US Open Tennis 2013: Wild Quarterfinal Upsets Diminish Semifinals
As entertaining as the upsets in the 2013 U.S. Open quarterfinals were, they robbed the world of classic semifinal matches.
Give credit to No. 8 Richard Gasquet, No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka and Flavia Pennetta for coming out on top in the quarterfinals. They did what they had to do and outlasted their opponents.
The semifinals may still be intense, but they aren't what tennis fans were looking forward to. Instead of having the stars of the sport playing each other, the upsets have led to what appear to be mismatches.
Below are the matchups for the semifinals followed by what could have been.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka
No. 2 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 8 Richard Gasquet
These semifinals are still between highly ranked players, so it's not a total loss. However, the potential matchups that these could have been would have been great.
Novak Djokovic has dropped only one set in the 2013 U.S. Open, so he's fresh and playing at a high level. He's searching for his second Grand Slam title of the year and his second U.S. Open championship.
Wawrinka defeated No. 3 Andy Murray in straight set, with match stats courtesy of the official website of the U.S. Open. He was dominant and certainly deserves to be in the semifinals. He won 88 percent of the points on his first serve compared to Murray's 54 percent.
Djokovic is 12-2 in his career against Wawrinka, so this match looks like it won't be much of a challenge for the top player in the world.
In the other semifinal, it's an even bigger mismatch. Rafael Nadal, who has lost only one set in New York, is playing as well as he has in a couple of years. The biggest reason is he has turned the tables on his rival, Djokovic. He has won five of the last six meetings between the two players.
Gasquet went up two sets to none on David Ferrer before having to hold off a strong comeback. He squeaked out a five-set victory and advanced out of the quarterfinals to take on Nadal, who he is 0-10 against in his career. On top of that, Nadal is 20-0 on hard surfaces this year.
The world was hoping to see Nadal against Ferrer and Djokovic taking on Murray. Had Murray made it to the semifinals, it would've been a rematch of last year's U.S. Open finals, which Murray won. It would have been another classic battle between two of the sport's best players.
If Djokovic and Nadal cruise through this round like they have done all tournament, both would be fresh for the finals. It would set up a huge showdown, so that's one positive that can be drawn from these semifinals.
*All Men's Singles information is courtesy of ATPWorldTour.com
No. 2 Victoria Azarenka vs. Flavia Pennetta
In this draw, there was only one upset in the quarterfinals. Pennetta knocked off No. 10 Roberta Vinci to advance to the semifinals and set up a date with Victoria Azarenka.
Pennetta and Azarenka have split their two head-to-head meetings, and Pennetta won the last meeting, which came on a hard surface. Anything can happen in this matchup.
Azarenka had dropped two sets in five rounds, but Pennetta has yet to drop a single set. She has gone up against No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 21 Simona Halep and Vinci in consecutive rounds.
The tennis world is curious to see if Pennetta can continue her magical run into the finals. It may not be a great matchup, but there haven't been enough meetings to figure out who has the advantage.
Serena Williams is 8-1 against Li Na, and she has won seven consecutive meetings. The American is looking to repeat as U.S. Open champion, so it doesn't matter who she faces in the semifinals.
Pennetta is on a great run and should push Azarenka. Whoever wins that matchup will have a tough time against Williams in the finals.
*All Women's Singles information is courtesy of WTATennis.com
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