Top seed and the 2011 champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia dropped a set for the first time in four matches at the U.S. Open 2015, while the defending champion Marin Cilic of Croatia extended his winning streak at the Open to ten matches as he fired 23 aces en route to a four set win on Day 7 at the Flushing Meadows in New York. Feliciano Lopez ensured that there will be at least one Spanish representative in the last eight as he removed the conqueror of fellow countryman Rafael Nadal by beating the Italian Fabio Fognini in straight sets. Meanwhile Jo Wilfred Tsonga reached his 12th career grand slam quarter-final as he ended the giant killing run of compatriot Benoit Paire in straight sets in the 4th round of 16 match in the final grand slam of the year.
Novak Djokovic played the first match of the evening session and was made to work hard by the spirited Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in a match lasting 3 hours and 3 minutes, before prevailing 6-3,4-6,6-4,6-3 in a grueling baseline slug fest. Djokovic hit 42 winners while the 23rd ranked Bautista Agut struck 34 winners.
It was the first time since 2010 that the World number One has dropped a set in the first four matches at the Open. He next faces another Spaniard Feliciano Lopez who had earlier beaten Milos Raonic in the round of 32, took advantage of a fatigued opponent who needed more than four hours on Friday to upset the 2010 and 2013 champion Rafael Nadal. Lopez won 6-3,7-6(5),6-1.
The 2014 champion Marin Cilic also dropped the second set to Chardy but looked in improved form as he won 6-3,2-6,7-6(1),6-1. He next faces Tsonga against whom he has a 4-1 record. In an all French encounter Tsonga had way too many weapons for the unseeded Paire who had saved two match points in the first round upset of the 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan. Tsonga triumphed 6-4,6-3,6-4.
Here is a list of matches to be played on Day 8 in the men’s singles with my pick mentioned first :-
Andy Murray (3) v. Kevin Anderson (15)
Stanislas Wawrinka (5) v. Donald Young
Tomas Berdych (6) v. Richard Gasquet (12)
Roger Federer (2) v. John Isner (13)
The top seed in the women’s draw, Serena Williams stayed on course to complete a calendar slam as she produced the best form of the tournament against the promising Madison Keys as she won 6-3,6-3. That set up an intriguing clash against her elder sibling Venus Williams who had a 6-2,6-1 win over the Estonian Anett Kontaveit.
There was big disappointment for Canada’s Eugene Bouchard who after withdrawing from both the women’s doubles and mixed doubles events, did not take to the court after suffering from concussion due to an accidental fall, giving the Italian Roberta Vinci a walkover. Vinci next faces the Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic who beat the Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-6(2),4-6,6-1 in the final match if the Evening on Arthur Ashe stadium.
In the bottom half of the women’s draw the 2010 & 2014 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova takes on the qualifier from Brittain Johanna Konta, while the 2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur faces the Italian Flavia Pennetta. Former World number one Victoria Azarenka takes on the American Varvara Lepchenko. The line-up is completed by the second seeded Simona Halep who plays the German Sabine Lisicki.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]