One day’s quarterfinal action in the books, the final four for the men’s and women’s is nearly set, with two very different stories emerging. On the men’s, it’s been all about the unfamiliar and unheralded, while on the women’s, it’s been all about those closest to home. Wednesday could have a similar story – or a very different one. In either case, there’s plenty of intrigue.

Read on for a look at the four quarterfinal matchups on day 10 of the US Open.

Karolina Pliskova (CZE) [1] vs CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) [20] – 1st on Arthur Ashe, 12:00pm start

Still searching for some real legitimacy to her no. 1 status, the US Open title would go a long way for Karolina Pliskova, but her job is about to get a lot harder. Having split their career meetings two wins apiece, Vandeweghe comes in knowing she has the shots to take it to Pliskova, and with the Ashe crowd sure to be behind her, that means tons of pressure for the Czech. Vandeweghe epitomises the notion of a “big game player” and will be absolutely fearless in attempting to blow Pliskova off the court, so the Czech’s best bet is to vary the pace and lull her into backhand-to-backhand exchanges, working the American out of position before making her own offensive plays. Still, it might simply come down to who serves better, with a few points here or there making all the difference.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [1] vs Andrey Rublev (RUS) – 2nd on Arthur Ashe

A match between a floppy haired, up-and-coming teenager with a propensity for grunting against a, well… formerly floppy haired, up-and-coming teenager with a propensity for grunting, this match is a classic generation battle. Not possessing the same eye-catching play that has made his peer Denis Shapovalov an overnight superstar, the 19-year-old Rublev has managed to somewhat keep under the radar, but his results speak for themselves, and his well-rounded game based on sustained pressure will continue to serve him well. Unfortunately, the man he’s up against just so happens to do everything he does, but better, meaning this is unlikely to end in Rublev’s favour unless Nadal places a water bottle wrong and is cursed into oblivion. Still, winning the match isn’t the only positive potential outcome for Rublev, and how he handles the experience will give us important insight into his future.

Madison Keys (USA) [15] vs Kaia Kanepi (EST) – 1st on Arthur Ashe, Night Session

The 418th-ranked player in the world, it’s safe to say Kanepi was not a popular choice to make the quarterfinals, but hey, that’s sports for ya. That said, don’t expect Keys to have it all her own way – Kanepi was actually a quarterfinalist here in 2010, and prior to her injury struggles actually recorded a win over Keys in Madrid 2015. If Keys wants to turn the tables, she’s going to have to find a way past Kanepi’s exceptionally solid, all-around baseline game, and that means she will need to come up with some big-time shotmaking to stop the Estonian from working her way into points. This is one of those matches that could quickly descend into a back-and-forth struggle, which for Keys is par for the course.

Roger Federer (SUI) [3] vs Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [24] – 2nd on Arthur Ashe, Night Session

A mere eight years later, Federer finally gets the chance to avenge his loss to Del Potro in the 2009 final. Easier said than done of course, especially against a competitor as lethal as Del Potro who, battling illness in his quarterfinal victory over Dominic Thiem, took the first two sets off before finding the range on his forehand and simply blowing the hard-hitting Thiem off the court. Knowing how dangerous the Argentine is, it’s up to Federer to blunt his attack before it begins, attacking his backhand side and ensuring he doesn’t give room on the forehand for Del Potro to take huge cuts at the ball. In any case the upset is definitely in play, and a repeat of ’09 in length, if not result, wouldn’t be at all surprising.


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