For tennis fans hoping to see the trend of massive upsets continue at the 2014 U.S. Open, Monday did not provide similar results in the early matches. But with two exciting showdowns scheduled for the night slate, there is still a chance for underdogs to rise.
Day 8 of the final Grand Slam of the year saw No. 1 seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams rout their opponents in straight sets. Both players continue their runs with difficult matches awaiting them in the next round.
As for the players that will face them, No. 11 Flavia Pennetta and No. 8 Andy Murray move forward. Pennetta made quick work of Casey Dellacqua while Murray pulled out an impressive match over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Before the night slate gets underway, here's a look at the early scores, highlights and results form Wednesday.
|No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber||6-1, 7-5, 6-4|
|No. 8 Andy Murray def. No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga||7-5, 7-5, 6-4|
|No. 1 Serena Williams def. Kaia Kanepi||6-3, 6-3|
|No. 11 Flavia Pennetta def. No. 29 Casey Dellacqua||7-5, 6-2|
Serena Williams Breezes into Quarterfinals
On the heels of a disappointing finish at Wimbledon, Williams has been impressive in Flushing Meadows.
The five-time U.S. Open champion hasn't dropped a set this week and had her serve broken just once against Kaia Kanepi. That marked the first time through four rounds that Williams has been broken.
U.S. Open provides a glimpse at one of the best winners for Williams on the afternoon:
Despite coming into 2014 as the No. 1 player and retaining that title throughout the year, Williams has been far from dominant. On the Grand Slam stage, Williams has bowed out before the quarterfinals in every tournament.
Finally breaking through to the quarters, Williams was joyous as she left the court. Sports Illustrated Tennis shared comments from the triumphant Williams:
“I finally made a quarterfinal!” yells Serena Williams. Beats Kaia Kanepi 63 63 to make her first Slam QF of the season. Plays Pennetta.— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) September 1, 2014
Will Williams finally win her first major this season?
As surprising as that sounds, it just goes to show how poorly the season has gone for Williams. But with just three rounds remaining, winning her third consecutive U.S. Open title would erase any doubt surrounding her.
Williams now advances to take on Pennetta, who had a similarly impressive win on Monday. The two players have faced off six times with Williams winning five and Pennetta's lone victory coming on a walkthrough.
With her recent 6-2, 6-2 win in Cincinnati, it appears Pennetta won't provide much of a challenge for the American. Given her current run and the confidence she's playing with, this appears to be Williams' major to lose.
Djoker Continues Run Toward Second U.S. Open Title
Much like Williams, Djokovic came into the final Grand Slam with a target on his back. Unlike Williams, he already has a major win for his efforts this year.
Looking for another title to add to his tremendous 2014 season, Djokovic blistered Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday to reach the quarters. He did so in resounding fashion, controlling the court and breaking his opponent's serve four times.
Craig O'Shannessy of Brain Game Tennis posted video of Djokovic's play:
Though he has just one win to show for it, Djokovic has reached the U.S. Open final in each of the last four years. Since 2007, he has never failed to make it to at least the semifinals, something he will look to do against Murray.
Djokovic has been dominant so far and has yet to drop a set heading into the quarterfinals. Mohandas Menon of Wisden India notes the last player to accomplish the feat during an entire Grand Slam:
Rafael Nadal the last player to win a GS without dropping a set: the French Open in 2010. Novak Djokovic on his way to do so in #USOpen2014— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) September 1, 2014
While it's odd that the matchup between Murray and Djokovic is coming in the quarterfinals, it's fitting for the struggling Briton. Murray has scuffled this year and will have to overcome Djokovic to simply make the semifinals.
With several upsets already in the books, Djokovic could be the next to fall in the quarters. But if his recent record holds up in the U.S. Open, he could potentially end up meeting Roger Federer in the final.
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