I don’t know if it is just me but I am starting to lose interest in this year’s US Open. The poor scheduling, the lacklustre matches and crowds on Ashe and no stand-out quarter-finals have made me feel a bit meh about this tournament right now. Flavia Pennetta making the semi-finals is a huge headline, but I do not get the sense through the media or the fans on Twitter that people are that bothered? Perhaps it is just me and an overload of tennis these past few months. Anyway we are on the final stretch of the last Grand Slam of 2013 and here’s hoping for some nailbiting competitive matches to reignite this tournament.
1. Stanislas Wawrinka v Andy Murray (QF)
Stanislas Wawrinka and Andy Murray came through their 4th round matches in 4 sets to set up a sure-to-be-compelling quarter-final and by far and away, the best one on paper. Wawrinka produced a fine performance to take out Tomas Berdych in 4 sets having lost the first set, 6-1. Murray also lost the first set of his 4th rounder to Denis Istomin, but was never really threatened in the next three sets as he posted a 6-7(5) 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory. Murray leads the head-to-head by 8 wins to 5, but the Swiss number 2 has had a lot of joy before in this match-up. This includes a thumping 6-1 6-2 victory in their last match-up in Madrid earlier this year and a 4 set win at the US Open in 2010. If Wawrinka can summon the kind of form that saw him take out Berdych then he has a legitimate chance of making the semi-finals. I think it will be a very close match between the pair, but I am going with Murray.
Prediction – Murray to beat Wawrinka in 5 sets
2. Serena Williams v Li Na (SF) *Not played until Friday, I was a little eager :-)*
Both playing extremely well this week, all things look rosey for a fine womens semi-final between Serena Williams and Li Na. Serena showed absolutely no mercy against Carla Suarez Navarro, who was served up a double bagel on her birthday in their quarter-final match. Li lost her first set of the tournament, but showed character and slightly more margin to extinguish a great effort from Ekaterina Makarova, 6-4 6-7 6-2. Serena holds a significant lead in their head-to-head with an 8-1 advantage. The majority of their matches have been tight though with Serena winning twice in 2 tight sets this year in Miami and most recently in Cincy. This will be their first Grand Slam match since 2010. I cannot say it is a particularly fun match-up to watch and from previous experiences there have been some pretty ugly matches between the pair. I have a feeling (and my feelings haven’t been accurate at all this week) that Li will grab a set in a really competitive match.
Prediction – Serena to beat Li in 3 sets
3. Novak Djokovic v Mikhail Youzhny (QF)
The world number one, Novak Djokovic has danced through the draw in completely one-sided fashion. In the 4th round, Djokovic took out Marcel Granollers, 6-3 6-0 6-0 in a match that demonstrated the tremendous lack of depth in the mens game right now. Djokovic’s quarter-final opponent will be Mikhail Youzhny, who prevailed in one of the better ATP matches of the week, a five setter over Lleyton Hewitt. The former US Open champion served for the match at 5-2, but lost 5 straight games as Youzhny booked his place in a 3rd US Open quarter-final. The head-to-head gives Youzhny some hope as he has beaten Djokovic on 3 previous occasions and he took a set in their last encounter on the clay of Monte-Carlo. Many have been bigging up Djokovic, but he really has not been tested with his opponents so far this week. This will be a much tougher match and I still believe he won’t win this year’s US Open.
Prediction – Djokovic to beat Youzhny in 4 sets