A day after nearly every match on the court went to script, Day 9 provides some of the most intriguing matchups of the 2014 U.S. Open.
While No. 5 Milos Raonic was the lone top-seeded casualty Monday, there will be many tight matches in Flushing Meadows the following day. Upstarts in Belinda Bencic and Shuai Peng will face off along with Grigor Dimitrov and Gael Monfils.
In the night slate, Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki return to Arthur Ashe Stadium against Roberto Bautista Agut and Sara Errani, respectively. With that type of star power on the court, excitement will be teeming Tuesday.
Before the premier matches get started, here's a look at the schedule and predictions for Day 9 of the U.S. Open.
|Arthur Ashe Stadium - 11 a.m. ET||Predictions|
|Belinda Bencic vs. Shuai Peng||Bencic|
|No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov vs. No. 20 Gael Monfils||Dimitrov|
|Louis Armstrong Stadium - 12 p.m. ET||Predictions|
|No. 14 Marin Cilic vs. No. 26 Gilles Simon||Simon|
|No. 6 Tomas Berdych vs. Dominic Thiem||Berdych|
|Arthur Ashe Stadium - 7 p.m. ET||Predictions|
|No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut vs. No. 2 Roger Federer||Federer|
|No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki vs. No. 13 Sara Errani||Wozniacki|
Prediction: Federer Blisters Bautista Agut in Straight Sets
After a disappointing 2013 season that saw Federer not reach a single Grand Slam final, the 17-time Grand Slam winner has been resurgent recently.
Not only did Federer reach the final at Wimbledon, but he also won a hard court tournament in Cincinnati prior to the U.S. Open. The living legend has cruised thus far, crushing every opponent he has faced en route to the fourth round.
While he has never faced Bautista Agut in his career, Federer was able to provide details on the Spaniard's game, per Howard Fendrich of The Associated Press:
He's quick on his feet. He doesn't miss much. He's consistent. He's got a pretty good first serve. He's overall a solid player. I would assume he's fit, too, because he comes from the Spanish tennis school. ... They just know how to train hard. They never get tired. They're always ready to go. They have a good mental approach, point-for-point mentality.
Bautista Agut isn't near the same caliber as Rafael Nadal, but he will still offer a challenge for Federer.
Despite missing out on the quarterfinals last season, expect Federer to rout his way into the next round Tuesday. With the Swiss player at the top of his game yet again, he appears to be heading toward another final in Flushing Meadows.
Prediction: Wozniacki Continues Comeback Trail
Since 2009, Wozniacki has failed to reach a Grand Slam final after coming up short at the U.S. Open that year. Nearly returning to the same stage this season, Wozniacki needs just two more wins to reach the final.
For those who didn't believe this run was for real, Wozniacki had a defining moment against Maria Sharapova. BBC Sport also notes the crowd was in her corner during the tremendous upset:
The win over Sharapova has left the women's field with just two top-eight seeds. As Douglas Robson of USA Today points out, there are limited challengers remaining after Wozniacki's upset of Sharapova:
Caroline Wozniacki's 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 defeat of reigning French Open champion Maria Sharapova in the fourth round Sunday guarantees four different Grand Slam titleholders when the tournament concludes.
It also left a decimated women's field.
In order to continue her run, Wozniacki will have to knock off Errani. While she hasn't faced Errani since 2010, Wozniacki holds a 2-1 record over the experienced player and the most recent hard-court win.
Following a huge victory over Sharapova, Wozniacki will need an equally impressive effort against Errani. But with both looking to make a statement, it will be Woz inching closer toward another Grand Slam final.
Prediction: Dimitrov Reaches Third Quarterfinal of 2014 Season
Which surprising player will make the longer run?
During his breakout season, Dimitrov has yet to reach a final. But with a quarters and semifinals appearance in 2014, a third quarterfinal will be in the works after Tuesday's match.
Though he experienced a slight scare against David Goffin with a 0-6 set to start the match, he routed the opponent the rest of the way. He can't afford that mishap against Monfils.
The No. 20 player in the tournament has been impressive throughout and has defeated Dimitrov on the U.S. Open stage. Monfils might have lost against Dimitrov earlier this season due to retirement in the first set, but he defeated the young player in the 2011 U.S. Open.
Dimitrov is a different player now, but he still has a tough test in Monfils. The French player hasn't dropped a set thus far but will not be enough to down the strong Dimitrov ahead of the quarterfinals.
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