Before the rain came, the big talking point on day 7 of the 2014 US Open was Caroline Wozniacki’s superb three set victory over Maria Sharapova. It was one of Caro’s best ever victories and a definite contender for the match of the tournament. You can read my recap of that match HERE. The bottom half is so wide open, which makes things really interesting. Attention switches to the top half on Monday…
TFF DreamTeam Update: woo tops the league followed by Wild Briar Village. I’m intrigued to know who woo is because I remember they did well during Wimbledon!
1. Ekaterina Makarova v Eugenie Bouchard (WTA US Open, R4)
Eugenie Bouchard has been the most successful WTA player at the Grand Slams in 2014. This is really quite something when you realise that Bouchard was in qualifying for the 2013 Australian Open. Bouchard has played two night matches in a row with identical scorelines, 6-2 6-7 6-4; both wins over Sorana Cirstea and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova were not straightforward, but saw Bouchard display champion-like qualities with her ability to win whilst not playing at her best. Bouchard’s next opponent is Ekaterina Makarova, who sailed through the first three rounds without dropping a set and losing just 15 games. The Russian player is, in my opinion, extremely underrated and her form since Wimbledon, where she upset Agnieszka Radwanska to reach the quarter-finals, has been excellent. She reached the semi-finals of DC and Montreal, defeating Petra Kvitova in the latter.
Makarova defeated Bouchard in their only previous match in DC last year, 6-4 6-2. Makarova reached the quarter-finals of the US Open last year and has never been afraid of causing an upset. She’s a reasonably solid closer and although she has got nervous before, the issues have been more rooted to her wavering concentration. Bouchard has been gritting out wins, but I think Makarova is playing on a much higher level; if Genie doesn’t raise her game significantly then I have no doubt that Makarova makes back-to-back quarter-finals at the US Open.
Prediction: Makarova d. Bouchard in 2 sets
2. Serena Williams v Kaia Kanepi (WTA US Open, R4)
Serena Williams had her toughest match of the fortnight so far as she fought past Varvara Lepchenko, 6-3 6-3 in the third round. Bidding to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time in 2014, Serena faces Kaia Kanepi on Monday. No-one has ever doubted that Kanepi is capable of reaching the latter stages of big tournaments. Five times a Grand Slam quarter-finalist, a mixture of crippling nerves and nagging injuries have prevented Kanepi from going any deeper in Grand Slam draws. After an exciting second round match against Sam Stosur, which she did fabulously well to win, Kanepi took out Carla Suarez Navarro in the third round. It was a slow start, but a barnstorming finish for Kaia, who won 7-5 6-0. Serena has beaten Kaia on three previous occasions and all in straight sets, but they haven’t played since 2009. Kanepi could go toe-to-toe with Serena from the baseline, but it’s unlikely she’ll have the nerve and poise to threaten the upset.
Prediction: S.Williams d. Kanepi in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
3. Flavia Pennetta v Casey Dellacqua (WTA US Open, R4)
Credit to Casey. She’s had a fabulous year. This is the third time that Casey Dellacqua has reached the last 16 of a Grand Slam, but the first time she has achieved that feat at the US Open. Her draw opened up when Karolina Pliskova defeated Ana Ivanovic in the second round. Dellacqua held on for a three set victory to knock out Pliskova in Saturday. Next up for Dellacqua is Flavia Pennetta, who continues to produce her best tennis at Flushing Meadows. Pennetta needed three sets to get past Julia Goerges in the first round, but then took out two talented Americans, Shelby Rogers and Nicole Gibbs in straght sets. The pair haven’t played for seven years and this will be a huge opportunity for both players. Based on experience and particularly at this tournament, i’ll be surprised if Pennetta doesn’t snap up another quarter-final berth.
Prediction: Pennetta d. Dellacqua in 2 tight sets
4. Victoria Azarenka v Aleksandra Krunic (WTA US Open, R4)
One of the biggest question marks coming into the US Open was Victoria Azarenka and her fitness. In the first round, she was on the brink of defeat to Misaki Doi in an absorbing first round encounter. After winning the second set with a heart-felt scream and fist pump, she extinguished the worries with a solid third set performance to come through, 6-7 6-4 6-1. In the second round, she was *0-3 0-40 down to Christina McHale, but came through in straight sets. Her third round victory was the most complete of the set as she dished out two steaming hot breadsticks to Elena Vesnina. Azarenka’s draw has opened up beautifully for her although her fourth round opponent, Aleksandra Krunic, has proven this week that she should not be overlooked.
Krunic has knocked out Madison Keys and Petra Kvitova, two of the biggest hitters on the tour. Furthermore, she came through qualifying and has won six matches this week. The biggest head scratcher… how is Krunic ranked at number 145 in the world? I watched the end of her match with Keys, which was a fascinating watch. She’s got a good serve, solid groundstrokes, but her biggest strength is her coverage around the court, which consistently made Madison have to hit another ball and often, another error. It’s easy to get behind Krunic and her giant killing ways, but it’s hard to have the confidence that she will keep the winning streak going against an improving Vika.
Prediction: Azarenka d. Krunic in 2 sets