US Open Tennis 2012 Scores: Latest Recap and Highlights for Top Stars
The 2012 US Open is now about to enter the home stretch.
The women's quarterfinal matchups are all set and the men's quarterfinals are halfway there.
The Labor Day weekend saw everything from a player withdrawing under somewhat odd circumstances to some favorites advancing in truly dominating fashion, while other favorites were bitten hard by the upset bug.
While a huge match still has to be decided on the men's side between Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Roddick, whose career will end if or when he loses (USA Today), there was plenty of action to be had involving the top stars in both the men's and women's side of the bracket.
Let's recap where things currently stand.
No. 1 Roger Federer Wins by Walkover Against No. 23 Mardy Fish
While most expected No. 1 seed Roger Federer to beat Mardy Fish and advance to his 34th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal, no one expected it to be quite so easy.
Fish pulled out of his fourth round match against Federer citing medical reasons and on doctor's advice.
As ESPN reported, Fish pulled out of his match with Federer due to health-related concerns, although specific details had not yet emerged (ESPN).
Back at the end of March, Fish experienced issues with an accelerated heartbeat (ESPN). Doctors have apparently been treating him since May. It is unclear whether this is a recurrent problem or a separate and distinct health issue.
But the ESPN article did not leave anyone who read it feeling particularly upbeat, including Federer:
"I am really sorry for Mardy. I just want to wish him a speedy recovery," Federer said in a statement issued by the tournament. "We all want to see him back on tour soon." (ESPN)
I think all tennis fans echo Federer's sentiments in wishing Mardy Fish a speedy recovery and we all hope to see him back soon.
No. 6 Tomas Berdych Beats No. 11 Nicolas Almagro in Straight Sets
The No. 6 seed, Tomas Berdych, needed roughly two hours to advance to the quarterfinals after he eliminated No. 11 seed Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1 (Associated Press via Yahoo! Sports).
Many will recall the incident between these two at the 2012 Australian Open, where Berdych refused to shake Almagro's hand after Almagro had powered a shot that struck Berdych in the arm earlier in the match.
Their rematch at the US Open had no such drama. Berdych won 90 percent of the points on his first serve, had 39 winners and only committed 16 unforced errors as he won impressively.
Berdych will now take on top seed Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.
While Federer has usually held the upper hand in his matches against Berdych, Berdych did win the last time they met in a Grand Slam event, as he upset Federer at the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2010.
Does Berdych have what it takes to repeat his 2010 Wimbledon success?
No. 3 Andy Murray Cruises to Straight Set Victory
Some felt that the No. 3 seed Andy Murray might have some problems with the No. 15 seed Milos Raonic.
Not even close.
Murray continued to impress as he defeated Raonic in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 (ESPN).
Murray completely neutralized the big serve of Raonic as he actually won 39 percent of his receiving points and broke Raonic four times out of his 13 attempts.
By contrast, Murray never even faced a break point.
Add to that the fact that Murray committed only 12 unforced errors and the relative ease of Murray's victory makes sense.
Murray will now tangle with 12th seeded Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals after Cilic defeated unseeded Martin Klizan in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4, 6-0.
Perhaps not so ironically, Murray's only career loss to Cilic took place at the 2009 US Open.
Their quarterfinal match this time out should be a very interesting one.
No. 1 Victoria Azarenka Rolls to the Quarterfinals
In the women's draw, No. 1 seed, Victoria Azarenka did not get the benefit of her opponent withdrawing from their fourth round match.
In the end, she barely had to work much harder than Roger Federer did to advance to the quarterfinals.
Azarenka bludgeoned her fourth round opponent, Anna Tatishvili 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals (ESPN).
In reality, the match was an odd one and one that left questions for the top seeded female player heading forward.
Azarenka won this match more in spite of her service game as opposed to because of it. She won 63 percent of her first serve points, which is a decent number, but one that will likely have to improve in the next few rounds if Azarenka hopes to prevail.
Where she excelled, however, was when she was not serving, as she broke Tatishvili 70 percent of the time she had the chance.
Azarenka also dominated at the net and seemed able to control the tempo of the match at will.
On the down side though, she did commit 24 unforced errors, the same as her opponent.
Azarenka has looked very strong thus far as she has only lost a total of 10 games through the first four rounds. She is far from perfect, but if her game improves just a tad and if she cuts down on the mistakes, she will be very tough to topple.
She will take on No. 7 seed Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals and that figures to be a difficult challenge.
The way Azarenka is playing so far though, the outcome may just be a foregone conclusion.
No. 2 Seed Agnieszka Radwanska Gets Stunned
In sharp contrast to the easy time that Victoria Azarenka enjoyed, the No. 2 seed, Agnieszka Radwanska suffered a stunning setback at the hands of 20th seeded Roberta Vinci.
Radwanska had dropped a set earlier in the tournament during her second round match with Carla Suarez Navarro, so there was some concern that she might not be able to go the distance in this year's event.
Those fears were realized, thanks to a rather shocking 6-1, 6-4 victory by Vinci (ESPN).
What was the cause of Radwanska's undoing? Mainly her serve. When she would get her first serve in, it was only moderately successful, as she won only 55 percent of her first service points. She faced a break point 13 times and Vinci was able to capitalize on five of those occasions.
She did not play well at the net and only won 32 percent of her points receiving Vinci's first serve.
So the No. 2 overall seed has been eliminated and the No. 20 seed has moved on to tangle with 10th seeded Sara Errani. The two women are best friends off the court and doubles partners on it.
With a berth to the US Open semifinals on the line, that friendship shall be tested.
No. 3 Maria Sharapova Struggles with No. 19 Nadia Petrova
Up until the Round of 16, third seeded Maria Sharapova looked like she was on cruise control. She had not been tested or really threatened at all, as she had lost all of seven games through the first three rounds.
That all changed in her fourth round match against 20th seeded Nadia Petrova. In an up and down match, Sharapova prevailed in three hard fought sets, including a fortuitous rain delay, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 (Huffington Post).
Both women were very effective at breaking the other, with Sharpova converting on six of eight break point opportunities and Petrova converting on four of six such opportunities.
Sharapova was considerably effective at winning medium length rallies and she was effective at winning points on her second serve, prevailing 54 percent of the time in that situation.
The match seemed to turn in the third set when Petrova broke Sharapova at love to take a 2-0 lead in the third set. That is when a rain delay of over an hour took place.
When the two women returned, Sharapova broke Petrova's serve then held her own serve at love to tie things up.
Sharapova would get the other break she would need later in the set and that would be all she wrote.
In the quarterfinals for the first time since she won the US Open in 2006, Sharapova will now take on 11th seeded Marion Bartoli, the runner up at Wimbledon in 2007.
No. 4 Serena Williams Pitches a Double Bagel
It is the tennis equivalent of a perfect game.
Serena Williams advanced to the quarterfinals of the US Open by shutting out Andrea Hlavackova, 6-0, 6-0 (ESPN).
To say that Williams dominated Hlavackova really does not do justice to what Serena did on this day.
In under an hour, Williams won 60 of 89 points played and faced just one break point the entire match, regardless of how brief it was.
Williams was absolutely dominant with her first serve, winning 76 percent of her points that way.
She also demonstrated pinpoint accuracy with 31 winners.
Hlavackova never had a chance and it is hard to imagine anyone who would have on this day.
In the quarterfinals, Williams will take on the 12th seed, Ana Ivanovic.
With the roll Serena has been on ever since Wimbledon though, any thoughts Ivanovic might have of victory may be nothing more than wishful thinking of the highest order.
No. 5 Petra Kvitova Falls to No. 11 Marion Bartoli
The women's draw has seen the most upheaval. Aside from the No. 2 seed going down, the No. 5 seed, Petra Kvitova, was also granted an early exit as she was upset by No. 11 seed Marion Bartoli, 1-6, 6-2, 6-0 (Associated Press via Yahoo!Sports).
If you just look at the score of that match, I believe it is safe to say there were a few momentum swings going on.
Things started great for Kvitova, as she stormed her way to a first set victory in just 31 minutes.
From there though, things unraveled quickly. Kvitova could not win any medium length rallies and she could not hold her serve. Bartoli converted on seven of the 12 break points she got and that alone was too much for Kvitova to overcome.
Committing 29 unforced errors did not help either.
The third set was one of pure domination as Bartoli would win 25 of the 32 points in the set.
Bartoli will now face Maria Sharapova. Sharapova would seem to have the advantage, but after her own difficult three set battle with Nadia Petrova, anything is possible.
No. 6 Angelique Kerber Is Upset by No. 10 Sara Errani
The No. 6 seed of the women's draw also fell, as Angelique Kerber was beaten fairly soundly by 10th seeded Sara Errani, 7-6 (5), 6-3 (Associated Press via Yahoo! Sports).
To take nothing away from Errani, but Kerber pretty well beat herself in this match by committing 38 unforced errors and four double faults, including one to end the first set.
Errani kept her unforced errors down as she only committed 21. She did quite well with Kerber's first serve, as she won 44 percent of her points when receiving. She played very well at the net and took advantage of a few opportunities to break Kerber's serve, as she converted on four of 12 break opportunities.
Errani's upset win sets up an all Italy quarterfinal tilt against her best friend and doubles partner, Roberta Vinci. With those two knowing each other as well as they do, that should be a great chess match to watch.
One thing is for certain though—no matter who wins, an Italian will play in the semifinals of the 2012 US Open.