Andy Murray enjoyed his first top ten win of 2014 with an excellent display to defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets, 7-5 7-5 6-4. Tsonga had a break in the second and third sets, but folded a tad at the conclusion of all three sets. This sets up a Murray v Djokovic quarter, which promises to be the most anticipated men’s match of the tournament so far. I’ve not been a fan of Djokovic v Murray matches although I quite enjoyed their last encounter in Miami. Fourth round action for the men wraps up on Tuesday…
1. Grigor Dimitrov v Gael Monfils (ATP US Open, R4)
Gael Monfils continued his surprisingly straightforward passage through the draw with a comfortable straight sets victory over Richard Gasquet in the third round, 6-4 6-2 6-2. Monfils now takes on Grigor Dimitrov in Tuesday’s must-watch match. Dimitrov was dropped a first set bagel by the in-form, David Goffin, but he responded admirably to close out the Belgian player in four sets, 0-6 6-3 6-4 6-1. Dimitrov’s progression this year has been pretty remarkable. He’s reached the last 16 of three of the four Slams, an achievement that he hadn’t fulfilled before 2014. In their only completed match, Monfils defeated Dimitrov in straight sets at the US Open in 2011. This happened…
Dimitrov’s come a long way (I was tempted to use the J word but I won’t) but I really like the way that Monfils is playing right now. He hasn’t dropped a set all week, which by his standards, is pretty great. His results have been consistent of late, but he will always have that edge where he can raise his game to majestic standards. It could last for ten minutes, or it could be a couple of sets, but there’s enough evidence to suggest that Monfils will be up for this. I’m sticking by my original tip that Monfils will make the quarter-finals.
Prediction: Monfils d Dimitrov in 5 sets
2. Tomas Berdych v Dominic Thiem (ATP US Open, R4)
This has been a brilliant breakthrough year for Dominic Thiem. He has qualified for seven main draws, earnt a win over the Australian Open champion, Stan Wawrinka in Madrid, reached his first ATP final in Kitzbuhel and now, has reached the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career. Thiem’s best results have come on the clay, but he’s had a mega week on the hard courts after not winning a match in Toronto and Cincy. In the second round, he came from two sets down to beat good friend, Ernests Gulbis. His best win of the week came in the third round as he eased past Feliciano Lopez, 6-4 6-2 6-3. Lopez is a big server, but Thiem broke his serve on six occasions.
Thiem now gets a shot at a top eight player in the form of Tomas Berdych. The Czech player came in with some pretty ropey form, but as he often does, has managed to right the ship when it comes to best of five setters. He navigated his way past Lleyton Hewitt in the first round and then survived a five setter against the dangerous, Martin Klizan in the second round. Thiem’s an unpredictable player, but very capable of causing an upset. If this was a best of three sets, I’d be all over Thiem; however Berdych’s reliability at the Slams makes it hard for me to go against him…
Prediction: Berdych d. Thiem in 5 sets
3. Marin Cilic v Gilles Simon (ATP US Open, R4)
The loss of David Ferrer from the draw has opened up the third quarter for Marin Cilic and Gilles Simon. Cilic dropped a set to Kevin Anderson, but came through in four sets, meanwhile Simon took out a physically tiring, Ferrer in four sets. In one of the more eye opening head-to-heads, Simon has never lost to Cilic in four previous encounters. They last played at the Australian Open earlier this year where Simon came from two sets to one down to win, 4-6 7-6(3) 6-7(5) 6-1 6-2. All of their previous matches have gone the distance. This is another match where I can’t make my mind up. I was 100% for Cilic until I saw the head-to-head… i’ll stick with my instinct and Cilic scoring a first ever win over Simon.
Prediction: Cilic d. Simon in 5 sets
4. Roger Federer v Roberto Bautista Agut (ATP US Open, R4)
Roberto Bautista Agut is a pretty solid candidate for the ATP’s most improved player in 2014. He went a little quiet during the summer hard court season, but has done well at the US Open, reaching the second week of a Grand Slam for just the second time in his career. He faces an uphill struggle against Roger Federer in the fourth round. Fed somehow managed to lose a set to Marcel Granollers in the third round before cruising through in four sets, 4-6 6-1 6-1 6-1. Perhaps Bautista Agut could get a set, but I don’t feel there’s much chance of the upset in this match.
Prediction: Federer d. Bautista Agut in 3 sets