On a day when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal moved within one win of setting up a first ever showdown between the two at the Flushing Meadows, the only grand slam where they have still to face off against one another, the 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina and the 19 year old Russian Alexander Rublev grabbed the spotlight as they completed the quarter final line up at the U.S. Open.
First player on Day 8 to win was Rublev, who had beaten the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, champion in Cincinnati in the second round. He continued his superb form with a 7-5,7-6(5),6-3 win over the ninth seeded David Goffin of Belgium in two hours and five minutes on Louis Armstrong stadium.
The Muscovite has only dropped one set in four matches so far at the Open and will now play the 2010 and 2013 champion Rafael Nadal of Spain in the last eight. The Spaniard made light work of the unpredictable Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine with a surprisingly easy 6-2,6-4,6-1 win in only one hour and fort one minutes on Arthur Ashe stadium in the second match of the day.
Nadal only faced two break points in the match and saved both. He converted on six out of the thirteen chances and took advantage of 39 unforced errors from the Ukrainian, nicknamed “The Dog” due to his unorthodox style of play.
The other quarter final on Wednesday will be a repeat of the 2009 final between the third seeded Roger Federer and 24th seeded Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro after both advanced in contrasting fashion in the evening. Del Potro, playing on the Grandstand court, looked to be in danger of being blown off the court by the sixth seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem as dropped the first two sets easily winning only three games in the process. The six foot six inch tall Del Potro, called as the Tower of Tandil turned things around as he claimed the third set dropping only one game.
The Austrian seemed to have regained charge when he broke serve in the sixth game of the fourth set but was broken in the ninth game at love while serving for the match. He had two match points in the twelveth game but Del Potro seved two consecutive aces before easily claiming the tie-break 7-1. In the decider Thiem rallied from 0-40 down in the sixth game but on Del Potro’s second match point in the tenth game double faulted to end the three hour thirty minute match.
The five time champion Federer who was taken to five sets in both of his first two matches at the Open, played near perfect tennis against the German veteran Phillip Kohlschreiber as he won 6-4,6-2,7-5 in only one hour and forty nine minutes in the night session on Arthur Ashe stadium.
He hit 11 aces and had 39 winners, never faced break point on serve and converted on four out of the seven break point chances. Federer next plays Del Potro who had stopped the run of 41 consecutive match win at the Open when he beat the Swiss, champion from 200-2008 after being within two points of defeat in a five set win. That was Del Potro’s only triumph at a major in a career ravaged by injuries to his wrist.
The following quarter final matches to be played on Tuesday with my pick mentioned first in the men’s section of the draw:-
Pablo Carreno Busta (12) (34-18) v. Diego Schwartzman (29) (28-21); first meeting.
Sam Querrey (17) (34-16) v. Kevin Anderson (28) (27-15); Querrey leads 8-6.
It was a good day for the American ladies as Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe advanced to the last eight. However; in the opening match of the day on Arthur Ashe stadium, the top seeded Karolina Pliskova dropped only game in dispatching the American Jennifer Brady 6-1,6-0 in a mere 46 minutes.
The world No1 next faces the 20th seeded Vandeweghe who advanced with a 6-4,7-6(2) win over Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic. The 32 year old Kaia Kanepi of Estonia who turned pro in 2000, used her vast experience to beat the 20 year old Russian Kasatkina 6-4,6-4.
Madison Keys, who finished her third round match at 1:46AM on Sunday early morning as she beat the Russian Elina Vesnina, was once again locked in a fascinating contest against the fourth seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina as she won 7-6(2),1-6,6-4 in the last match of the evening session on Labor Day on Arthur Ashe stadium. The match lasted two hours and Keys won only one point more than her opponent; while the 22 year old American won 98 points, the 22 year old Ukrainian won 97 points in the match. Keys next plays Kanepi in the last eight on Wednesday.
The following are the quarter final matches to be played on Tuesday with my pick mentioned first:-
Petra Kvitova (13) v. Venus Williams (9); Kvitova leads 4-1
Anastasija Sevastova (16) v. Sloane Stephens (-); first meeting.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]