The 2014 U.S. Open has featured its fair share of surprises, but several top contenders have made it through to the quarterfinals and will be in action Wednesday in New York City.
Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are the No. 1 seeds in the men's and women's draws, respectively. Djoker will face perhaps his biggest challenge of the tournament in Andy Murray, while Serena will be a decided favorite against Flavia Pennetta.
Also, reigning Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka will meet Kei Nishikori, and two-time U.S. Open finalist Victoria Azarenka will look to stave off Ekaterina Makarova.
All of those quarterfinal encounters can be seen throughout the day and night on the ESPN family of networks. Here is a look at the full singles schedule for Day 10 at the U.S. Open, as well as some further analysis regarding the best matches on the slate.
Where: New York City
When: Wednesday, Sept. 3
Watch: ESPN, ESPN2
Live Stream: WatchESPN
U.S. Open TV Schedule
|Time (ET)||Player 1||Player 2||TV||Live Stream|
|12:30 p.m.||Victoria Azarenka||Ekaterina Makarova||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|3 p.m.||Stanislas Wawrinka||Kei Nishikori||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|7 p.m.||Serena Williams||Flavia Pennetta||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
|9 p.m.||Novak Djokovic||Andy Murray||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
Top Matches to Watch
Novak Djokovic vs. Andy Murray
In the marquee match of the night, former U.S. Open champion and current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will lock horns with another former U.S. Open champion in the form of Andy Murray. It can be argued that Djokovic and Murray are the two best hard-court players in tennis right now, so all eyes will be on them Wednesday.
Murray's form has been very much in question this year. Since winning the 2013 Wimbledon title, the Scot has struggled through injuries and inconsistent play. He doesn't have a single title in 2014, and he hasn't even reached a final for that matter.
Perhaps that is on the verge of changing in NYC, however. After losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the ATP Rogers Cup just a couple weeks ago, Murray got redemption in the U.S. Open fourth round by ousting the Frenchman in straight sets.
BBC's Russell Fuller is of the belief that Murray can give Djokovic a run for his money if he carries that form over to the quarters:
Djokovic will start a worthy favourite in his QF with Murray but may not enjoy the ride if Murray can play the same way on Wednesday— Russell Fuller (@russellcfuller) September 1, 2014
While this has been an incredibly trying year for Murray, he can change the perception of 2014 quite quickly. A win over Djokovic would perhaps make Murray the favorite to win this title save for possibly Roger Federer.
This is easily the biggest match of the year for Murray thus far, and he is embracing the difficulty of beating the world's top player, according to ATPWorldTour.com.
I think that's really why we play the game. That's what you put the work in for, so that when you come to these events and you do have to play against the best players that you're ready. And, as much as it's incredibly tough and challenging, the match, that's what you enjoy.
With that said, Djokovic is playing great in his own right, and he won't go quietly. This has the potential to be the best match of the tournament in either draw, and it isn't a stretch to suggest that the winner will ultimately go on to take the title as well.
Serena Williams vs. Flavia Pennetta
With the likes of Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and other top women's players out of the fold in New York, there is no argument against the fact that Serena Williams is the odds-on favorite to win the championship. If the 32-year-old American is able to go the distance, it will mark her third consecutive U.S. Open title and sixth overall. Perhaps most importantly, though, it would be her 18th Grand Slam triumph.
Williams will take on Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta Wednesday night in a match that could be trickier than most expect. The 32-year-old Pennetta is a hard-court specialist, having reached the U.S. Open semis last year, and she has dropped just one set in this tournament thus far.
The biggest factor working against Serena, however, may be wear and tear. Williams played several tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open, and that could be starting to catch up with her. According to Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times, Serena had to have her foot looked at during her doubles match with sister Venus Williams on Tuesday:
A stone-faced Serena Williams has trainer out in doubles, attending to her right foot. Not good. #usopen— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 2, 2014
After the match, Serena claimed that her foot was not a concern, per David Satriano of the New York Post.
"There's nothing to worry about. I was just getting it retaped," she said.
Serena may be telling the truth, but she could just as easily be trying to deflect attention away from a significant problem. Williams should be able to get past Pennetta even at less than 100 percent, but that may not be the case if she has to face Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki in subsequent rounds.
Williams has bowed out of Grand Slams against lesser players than Pennetta this year, though, which means she could very well be on upset alert in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Victoria Azarenka vs. Ekaterina Makarova
Which Day 10 quarterfinal match are you most excited about?
Much like Murray, 2014 hasn't been a banner year for Victoria Azarenka. Her ranking has dropped significantly due to injuries, but she appears to be fully healthy now, and she is very much in the mix for the first U.S. Open title of her career.
Vika is no stranger to Grand Slam success, though, as she has twice won the Australian Open title. She has also reached the U.S. Open final in each of the past two years. Azarenka is a definite threat to make it three in a row, but she has a very tough road ahead of her.
A potential semifinal encounter with Serena awaits, but she can't afford to look that far ahead. Azarenka has an extremely tough quarterfinal match on her hands against Russia's Ekaterina Makarova. The 26-year-old lefty is in excellent form, and she is coming off an upset win over Eugenie Bouchard.
This marks the second year in a row that Makarova has reached the U.S. Open quarters, and she made it to the Wimbledon quarterfinals earlier this summer as well. She is as consistent as they come, and ESPN's Pam Shriver is impressed with her ability and willingness to compete each and every time out:
I have never seen Makarova play a bad match. She is an under rated hard worker. Back at LAX looking forward to watching @ESPNTennis on plane— Pam Shriver (@PHShriver) September 1, 2014
Azarenka is certainly the favorite due to her track record of success, but Makarova may be ready to usurp the Belarusian star in terms of hard-court supremacy. Makarova is still looking for a career-defining victory, and beating Azarenka on this stage could be just that.
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