2015 US Open – Day 8

Day-8 Eye Openers:

  • Kevin Anderson. Defeated World #3 and 2012 US Open Champion Andy Murray 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-7(2), 7-6(0) to reach his first career Grand Slam Quarterfinal. Before tonight, Kevin was 0-7 in 4th-Round Grand Slam matches. He was 0-15 against top-10 players at the Majors. Huge win? Absolutely
  • The F-Word. Andy Murray unleashed a legion of F-Bombs during his loss to Anderson. So many, in fact, broadcasters were forced to repeatedly apologize on Andy’s behalf
  • Johanna Konta. She played in the 4th-Round of a Grand Slam for the first time at this year’s US Open…after playing through qualifying to reach the main draw. As if that weren’t impressive enough, she went toe-to-toe with the #4 player in the world. Had she not double faulted at two critical moments, the match could’ve gone either way
  • Richard Gasquet. Coming off a semifinal run at Wimbledon, he’s now a 2015 US Open Quarterfinalist and has date with Roger Federer
  • So long Michael Russell. All the best in Act-2. In Michael’s final US Open, he and partner Donald Young were defeated by Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey in the Round of 16

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Round of 16 here in Arthur Ashe Stadium:

[20] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) def. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) – Allentown’s Varvara Lepchenko knew she’d have to serve incredibly well to stand a chance against a surging Victoria Azarenka. After her second service-game of the match, she knew she was in trouble. Vika would break twice to win the set 6-3. Set-2 saw Varvara win her first return game to go up 1-0, but she simply couldn’t hold. Vika broke right back to level it at 1-all, then again to go up 5-3. She even won the match on a break 6-4. Azarenka’s confidence is high. She’s playing aggressive tennis, challenging returns, hitting her targets, starving for competition. This is the Vika we’re used to seeing in New York – the Vika who is a 2-time Flushing Finalist. The challenge gets harder from here: The opponents. The internal psychcology. From the outside looking in, last year’s foot and knee problems appear to be a distant memory. Will we be saying the same thing after Wednesday’s Quarterfinal match with [2] Simona Halep? Interesting. Simona pulled-off a three-set win over Sabine Lisicki after losing the first in a tie-break.

Victoria Azarenka – Road to the Quarterfinals:
4R – def. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 6-3, 6-4
3R – def. Angelique Kerber (GER) 7-5, 2-6, 6-4
2R – def. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 7-5, 6-4
1R – def. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 6-1, 6-2

[5] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) def. Donald Young (USA) – Theirs is a distant rivalry. It hasn’t been visited in four years. In the 2nd-Round of the 2011 US Open, Donald Young defeated Stan Wawrinka in a five-set grind: 7-6(7), 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(1). A month later, Wawrinka exacted his revenge in Shanghai, felling Young 6-7(5), 7-6(2), 6-2. They haven’t played since.

On Labor Day, the tension returned as they traded the first two sets. “Breadsticked” in the second, Stan smashed his stick on the sit-down, grabbed a new hammer, and launched into a dominant third, winning the first five games. Wawrinka would take it 6-3, then win the first two games of the fourth. From there, both held serve, giving Stan a chance to serve for the match up 5-4…where he finsihed with a graceful backhand volley agressively charging the net. NEXT: [15] Kevin Anderson

Stan Wawrinka – Road to the Quarterfinals:
4R – def. Donald Young (USA) 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
3R – def. Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-4
2R – def. Hyeon Chung (KOR) 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 7-6(6)
1R – def. Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(6)

[26] Flavia Pennetta def. [22] Sam Stosur – The closest Sam Stosur has come to beating Flavia Pennetta was in 2011 during a Fed Cup First-Round Tie in Hobart. They traded tie-breaks, then Pennetta won it 6-4 in the decider. They’ve now played seven times in six years…Pennetta has won them all. On Monday, down a break at 4-5, Sam did have a break opportunity to keep the first set alive. No dice. Three points later, Flavia was sipping Evian up a set. Pennetta won her next return game at 3-all in the second, then held serve through the rest of the match. Wednesday will be Flavia’s fourth consecutive US Open Quarterfinal. Her sixth overall. NEXT: Petra Kvitova.

Flavia Pennetta – Road to the Quarterfinals:
4R – def. Sam Stosur (AUS) 6-4,
3R – def. Petra Cetkovska 1-6, 6-1, 6-4
2R – def. Monica Niculescu 6-1, 6-4
1R – def. Jarmila Gajdosova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1

[5] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. Johanna Konta (GBR) – Double faults. This match came down to two, critical double faults from Johanna Konta. She’s had a storybook week here in Flushing. The 24-year-old Brit played through three rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw. Then the World #97 blew through Louisa Chirico, the 9-seed Garbine Muguruza and the 18-seed Andrea Petkovic to reach the Round of 16. And she played brilliantly against Petra Kvitova…with the exception of those two double faults. The timing of each hiccup simply couldn’t have been worse. Double fault #1 came at 30-40, down 5-6 – which handed Kvitova the first set. The next came on “advantage-Kvitova,” down 3-4 in the second – giving Petra the opportunity to serve out the match…which she did. Truth be told, the pressure of both moments, on the sport’s biggest stage, compromised Johanna’s composure. It would happen to any of us. The good news? There’s a cure: Keep winning. Spend more time on court in pressure situations against the world’s top players. After the past two weeks, Johanna has proven to herself she can do just that. NEXT: Flavia Pennetta.

Petra Kvitova – Road to the Quarterfinals:
4R – def. Johanna Konta (GBR) 7-5, 6-3
3R – def. [32] Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 6-2, 6-1
2R – def. Nicole Gibbs (USA) 6-3, 6-4
1R – def. Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-1, 6-1

[13] John Isner (USA) vs. [2] Roger Federer (SUI) – A tale of tie-breaks. John Isner has beaten Roger Federer once before; oddly enough, in Switzerland – a Davis Cup First Round Tie on clay. They last played on grass in the London Olympic Quarterfinals, where Roger won it in a second-set tie-break.

Monday night in Flushing, the tie-break seemed the only trail to triumph…and Roger played them better. After both held serve through the first, Roger “bageled” John in the breaker.

In the second, Isner missed three opportunities up 2-1, 40-love. In three flawless serves, Roger calmly cancelled each break-point to keep it level. In the tie-break, Isner was up 5-3; but as often happens with the GOAT, in a blink, he found himself down two sets to none. Federer took the breaker 8-6 with a Wawrinka backhand down the line.

Set-3 saw more of the same: Short games. Pounding serves. Full-on net attacks. Then game-8 happened. Federer up 4-3, Isner serving, down love-40. Uh-oh. Amazingly – like Federer in the second – John actually erased all three break points to stay on-serve. Fast forward to game-12. Down 5-6, all Isner needed to do was win his serve to force a third tie-break. Very quickly, he found himself facing triple match point, down love-40 again. He could only save one. Roger won it with John serving 15-40, and will face Richard Gasquet in Wednesday’s Quarters.

Roger Federer – Road to the Quarterfinals:
4R – def. John Isner (USA) 7-6(0), 7-6(6), 7-5
3R – def. [29] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
2R – def. Steve Darcis (BEL) 6-1, 6-2, 6-1
1R – def. Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2

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Quarterfinals. Arthur Ashe Stadium: Day-9 Schedule.

  • [DAY] Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) vs. Roberta Vinci (ITA)
  • [DAY] [19] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs. [9] Marin Cilic (CRO)
  • [NIGHT] [23] Venus Williams (USA) vs. [1] Serena Williams (USA)
  • [NIGHT] [18] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) vs. [1] Novak Djokovic (SRB)