World number one Serena Williams is now just a pair of wins away from completing a remarkable calendar Grand Slam, after the top seed outlasted her sister Venus in 3 sets on Day 9 to make it through to the semi-finals.
Day 9 Recap
In front of a capacity crowd, Serena took the early lead, racing through the first set for the loss of just two games. Elder sister Venus came roaring back in the second set, completely dominating to set up a mouth-watering deciding set. An early break gave Serena some breathing space and she held on to prevail 6-2 1-6 6-3, winning a total of 76 points for the match compared to Venus’ 75.
Serena will need to beat Italy’s Roberta Vinci if she is to progress to Saturday’s final, after the veteran outlasted Kiki Mladenovic in another 3-setter to make it through to her first ever US Open semi-final. The former world number one doubles player showed her experience at the crucial stages to oust the gallant Mladenovic 6-3 5-7 6-4.
In the men’s tournament, defending champion Marin Cilic was given a scare by the flamboyant Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. After collecting the first two sets in workmanlike fashion, Cilic struggled to match Tsonga’s level in sets 3 and 4, as the nineteenth seed pushed the match into a deciding fifth set. There, the big serve of Cilic proved decisive, as he eventually claimed a 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-7(3) 6-4 win.
The lengthy Tsonga-Cilic duel meant that top seed Novak Djokovic and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez didn’t get on court until late on Tuesday night. Just after 1am Wednesday morning, Djokovic finally booked his place in the semi-finals, recording a 6-1 3-6 6-3 7-6(2) win over the eighteenth seeded Lopez.
Matches of the Day – Day 10
1. Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Kevin Anderson
This is a particularly interesting duel. Dual Grand Slam champion Wawrinka would have been expecting to face Murray, but instead he meets Anderson, who has been a bogeyman of sorts for the Swiss star in recent times. After defeating Anderson in their first three matches, Wawrinka has lost to the South African in their last four meetings (all of which took place last year and this year).
Anderson has been knocking on the door of the top 10 for a while now, and his breakthrough win over Murray, combined with his winning record against Wawrinka, will give him high hopes going into this clash. If Anderson serves well, another upset could be on the cards. But Wawrinka has more experience at this stage of Grand Slams and I sense he will squeeze through. Wawrinka in 5.
2. Roger Federer vs. Richard Gasquet
Richard Gasquet holds a fairly miserable record against second seed Roger Federer, with the Frenchman having beaten Federer in just a couple of their 16 career meetings. However, the Frenchman has been in inspired form lately, making it through to the semi-finals at Wimbledon and now beating Tomas Berdych en route to the US Open quarter-finals.
Unfortunately for Gasquet, he’s not the only one playing well, with Federer in terrific form in the last few months and showing no signs of slowing down. I think the Frenchman will claim a set but I don’t think he has the stamina to go the distance with the Swiss superstar. Federer in 4.
3. Petra Kvitova vs. Flavia Pennetta
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova struggled early on against Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta, dropping the first three matches that the pair played. But Kvitova has won the last three matches contested between these players and, whilst Pennetta performs well in New York, having made the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows in 2013, I think Kvitova’s superior serve and shotmaking ability will get her over the line today.
Whatever happens today, this year will represent Kvitova’s most successful in New York, but I think the Czech star has a good chance of making it through to Saturday’s final and no doubt Kvitova will be eager to make the most of her opportunity. Kvitova in 3.
4. Victoria Azarenka vs. Simona Halep
This match should be entertaining to watch, offering a contrast of styles. Azarenka is the classic baseline power player, always seeking to dictate play and get on the offensive. Halep is a crafty counterpuncher, who moves well and anticipates well, and who has a myriad of different shots up her sleeve.
Azarenka’s bad run in terms of injuries have kept her from getting back into the world’s top 10, but to my mind when she is healthy she is one of the top couple of hard-courts players on the WTA Tour. I’ll back the Belarusian to upset second seed Halep and move closer to capturing that elusive US Open title. Azarenka in 3.
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.