven. Woz is sporting an improved serve and is as super fit right now from training to run the NYC marathon. I think Woz and Serena is a likely final. Serena wins, I should think.

jane Says:

the da – very astute that comment about the lost generation. i mean, they haven’t done too badly so i don’t want to be overly critical. both reached the semis at wimbledon, and then dimi was in the quarters or semis at the australian and milos was in the quarters at the french. but neither can seem to make it consistently to later rounds of masters or slams. neither has won a masters right? hmmm…

conty – it’s interesting to think about how far la monf could go!

contador Says:

Yes Gael has me wondering just that right now :D

Polo Says:

Monfils looks like he might trip Federer’s trek to the finals.

Wog boy Says:

What happened to Sean jinx? Ok, there is still two to go:)

jane Says:

yes, wog boy: sean’s 2 for 2 today!

Polo Says:

Wog Boy, now that you have invoked the Sean jinx, you got me worried that it will hit hard in his remaining predictions.

Okiegal Says:

Was Gael in a more subdued form today…..more than usual or was it just me?? None the less, he looked great! Will he be a contender? We will see……

Wog boy Says:

Polo, yes, still two to go. When was the last time Sean had four out of four?

Polo Says:

I hope this will be the first time, W’boy.

Humble Rafa Says:

When was the last time Sean had four out of four?

Broken clock is right twice a day. All I remember is, whenever he picks Humble Highess at non-clay court tournaments, Humble fails miserably. Hence the Sean-curse.

skeezer Says:

Fed up 5-1 in the 1rst, cruising. Take the garbage out, come back, and he has now try to serve out the first @5-4. Guess I missed something. C’mon Maestro!

Pitchaboy Says:

Gael won’t trip Federer; Berdych may well do it. He has gained confidence from a lucky draw. If he was in other half, would have been gone.

jane Says:

agut is making twice as many errors as winners.

meanwhile berdych is cruising; theim not putting up much of a challenge.

it’s really all about the old guard today. althgouh i guess cilic is younger than simon, but he’s been around a while.

jane Says:

so i did a bit of digging because i couldn’t remember monfils’ recent slam results:

monfils reached the quarters at the french this year, too. the time before that was in 2011, when he reached the quarters at the french as well; he’s always had his best results there..

you have to go back 4 years, to the 2010 us open, for the last and only time he reached the quarters in new york.

and you have to go back even further that that, to 2008 – 6 years – to find his last, and in fact only, semifinals appearance at a slam (at the french).

having read what he said in his press conference, it doesn’t really sound like he “means business” after all. if that’s the case, i expect fed to win in straight sets.

jane Says:

*last and only time before today, re: new york.

jane Says:

sean – 4 out of 4 – impressive.

Wog boy Says:

jean, Sean has to make up for yesterday, it was one out of four.

Wog boy Says:

^^ sorry, I meant “jane”

Daniel Says:

Nice win for Fed. Not losimg energy in this early matches workimg his draw.

A very winnable match agaisnt Mongils but if he decides to play he can steal a set. Can’t see Monfils winning three sets out of Fed though.

As for Berdy x Cilic, Fed would definetely prefer to play Cilic, whom he never lost to than Berdych who seems to find an inner Bully inside him to play agaisnt Fed.

Also can’t see Berdych in the finals after his so so results almost all year. Tink Fed is definetelky in the finals now.

But the question is agaisnt who? I can see any of the top half in the finals but if things goes to form and favortism Djoko is most likelly a shoe in. He is playing really great this tourney and haven’t lost a set. Any of the top half 4 in the final ipwill be great, Djoko going for second US and second Slam n a row; Murray as a redemption tourney after last years disapointment, Wawa dominating hard court Slam this year and Nishikori as the young gun. On the bottom half, not so great contender, Cilic, Berdych and Monfils all have choke coming right after when we hear their names so you can never know. Think the best name to face one of the other 4 is Federer and who can garantee a great final is Fed. The other 3 doesn’t inspire trust althoug this courst favor Cilic and Berdy games the most.

Humble Rafa Says:

La Monf Furry Ball either loses in straight sets or gets injured. He gets caught up in antics and lacks common sense. Behaves like a 3 year old child.

SG1 Says:

Sean…pretty much bang on with your predictions! Cilic in 5…gutsy and right on the money as it turned out.

Polo Says:

Daniel, bold prediction saying that Federer is “in the finals”. The unpredictable Monfils can beat anybody when playing in full cylinders. And then possibly Berdych who can play scared against just about anybody yet turns bold when facing Roger. If Fed were on his 20’s, yes I would agree with “definitely” but at 33, I would not use that adjective.

SG1 Says:

Murray-Djokovic. Crazy quarterfinal! It would have been a final a year ago. I guess we’ll find out exactly where Andy is in his comeback. It’ll be a physical match and Andy will be facing a guy he’s managed to get the better of in recent big matches. Hard to pick against Djokovic but if Andy does find a way through, I believe we can expect big things from him in 2015.

Right now, Roger looks so good I’m not sure that anyone but Djokovic can take him out.

Polo Says:

Good job picking the winners today, Sean.

SG1 Says:

Think Wawa may also be building up to something special as well…or maybe I’m just he hoping he is. Serving big and pounding those forehands and backhands. If only he returned a little better. There’d be a Big Five.

SG1 Says:

Monfils is as capable of playing well as he is of tanking. I don’t like his chances against the Big Four in a 3 of 5 set format. It’s just too long for him to have to keep his head on straight. And the Big Four generally don’t beat themselves. Says:

Monfils is a scary player, but, as with Gulbis who can storm the second week here and there, he’s just about reached his Best Before round of a Slam. Even if he plays his best, he’s at core a defensive player, and he’s still no Rafa or Novak defensively. Fed should be able to beat him down.

I think Roger may cakewalk to the semis, but there he will absolutely need to be at his best to beat Berdych in this kind of scary Berdych form. It will be very interesting to see the dynamic if Fed goes for the net as much as he did tonight. Could it be the way to beat a hot Berdych is just to strike first?

The matches tomorrow are outasight. How interesting that kei took his turn as the Young Gun going deep– and that he is the SOLE youngster in the last eight. Wawrinka should take him out, and I think Novak will beat Murray, but its hard to say, Novak can crumble mentally against Murray. Whoever gets through I think will have an epic semi with Wawrinka.

jane Says:

the only thing about wawa is that he said something was physically bothering him before the robredo win and then he had that fall or whatever during that win, so i am not sure what his condition is. and we’ve already remarked on kei’s often fragile condition.

sg-1, agree totally about la monf. and if you read bodo’s summation and discussion of gael’s press conference comments, he basically says some days he just can’t be bothered trying for the win so he thinks “you can have it”. LOL! :O

meanwhile woz took care of business in set 1, but she tends to be up and down from set to set.

Humble Rafa Says:

What kind of crazy world is this?

Woz is hitting forehand winners. WTF?

skeezer Says:

Humble Rafa down time;
Poker, watching Woz, posting on Tennis X, listening to Unc Toni on how to abuse rules. This is a good day.

Hippy Chic Says:

Contador @5.26pm September 2nd thanks for setting me straight,i actually agree with you on the two finalists then,although Peng and Vika are both playing well,i think Vika would win the final if she beats Serena,although thats still i tall order….

rogerafa Says:

“And the Big Four generally don’t beat themselves.”

This may be true about Rafa and Novak but I am not so sure about Andy or Roger.

elina Says:

Why isn’t Troicki playing for Serbia in Davis Cup next week?

jane Says:

actually rogerafa, i would say nole beats himself a fair amount. he gets upset by things too easily sometimes, and then loses focus. perhaps only rafa doesn’t beat himself?

rogerafa Says:

“Daniel, bold prediction saying that Federer is “in the finals”. The unpredictable Monfils can beat anybody when playing in full cylinders. And then possibly Berdych who can play scared against just about anybody yet turns bold when facing Roger. If Fed were on his 20′s, yes I would agree with “definitely” but at 33, I would not use that adjective.”

@ Polo

I could not agree more with you. Besides, Gael has not dropped a set and Tomas appears to be in scary form. Roger’s real challenge begins now. We shall see if he is up for it.

Polo Says:

Roger does not beat himself. When he loses, it’s always because the other guy played well enough to beat him. Both Roger and Rafa are in that category. Djokovic sometimes does but he usually corrects that towards the end of the match.

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