Things are getting tight at Flushing Meadows as the 2014 U.S. Open continues onto Thursday's matches, and the year's final Grand Slam is guaranteeing to end with a bang.
Household names on both the men's and women's side have been ousted. From women's No. 2 Li Na on the tournament's opening few days, to men's third seed Stan Wawrinka and No. 8 Andy Murray on Monday, it's getting harder and harder for top contenders to survive.
All of the action has only set the stage for the upcoming weekend, as finalists will emerge and everyone else will fall by the wayside in the coming days.
Day 11 Completed Scores
|Men's Singles: Quarterfinals||Score|
|No. 14 Marin Cilic def. No. 6 Tomas Berdych||6-2, 6-4, 7-6|
|Men's Doubles: Semifinals|
|No. 1 Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan def. Scott Lipsky/Rajeev Ram||6-4, 4-6, 6-3|
|No. 11 Marcel Granollers/Marc Lopez def. No. 4 Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo||6-4, 6-4|
|Women's Doubles: Semifinals|
|No. 4 Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina def. Kimiko Date-Krumm/Barbora Zahlavova Strycova||7-5, 6-3|
Note: Scores updated as of 3 p.m. ET on Sept. 4. Up-to-date scores can be found at USOpen.org.
Day 11 Evening Schedule
|Date||Time (ET)||Exhibition Doubles|
|Sept. 4||7 p.m.||James Blake/John McEnroe vs. Jim Courier/Mats Wilander|
|Date||Time (ET)||Men's Singles: Quarterfinals|
|Sept. 4||9 p.m.||No. 20 Gael Monfils vs. No. 2 Roger Federer|
Note: TV coverage begins on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET
Notable Day 11 Results
No. 1 Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan def. Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram
Wins don't come easily for the Bryan brothers late in Grand Slams, especially with the massive target on their backs as the unquestioned top seed in men's doubles.
They learned that lesson once again with a tough test from unseeded Americans Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram. But as is usually the case, the wins do come—even if they aren't necessarily easy. Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan advanced to the men's doubles final again on Thursday with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory.
The underdogs Lipsky and Ram made waves early on in Flushing Meadows by beating the men's doubles third seed and later beating the No. 12 seeds to advance to Thursday's semifinal. They showed why early on, testing the doubles legends with some strong games to open.
They never really went away, but the Bryan brothers eventually found their groove and withstood a second-set rally from their opponents to close it out easily in the third set.
ESPN Tennis captured the brothers' incredible careers:
A victory in the men's doubles final would make it 100 career titles for the duo, and their fifth U.S. Open title.
It has been a poor 2014 season for their standards, failing to win a doubles Grand Slam title in the calendar year after winning three of four the year prior. But it's looking more and more inevitable that they will be ending the year lifting the U.S. Open trophy.
No. 4 Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina def. Kimiko Date-Krumm and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova
Ekaterina Makarova was the story of the women's singles draw on Wednesday, defeating Victoria Azarenka in straight sets to advance to her first ever Grand Slam semifinal.
Likely of far less importance but still nearly as impressive, Makarova and her doubles partner Elena Vesnina made it one step further in the doubles draw. The fourth-seeded Russian duo topped unseeded Kimiko Date-Krumm and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, 7-5, 6-3.
Although not reflective in the score, it was an uphill battle for the victors on Thursday. Date-Krum and Zahlavova Strycova took a commanding lead of the first set with a 5-2 advantage, before the Russians battled back to win the opening set in 54 minutes.
With a stranglehold over the match's momentum at that point, they didn't relinquish it and cruised to win the second set.
“It’s just enjoying to go out there to have some fun,” Makarova told USOpen.org's Elena Scuro. “It’s a Grand Slam. Doesn’t matter—mixed, singles, doubles—it’s still finals of a Grand Slam.”
Makarova will be the first to admit she has her hands full in her own right. She faces top seed Serena Williams in the women's singles draw, and a victory there would be the biggest of her career.
But with the prospect of facing No. 3 Cara Black and Sania Mirza in the final should they win their semifinal, her and Vesnina can't lose focus on the doubles side of things.
Roger Federer has made a mockery of his opponents so far at Flushing Meadows just as he has all summer long, but it won't be easy to continue that through his quarterfinal match with Gael Monfils.
The 20th-seeded Frenchman is well respected for his combination of peak energy and power that makes him a handful for opponents to deal with. And in New York, the 28-year-old has been at his best—he's failed to drop a single set, despite facing two opponents seeded higher than him including No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov Tuesday.
Monfils is popular among tennis greats like Federer for his respectable style of play, which had the Swiss star complimenting his opponent.
“I think I can speak on behalf of so many players: We love watching him (Monfils) play,” Federer told reporters, per SNY.tv's Adam Zagoria. “It’s nice seeing him do well again. He’s going to raise in the rankings now, and maybe that’s exactly the steppingstones he needs to make it back in the top 10.”
Although Monfils is generating plenty of hype entering Thursday night's match, no affection has been displaced for Federer. He entered Flushing Meadows coming off a successful summer, most recently taking the Cincinnati Masters title.
Federer plays with poise and uses his methodical approach to frustrate opponents, but it might be easier said than done against Monfils, who is playing some of the best tennis out of anyone in New York at the moment. If Federer fails to match his opponent's energy early on, he could be in trouble.