Much of the Day 9 singles action at the 2014 U.S. Open is set to take place Tuesday evening, but there were multiple matches of note in the early going.
Here is a look at the final scores of those showdowns while a complete and updated bracket for the entire Grand Slam event can be found here.
|(7) Grigor Dimitrov||(20) Gael Monfils||Arthur Ashe Stadium||3rd Match||Monfils wins 7-5, 7-6, 7-5|
|(17) Roberto Bautista Agut||(2) Roger Federer||Arthur Ashe Stadium||4th Match||TBD|
|(14) Marin Cilic||(26) Gilles Simon||Louis Armstrong Stadium||2nd Match||In progress|
|(6) Tomas Berdych||Dominic Thiem||Louis Armstrong Stadium||3rd Match||TBD|
|Belinda Bencic||Peng Shuai||Arthur Ashe Stadium||2nd Match||Shuai wins 6-2, 6-1|
|(10) Caroline Wozniacki||(13) Sara Errani||Arthur Ashe Stadium||5th Match||TBD|
Night Matchup to Watch: No. 2 Roger Federer vs. No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut
No disrespect to Roberto Bautista Agut, who is talented enough to claim the No. 17 seed in this tournament and advance to the fourth round, but this match is all about Roger Federer.
In fact, from the moment that Rafael Nadal, who has been a thorn in Federer’s side throughout his career, announced that he was not participating in the U.S. Open, a Final showdown between Federer and Novak Djokovic seemed inevitable.
That means every match featuring one of those two players will be framed in the context of how he performs relative to expectations.
It also doesn’t hurt that Federer is a fan favorite, as the ATP World Tour and The Wall Street Journal pointed out:
ATP World Tour @ATPWorldTour
.@WSJ shows @rogerfederer spends most time w/ fans but which players are faster signers? http://t.co/zwraHP6U5o #ATP http://t.co/a9iE2XzHqt2014-9-2 19:58:16
Federer is especially popular in Flushing Meadows considering he has five U.S. Open titles under his belt. He has also been to the fourth round 14 straight times in the tournament and will try to reach his 39th quarterfinal in 42 majors with a victory Tuesday.
To make matters even more difficult for Bautista Agut, Federer has some momentum on his side after winning in Cincinnati, reaching the finals in Toronto and narrowly losing in an epic championship match to Djokovic at Wimbledon.
However, Bautista Agut will not be a pushover. This is the deepest he has ever advanced at any Grand Slam, and his speed and ability to cover plenty of ground on the court could cause problems for the 17-time Grand Slam champion.
He is also playing the best tennis of his life and won his only two ATP titles this year. What’s more, he reached a career-high ranking of No. 16 earlier this season and has dropped only two sets at the U.S. Open thus far.
Federer has never played against Bautista Agut, so he doesn’t exactly have a scouting report steeped in experience either.
Still, Federer seemed to know what he’s up against, according to The Associated Press, via NJ.com:
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 may represent a new challenge for Federer, but Federer's experience and championship pedigree should kick in down the stretch run of the match. As long as Federer continues to serve well (he has at least nine aces in every match thus far), he will control this match from the beginning.
Bautista Agut has a bright future ahead of him, but Federer has the brighter present.
Follow me on Twitter: