Although the 2014 U.S. Open is reaching its latter stages, the tournament still has a few surprises up its sleeve.
Tuesday's play mostly went by the book, with most of the higher seeds advancing and doing so in straight sets. That's to be expected of any Grand Slam, as the cream rises to the top. Luckily, there was a nice upset sprinkled in just to add a little excitement.
|Men's Draw: Fourth Round|
|No. 20 Gael Monfils def. No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov||7-5, 7-6(6), 7-5|
|No. 2 Roger Federer def. No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut||6-4, 6-3, 6-2|
|No. 14 Marin Cilic def. No. 26 Gilles Simon||5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3|
|No. 6 Tomas Berdych def. Dominic Thiem||6-1, 6-2, 6-4|
|Women's Draw: Quarterfinals|
|Shuai Peng def. Belinda Bencic||6-2, 6-1|
|No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki def. No. 13 Sara Errani||6-0, 6-1|
Roger Federer Cruises Past Roberto Bautista Agut
Can the U.S. Open tournament committee go ahead and put Roger Federer in the final? It would save everybody a lot of time.
The 33-year-old Swiss beat Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets on Tuesday, advancing to the eighth U.S. Open quarterfinal of his career.
Federer has now won 71 matches in the tournament, which ties him with Pete Sampras for fourth in the Open era, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Roger Federer: 71st career match win at US Open (ties Pete Sampras for 4th most in Open Era, both players are 71-9)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 3, 2014
It would be inaccurate to say that Federer is playing the best tennis of his life, but he's not too far off. And he's using the serve and volley, which you'd think would be impossible for anybody in their 30s to pull off against talented opposition deep in a Grand Slam.
"I used to serve and volley some myself in the past when conditions were faster and my baseline game wasn't so good," said Federer, per ESPN.com's Greg Garber. "I'm happy I was able to come forward. Coming to net requires a lot of agility and explosiveness. I've got that back now."
Nothing from the U.S. Open so far leads you to believe that Federer will be felled any time before the final. It's not so much that he's simply winning matches. The way in which he's winning matches—quickly, efficiently, without much effort—is what's scariest.
Gael Monfils Turns Excitement Into Results
Gael Monfils has long been one of the most fun players on the ATP Tour, whether he's trying some circus shot for no discernible reason or imploding to a point where you can't look away. Controlled frenzy is the best way you can describe his game.
As Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star posited, tennis—nay, the world—is lacking in people like Monfils:
The world needs more Gael Monfils— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) September 2, 2014
Every once in a while, the stars align and the Frenchman goes deep in a Grand Slam. The 2014 U.S. Open is one such occasion. With a straight-sets victory over No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov, Monfils advanced to his fifth Grand Slam quarterfinal and second in Flushing.
Lynn Zinser of The New York Times wrote that Monfils did well when it came to finishing points off early:
Against Dimitrov, Monfils showed off his refurbished game, less reliant on long, grueling points and more on some quick-strike efficiency. He served well, with 14 aces, and lost his serve only once. He continued his trademark of running around many balls to get to his forehand, but his backhand was effective, too.
Monfils gets Federer in the quarters, which Zinser argued might not be as one-sided as one would expect on its face:
Should Federer advance, Monfils should carry a measure of confidence into the match because of his strong play at the Open so far. He has beaten Federer twice in their nine career matches, with both victories coming on hardcourts. Their only meetings at a Grand Slam have come at the French Open, and even though Monfils’s best surface has been clay, Federer won all three of those matches.
The 28-year-old knows that the task before him is one of the toughest in his career, via Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv:
'Right now he's the greatest tennis player we ever had.' Monfils on possibly playing Federer in QFs— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) September 2, 2014
The match will certainly be a nice clash of styles. No matter the result, it'll be an adventure from start to finish.
Caroline Wozniacki Steamrolls over Sara Errani
With one tournament, Caroline Wozniacki is undoing years of Grand Slam disappointment. After she made her third U.S. Open semifinal in as many years, the 24-year-old Dane made one quarterfinal appearance over the next three years as she entered Flushing.
Wozniacki followed up her three-set win over Maria Sharapova with a straight-set victory over Sara Errani in one of the more one-sided tournaments you'll see all year. Errani won 18 percent of her first-service points. The No. 13 seed in the U.S. Open won eight of her 34 service points. That's not good.
As tennis commentator David Law pointed out, Wozniacki is playing at a level rarely seen over the past few years:
Remember when we used to laugh at Caroline Wozniacki for going entire matches with 0 winners? She's just hit 26 to reach the US semifinals.— DavidLaw (@DavidLawTennis) September 3, 2014
She'll get Shuai Peng in the semifinal, which is a very winnable match. From there, she'd likely see Serena Williams in the final.
At the rate that Wozniacki is playing, you might favor her in a match with Williams.