Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Wozniacki in US Open semis

Tennis fans who were looking for closely contested singles matches between some of the world's best singles players, should have steered clear of the USTA Billy Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York City on Day Nine of the US Open.

The first quarter final began with 7th seed and finalist from 2015, Roberta Vinci continually breaking the serve of number two seed Angie Kerber, only to have the same done to her in return.  Vinci, despite her inability to kick an opponent while down, ended up serving for set one.  Kerber predictably broke again, and the spirit of the Italian was damaged beyond repair.

In fact Vinci failed to win another game as Kerber struck 14 winners in the second set of her 7-5 6-0 win.  
Her semi final opposition will come in the form of Caroline Wozniacki, who performed rather well in the night match, surrendering just two games in her whitewash of Anastasija Sevastova.
Admittedly Sevastova injured her foot very early, but it shouldn't detract from yet another great exhibition from Caro, who won about 75% of points on her own serve and 60% while receiving.  14 winners and a mere 5 unforced errors were more reasons why Angie should be ready for a tight semi final.

After winning three five setters in a row to to reach his quarter final, Lucas Pouille could not find enough to contend adequately with his fellow French countryman and tenth seed Gael Monfils.  The match was not a typical Monfils exhibition of delightful shot making, but a more mature approach from the popular entertainer (don't get me wrong - not devoid of all colour) whose previous foray into the final four at this level was several years ago at Roland Garros.

Gael was never under pressure on serve, facing no break points the entire match, and hitting 34 clean winners in his 6-4 6-3 6-3 march into a semi final showdown against Novak Djokovic.

The Djoker is definitely the black cat or broken mirror of this year's US Open.  Of his five opponents, one was too injured to play him, another done after six games of their match, and sadly Jo-Wilfried Tsonga could only last two sets of the night time quarter final.

Up until the French knee gave out, Tsonga had been ripped apart on the scoreboard, not so much by Djokovic winners, but by the errors of Jo-Wilfried.  For almost all of the two sets played, Tsonga failed to be himself, take chances and attack the top seed - instead he attempted to out rally Djokovic, a task which is impossible to achieve beyond once in a blue moon, unless you have the same repertoire of tricks and overall racquet mastery as the star Serb.

Time after time long exchanges were concluded with a French shot going wide or net bound.  Novak was patient, and occasionally produced something special to remind those with short memories that he, not Murray, is still the supreme exponent of this craft.  

The Day 10 quarter finals have the potential for closer tennis, and the big hitting match up of Pliskova v Konjuh is especially enthralling due to neither player having been to this point in a major before.
Del Potro will be followed keenly as his comeback to top level tennis gathers greater momentum by the day.  Stan Wawrinka, his opponent, in Grand Slam events can deliver at both ends of the spectrum and luckily this fortnight he is striking the ball with a confidence enough to worry anyone.
SW and Handy Andy face their potentially toughest tests yet in Halep and Nishikori, but if at anywhere near their best should progress.

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