Eight days down, we’ve finally reached the pointy end of the US Open.
If you’re looking for a summation of how outlandish the tournament has been, today’s schedule does a pretty good job. One top-10 seed, a two-time Wimbledon champ, four players the average attendee would struggle to find in the official program, and just enough red, white, and blue to give them something to cheer for – it’s an incredibly eclectic bunch.
That said, it’s certainly not devoid of quality – or intrigue. There’s a very distinct possibility we’ll be watching a US Open-titlist, and that’s the beauty of this crop – it could be anyone.
Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)  vs Diego Schwartzman (ARG)  – 1st on Arthur Ashe, 12:00pm start
The first of two men’s quarterfinals everyone predicted, this also happens to be incredibly hard to predict. Despite coming up around the same time on tour, this marks Carreno Busta and Schwartzman’s first career meeting, and it should be interesting to see which one can outlast the other. With neither man particularly explosive from the back of the court, this match is likely to come down to composure more than anything, and that might give Schwartzman the edge, given the names (and pressure) he’s gone through this tournament. Whoever wins, odds are it’ll be a real firecracker.
Sloane Stephens (USA) vs Anastasija Sevastova (LAT)  – 2nd on Arthur Ashe
Comeback kid Stephens has had a phenomenal run through the tournament so far, and in playing the conqueror of Maria Sharapova, she may have dodged a massive bullet… or did she? Sevastova is the type of grinder who gives anyone fits, and has enjoyed a career season in 2017. However, Stephens isn’t going to be quite the hit-or-miss opponent Sharapova was, and is likely to be more intelligent in her point construction, having both the patience and mobility to out-work Sevastova if the missiles aren’t landing. Technically an upset, it would be highly unsurprising if Stephens moves on.
Venus Williams (USA)  vs Petra Kvitova (CZE)  – 1st on Arthur Ashe, Night Session
Two of the best servers in the women’s game, Williams and Kvitova are set for an ol’ fashioned duel at high-noon, the loser being whoever blinks first. Both leading the heat-to-head (3-1) and a far more impressive set of scalps in the lead-in, Kvitova enters the favourite, but Venus has always gone the distance, and it would unsurprising to see that continue here. With plenty of first-strike tennis in store, the best way for Venus to turn the tables will be to find better variation on her serve (particularly on the ad-side, where Kvitova tends to attack with her backhand) and try and take it in the tiebreak, but don’t be surprised if the pressure and crowd play a part also. Whoever wins, expect it to be very narrow, and for them to become a popular title favourite.
Sam Querrey (USA)  vs Kevin Anderson (RSA)  – 2nd on Arthur Ashe, Night Session
With the disaster the Knicks have been recently, it’ll make a nice change for New York fans to watch some tall guys who actually know what they’re doing. Two of the biggest bombers on tour, Querrey and Anderson like to keep things simple, and see who can take more fluff off the tennis ball with ruthlessly slapped serves and forehands. Querrey currently leads the head-to-head 9-6 – including a five set epic at Wimbledon this year – but Anderson took their last meeting two weeks ago in Montreal, so there’s little to separate between the two. Maybe Querrey’s more impressive destruction of Mischa Zverev gives him the edge, but really it doesn’t matter – just enjoy the fireworks.