by: Tom Cochrane

Day 7 saw second seed Roger Federer overcome a rain delay and the loss of the first set to beat Marcel Granollers and book his spot in the round of 16.

Day 7 Recap

After being surprised by the Spaniard Granollers in the opening set, Federer regrouped in sensational fashion, dropping just 3 games across the next 3 sets to set up a clash with another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut, in the fourth round. Tomas Berdych eased past the Russian Gabashvili and will now face rising star Dominic Thiem, who continued his good run by upsetting Spanish seed Feliciano Lopez.

Fourth seed David Ferrer was stunned by Gilles Simon, the Frenchman claiming a 4 set win over a surprisingly lethargic Ferrer, whilst Marin Cilic overcame the big-serving Kevin Anderson in 4 sets. Gael Monfils has yet to drop a set this tournament, the flashy Frenchman dismissing his higher-ranked compatriot Richard Gasquet on Day 7. Monfils will next face Grigor Dimitrov, who survived a test against the Belgian David Goffin.

In the women’s tournament, Day 7 saw former world number one Caroline Wozniacki score a superb fighting win over fifth seed and former champion Maria Sharapova. The Dane overcame the loss of the second set, staying aggressive in the decider to claim the win. Wozniacki will next face Italian Sara Errani for a spot in the semi-finals, after the former French Open finalist took down qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in 3 sets.

Meanwhile, the giant-killing run of Shuai Peng continued on Day 7, the Chinese player taking down Wimbledon semi-finalist Lucie Safarova to advance to her first ever quarter-final in New York. There, she will play teenager Belinda Bencic who upset ninth seed Jelena Jankovic in the night session on Sunday.

Matches of the Day – Day 8

1. Flavia Pennetta vs. Casey Dellacqua

Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta is looking to emulate her terrific run in New York last year, when she made it through to the semi-finals. Pennetta is a very solid all-court player, strong on serve and from the back of the court and, as a result of her doubles success, very capable at the net.

Aussie Casey Dellacqua is in the best form of her life, making the round of 16 at Melbourne Park earlier in the year and this month having broken into the world’s top 30. The leftie is a quality shotmaker who will always give her all on the court. I suspect Pennetta might be too strong in this one, but the plucky Aussie will make the Italian earn the win. Pennetta in 3.

2. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Andy Murray

I’m really looking forward to this clash between former champion Murray and recent Toronto winner Tsonga. The Frenchman showed by winning in Toronto that he still has what it takes to compete at the very highest level, although I wonder if Tsonga can stay focused mentally for multiple 5 set matches at Grand Slam level.

It’s been a sluggish year for Murray, who has been unable to string a number of good performances together at any stage of the season. Tsonga beat the Scot in Toronto and, while I expect this match to be very close, I think the bigger firepower of Tsonga, combined with Murray still not being back to his best, spell a win for the Frenchman. Tsonga in 5.

3. Kei Nishikori vs. Milos Raonic

Behind the Big Four in men’s tennis is a new breed of players eager to take over from the likes of Federer and Djokovic. Nishikori and Raonic are 2 such players, with each player helping put tennis on the map in his country and producing some outstanding performances across the last few seasons.

Nishikori started 2014 in wonderful form, but the Japanese star has struggled with injury in more recent months. Raonic, on the other hand, has gone from strength to strength this season, an appearance in the Wimbledon semi-finals being the high point of his season to date. At his best, I would say Nishikori would be too strong in this one, but on current form I have to go with the big-serving Canadian. Raonic in 4.

4. Serena Williams vs. Kaia Kanepi

Fresh from knocking off seeds Sam Stosur and Carla Suarez Navarro, Kaia Kanepi now attempts to claim the biggest scalp of them all, 17-time major winner Serena Williams. The Estonian counterpuncher is super-solid from the baseline and will take down any opponent who is not on their game.

Williams has suffered enough upsets in the Grand Slams this year to be highly attuned to the threat Kanepi poses, and I can’t see the American giving Kanepi too many free points in this encounter. Look for Williams to dominate with her serve and to keep the rallies short against Kanepi. Williams in 2.

5. Novak Djokovic vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber

After surviving the ballistic serve of John Isner for the third successive year in New York, Philipp Kohlschreiber now faces an even bigger hurdle – world number one Novak Djokovic. Kohlscreiber upset the Serb at the 2009 French Open, but has lost their other 4 matches, including both contests on hard-courts.

The talk leading in to the tournament was of Djokovic being underprepared, but that gossip appears overdone now that the Serb has cruised into the round of 16 without dropping a set. The top seed was at his ruthless best against Querrey in round 3 and I think he will be too good for the German today. Djokovic in 4.

That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter: @satelliteserve.


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