2018 US Open: Review Of The Pre-Quarterfinals

Five time champion Roger Federer has suffered a stunning loss at the hands of 55th ranked John Millman of Australia as he went down 6-3,5-7,6-7(7),6-7(3) in the evening session on Arthur Ashe stadium on Monday night. Federer, winner in 2004-2008 was in command of the match which if he had won would have set up a showdown with three time champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the quarter finals. In the afternoon session, the sixth seeded Djokovic was too strong for Joao Sousa of Portugal, winning 6-3,6-4,6-3.

Federer, seeded second, led 6-3,5-4, and was up 40-15 on serve for a two set lead, but then lost his way as the 29 year old saved both the set points and reeled off the last three games to level the tie at one set apiece. He also wasted one set in the third set tie-break and blew a 4-2 lead in the fourth set. Millman won on his third match point, as he claimed the fourth set in a tie-break 7-3 in which he reeled off six consecutive points after trailing 0-1. Federer had 77 unforced errors. Millman who will play Djokovic next on Wednesday, is assured of entering Top 40 in the rankings after claiming his maiden career Top 10 victory.

The other quarter final on Wednesday will be a repeat of the 2014 final between the seventh seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, and the 21st seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan. Cilic had beaten Nishikori in the finals in straight sets to claim his only grand slam title till date. While Nishikori ended the run of the veteran German Phillip Kohlschreiber, 6-3,6-2,7-5; Cilic overcame early break of serve to oust the 10th seeded David Goffin 7-6(6),6-2,6-4.

On Labor Day weekend Sunday, the defending champion Rafael Nadal of Spain who had taken four hours and twenty three minutes to get past the Russian Karen Khachanov in four sets, was made to earn his 6-3,6-3,6-7(6),6-4 win over the Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili. The ninth seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria took advantage of the fatigued Kevin Anderson of South Africa, last year’s beaten finalist, as the French Open runner up scored an easy 7-5,6-2,7-6(2) win. That prevents a repeat of last year’s final when Anderson lost to Nadal, and sets up a repeat of this year’s final at Roland Garros where Nadal went on to clinch his record extending 11th French Open crown, beating Thiem in the final.

The other quarter final to be played on Tuesday will have local interest as the only remaining American in the draw, 11th seeded John Isner takes on the third seed and 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina. Del Potro is still to drop a set in four matches after a 6-4,6-3,6-1 demolition of the 20th seeded Borna Coric of Croatia. Isner, the highest ranked American won a battle of giant servers against the 25th seeded Milos Raonic of Canada, 3-6,6-3,6-4,3-6,6-2.

Following is the quarter final line up with my pick mentioned first:-

Rafael Nadal (3) v. Dominic Thiem (9); Nadal leads 7-3
Juan Martin Del Potro (3) v. John Isner (11); Del Potro leads 7-4
Marin Cilic (7) v. Kei Nishikori (21); Nishikori leads 8-6
Novak Djokovic (6) v. John Millman (-) ; Djokovic leads 1-0

In the ladies section of the draw which has been ravaged by upsets, only the defending champion Sloane Stephens of the U.S.A., and eighth seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic have taken their appointed places in the last eight. Stephens defeated the fifteenth seeded Elise Merterns of Belgium 6-3,6-3, while eighth seeded Pliskova ousted the eighteenth seeded Ashley Barty of Australia 6-4,6-4. Last year’s finalist Madison Keys of the U.S.A., seeded fourteenth beat Dominica Cibulkova of the Czech Republic, seeded 29th, 6-1,6-3. Maria Sharapova, former champion in 2006, lost to the Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6,3-6, on Arthur Ashe stadium. The Spaniard celebrated her birthday in style as she never allowed Sharapova to dictate terms.

The Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko beat Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-7(3),7-5,6-2. Twentieth seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan beat Arnya Sabalenka of Belarus 6-3,2-6,6-4. Six time former champion Serena Williams needed three sets to beat the giant killer Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-0,4-6,6-3. Kanepi had upset top seeded Simona Halep on Day 1 of the tournament. Anastasia Sevatsova of Latvia upset seventh seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-3,1-6,6-0.

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