US Open 2014: The Story So Far

Flushing Meadows, New York, has been sizzling under the late Summer Sun—while the men’s draw has been unfolding in stark contrast to the ladies singles draw. The latter has seen upsets from round 1, while the upsets in the men’s draw have been few and far between. We’re almost at the quarterfinal stage, the final 8, and except David Ferrer, the 8 best men are well on their way to make it there. As for the women, the US Open 2014 has thrown up some fascinating names, new faces and huge contenders.

 

Men’s Singles:

The early casualties:
32 year old David Ferrer lost to Giles Simon in the third round in extreme heat.
Upsets:
Gasquet lost to Monfils in the third round, which doesn’t qualify as an upset, but more was expected of the ‘promising’ Frenchman than the ‘mercurial’ Frenchman.
Murray defeated Tsonga in straight sets in the 4th round, definitely an upset, considering the form both players were in while coming into the Open.
Young US hope and Nadal beater in Wimbledon Nick Kyrgios was beaten by veteran Tommy Robredo in the third round.
Dominic Thiem pulled off a one-sided upset by defeating Spaniard Lopez in straight sets in the third round.
And the most exciting upset (of sorts) of them all was 10th seeded Kei Nishikori defeating 5th seeded Canadian hope Milos Raonic in a 5-set epic that tied the latest-ever finish for a US Open night match at 2.26 AM. The match lasted 4 hours and 20 minutes with Nishikori down 2 sets to 1, before winning the last two sets 7-5 and 6-4, reaching the quarterfinal to face Stan Wawrinka in less than 36 hours.

Disappointments:
Tomic retired after his first round match before facing Ferrer in the second round. The young Aussie is way too inconsistent, temperamental, unfit and injury-prone to reach the top.
Kavcic gave Wawrinka a walkover in the third round.

Matches to watch out for:
Quarterfinals: Novak Djokovic v/s Andy Murray.
Both proceeded through their draw without any problems. Murray looked rusty early but has gathered momentum and played his best tennis to defeat Tsonga in the 4th round. This will be an interesting match—and the winner could go on to face Federer in the final.
4th Round: Marin Cilic v/s Giles Simon
Cilic has been impressive in his dismantling of big-serving Anderson, while Simon pulled off the biggest scalp of his year by taking out Ferrer. Simon won’t be as fresh though after that sapping match.
4th Round: Grigor Dimitrov v/s Gael Monfils
This could be a battle of temperaments. Dimitrov’s big-match test, with Monfils in red-hot form, before he faces Federer in the quarterfinals. But Monfils hasn’t lost a set so far, which is unusual for a player of his temperament.
Prediction: Djokovic v/s Federer in the Final.

Ladies Singles Draw:
Sara Errani defeated Venus Williams in the third round, but this wasn’t an upset as big as comeback-queen Wozniacki defeating favourite Maria Sharapova in the 4th round in 3 sapping sets.
Caroline ‘Woz’ hasn’t been in the best of form ever since World no. 1 Golfer Rory Mcllroy entered her life, slipping from 1 to 11 herself, but she is back after having her heart broken by the golfer only months before a Fall Wedding (November). Instead, she will be running the New York Marathon in the same week, after perhaps going far in her first successful Slam-run this year. This is her first Quarterfinal of the year in Slams, fresh from her Istanbul triumph before the Open.

Young Serb and new hope Aleksandra Krunic defeated reigning Wimbledon champ Kvitova in the third round before losing to eternal favourite Azarenka in the 4th round—capping off a phenomenal run in her breakout Slam. Suddenly, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Janjovic have company.
Undoubtedly, the story of the Open so far has been that of giant-killing 17 year old Swiss player Belinda Bencic. The youngest since Martina Hingis to reach the last 8 of a Slam, she has disposed of German favourite Kerber and Serb favourite Jankovic in straight matches to reach the quarters. She now faces Peng in a battle to become the youngest to reach the last 4 at the US Open.
Ekaterina Makarova beating Canadian Wimbledon finalist Bouchard in the 4th round is another upset.

Matches to look out for:
Wozniacki v/s Errani, for two sweet shot-makers and popular personalities clashing against eachother.
Serena Williams v/s Flavia Pennetta. The World no. 1 is in her first quarterfinal of the year—disappointing by her high standards—and will look to finish the Slam year on a high. She is an overwhelming favourite with Sharapova out of her way, with only experienced Azarenka standing in her way. Don’t rule out a Swiss winning the Open though—male or female—with 33 year old Big Daddy Federer almost twice the age of 17 year old sensation Bencic. Wawrinka lurks in the draw too.

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