It was an eventful first week of the 2016 US Open. British interest has been high, what with Konta collapsing, Edmund destroying Isner, Evans coming so close to a huge win vs Wawrinka. We’ve seen Challenger tour journeymen prosper in Chiudinelli, Lorenzi and Marchenko producing career best slam results. Young Americans Jared Donaldson and Ryan Harrison got the locals at Flushing Meadows cheering as they dispatched of ailing big names Goffin and Raonic.
We now move on to the business end of the tournament, with eight players remaining in both the men’s and women’s tournaments. It’s quarter-finals time.
In the men’s tournament, Murray produced a scintillating level in trouncing Dimitrov last night (even if Dimitrov himself didn’t see it that way) – “I didn’t feel he played unbelievable tennis, I just did a lot of mistakes”… Murray broke the Bulgarian’s serve time and time again and made Dimitrov work for every point he won throughout the match. Don’t be so ungracious in defeat Grigor!
One of the highlights of this year’s tournament has to be the comeback story of Juan Martin Del Potro. Due to his lack of ranking points, Delpo is the lowest ranked player to reach the US Open QF since Jimmy Connors in 1991! Yes, he just made the Olympic final but it’s on the biggest stages of all, the Grand Slams, where he will want to make waves once more. Serious question marks loomed following multiple surgeries as to whether he would ever get back to his forehand-slapping best, but the big Argentine is looking good and should be feeling fresh after Thiem retired early in the 2nd set to give him a quick victory. He’ll fancy himself against Wawrinka who hasn’t quite looked at his best in the early rounds. It promises to be a cracker and is our pick of the men’s QF’s.
In reaching the last eight, Lucas Pouille has massively outperformed any expectations of him and would hardly believe such an achievement possible when two sets down to Chiudinelli with the Swiss player serving for the match in round 2. The young Frenchman managed to squirm his way out of that one and then managed a career highlight win in defeating Rafa Nadal in a final set breaker in round 4. Pouille will meet Monfils in the QF, guaranteeing a Frenchman in the Semi’s.
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The other two QF’s see Tsonga with the unenviable but less impossible than in recent times task of facing defending champ Novak Djokovic and Murray taking on Nishikori. Both Tsonga and Nishikori are expected to be a test for the no.1 and no.2 but anything more than that would be a big shock.
Now over to the women’s draw, arguably the two most impressive players over the first week have been Serena Williams and Simona Halep. The two meet each other next up in the QF’s with many feeling Halep has a real chance to take the no.1 seed out. However, in saying that, Serena is rightly the clear favourite and is now odds on to lift the trophy when all is said and done.
At each and every Grand Slam there seems to always be at least one completely discarded, unfancied player from the draw who goes on a deep run. This year there have been two big surprise stories in Sevastova, who sent Muguruza packing in round 2, and Ana Konjuh who overpowered Aga Radwanska last night in an impressive, dominating 4th round display. The QF stage might not be the end of their runs either with Wozniacki and Pliskova both certainly beatable. For 18 year-old Konjuh a lot will depend on if she can manage to reproduce the big-hitting level which smashed Radwanska off the court.
The remaining QF features 2015 finalist Vinci, and Australian Open champion Kerber. The latter is clear favourite but we know the wiley Vinci’s tricky play can cause any player problems. We also know how much the Italian likes it here in New York. Sure to be an intriguing contest.