Top seeds scoot into US Open quarter-finals

mastermind5991 Roar Guru

By , mastermind5991 is a Roar Guru

Tagged:
 , , ,

2 Have your say

    Top seeds Rafael Nadal and Karolina Pliskova have affirmed their favouritism for the US Open men’s and women’s singles titles, after both players scored straight-sets wins to progress to the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows.

    Kicking off play on Arthur Ashe Stadium for the second Monday of the tournament, Pliskova thrashed American Jennifer Brady for the loss of just one game in 46 minutes.

    The Czech remains a good chance of retaining the world number one ranking after the US Open, but the 25-year-old must match her run last year, whereby she reached the final after defeating both Williams sisters.

    A loss before the final will see her lose top spot in the rankings to either fourth seed Elina Svitolina, who was still to play Madison Keys at the time of this article being written, or Garbine Muguruza, who lost to Petra Kvitova in the fourth round.

    Pliskova will next face another American, Coco Vandeweghe, in the quarter-finals, after the 20th seed defeated former French Open finalist Lucie Safarova in straight sets.

    Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi returned to the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2010, after she defeated unseeded Russian Daria Kasatkina in straights.

    She awaits the winner of the match between fourth seed Elina Svitolina or 15th seed Madison Keys, with both looking to reach the US Open quarter-finals for the first time.

    In the men’s draw, the possibility of a ‘Fedal’ semi-final showdown increased after both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer won their respective fourth round ties, against Alexandr Dolgopolov and Philipp Kohlschreiber, in straight sets.

    Nadal was barely made to sweat against Dolgopolov, who had beaten Tomas Berdych in the second round, dropping just seven games as he advanced to the quarter-finals in New York for the first time since 2013.

    It also marked his 50th match win at the US Open.

    His next opponent is Andrey Rublev, who continued his surge through the draw after defeating ninth seed David Goffin in straight sets.

    The Russian, who also claimed the scalp of seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov in the second round, has now become the youngest man to reach this tournament’s quarter-finals since Andy Roddick in 2001.

    Federer, on the other hand, took care of German Kohlschreiber to reach the last eight in New York for the 13th time in the past 14 years (he missed last year due to a knee injury).

    The 36-year-old will next face Juan Martin del Potro, after the Argentine completed a stunning comeback over sixth seed Dominic Thiem.

    Del Potro won just three games across the first two sets, but the 28-year-old came storming back, taking the third set for the loss of just one game, before falling behind 2-5 in the fourth set.

    Thiem was in the position to serve for the match in the ninth game, but the Argentine hit back, before the Austrian gained two match points against his serve in the 12th game.

    However, del Potro saved both with aces, and then dominated the ensuing tiebreak to force a fifth set shootout.

    The final set remained on serve for the most part, until del Potro completed the comeback in the tenth game, after Thiem double-faulted on match point down.

    Respected Australian coach Darren Cahill, who was commentating the match for ESPN, described it as “the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen”.

    The ‘Tower of Tandil’ now goes on to face Federer in the quarter-finals, in what will be their first meeting at Flushing Meadows since the 2009 final, which the Argentine won in five sets.

    Many believed that after that breakthrough win, del Potro, then aged 20, would go on to achieve bigger things, until a series of wrist injuries derailed his progress and sent him plummeting down the rankings.

    He was able to briefly peak as high as fourth in early 2014 before more wrist problems saw him sidelined for much of the following 24 months.

    But now, here he is once again, in the final eight at Flushing Meadows, where he looms as the biggest threat to the possibility of a Federer versus Nadal semi-final showdown – in what would be the pair’s first ever meeting at the Big Apple.

    With the quarter-finals in the top halves of both draws set, focus now turns to who will reach the semi-finals in the bottom halves.

    Interest will centre around the match between two-time US Open champion Venus Williams and dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, with one set to firm as the favourite to reach the final from this side of the draw.

    Another American, Sloane Stephens, will also start as the favourite in her match against Anastasija Sevastova, who put an end to Maria Sharapova’s comeback with a three-set win in the fourth round.

    In the men’s draw, local interest will also centre on whether Sam Querrey can become the first American man since Roddick in 2006 to reach the last four in his home Grand Slam tournament.

    Matches to watch on Day 9

    Arthur Ashe Stadium

    Day session – play starts at 12:00pm (Wednesday 2am AEST)
    [12] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) versus [29] Diego Schwartzman (ARG)
    Sloane Stephens (USA) versus [16] Anastasija Sevastova (LAT)

    Night session – play starts at 7:00pm (9am AEST)
    [9] Venus Williams (USA) versus [13] Petra Kvitova (CZE)
    [17] Sam Querrey (USA) versus [28] Kevin Anderson (RSA)