Thursday, 4 September 2014

Debut Semi Finalists join old hands

2014 has been more of the same for Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic as the respective number one seeds have claimed semi final spots in the US Open for the fourth straight year (Serena) and eighth straight (Novak).  Serena has actually made the semis for the last six years she has played at Flushing Meadows, having been unavailable in 2010.  

Novak has converted those semis into five finals, winning in 2011, while Serena has made the final for the past three years winning the last two.

So much for the reliable top seeds.  The support acts amongst the top ten have taken a fearful battering this past week or so, especially the women.  We lost seeds 2 through 9 before the quarter finals, and two players will feature in their first semi finals at Grand Slam level.  

Ekaterina Makarova has continued a wonderful season, and the 17th seed is rewarded with a match against Serena Williams after dispensing with the runner up from the last two years Vika Azarenka in one quarter final.

Peng Shuai will enjoy her battle with 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki in the other semi final after the unseeded Chinese player successfully accounted for surprise packet Belinda Bencic in another quarter final.

Sara Errani will hopefully be remembered for her four quality victories at this years event and not her inglorious exit, thrashed by Wozniacki who seems set to meet Williams in the final - a repeat of their recent clashes in Montreal and Cincinnati.

Not to be outdone, the men's draw has seen Kei Nishikori sneak by without too much fanfare until his victories over 5th seed Milos Raonic in the fourth round, and in another tough five setter over 3rd seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarters.

On the other side, the exciting 20th seed Gael Monfils has put together one of his best majors, winning a quarter final spot without dropping a set, and taking out countryman and 12th seed Gasquet in the third round before dumping Wimbledon semi finalist and seventh seed Dimitrov in the fourth round.

Normally, a win against his next opponent Roger Federer would be deemed highly unlikely but the chances are reasonable this time, and the match should be one of the best to watch in the tournament thus far.

The remaining quarter final features sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who has gained form and confidence with each match.  He will try and prevent Marin Cilic, the 14th seed, from gaining his second semi final appearance at a Grand Slam tournament.

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