Tons of matches in such a short time have made the early parts of the 2014 U.S. Open fun to watch, but quantity has been replaced with quality as action enters Day 12.
The all-day marathons of matches are over, but now the select few who have withstood the opposition so far will go up against one another. The quarterfinals and semifinals have arrived, which means that only the best remain and players must up their levels even higher.
Novak Djokovic and the men's semifinalists will have the day off before battling on Saturday, but Serena Williams leads the charge of women's semifinalists who face off Friday to see who advances to Sunday's championship.
Here's a look at how to catch all of Friday's matches.
When: Friday, September 5, 2014
Time: 12:30 - 6 p.m. ET
Live Stream: U.S. Open Live
|Arthur Ashe Stadium, 12:30 p.m. ET||Draw|
|No. 1 Sania Mirza/Bruno Soares vs. Abigail Spears/Santiago Gonzalez||Mixed Doubles Final|
|Shuai Peng vs. No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki||Women's Singles Semifinal|
|No. 1 Serena Williams vs. No. 17 Ekaterina Makarova||Women's Singles Semifinal|
Note: Full list of Day 12 matches can be found at USOpen.org.
Notable Day 12 Matches
No. 1 Serena Williams vs. No. 17 Ekaterina Makarova
Top seed Serena Williams isn't facing as high of a seed as she might have expected in Friday's semifinal, but nobody should be discounting Ekaterina Makarova after watching her performance in Flushing Meadows these past 11 days.
The Russian 26-year-old came in as just the 17th overall seed, but she has outplayed that by a mile since stepping foot on the hard courts. She has failed to lose a set in singles and has lost just one set in doubles en route to the final there with partner Elena Vesnina.
In doing so, she convincingly defeated Eugenie Bouchard and Victoria Azarenka—arguably the two biggest threats on Williams' half of the draw. Naturally, she's confident heading into a match against the top-seeded American, per New York Post's David Satriano:
Well, she’s a great and tough player. But once I beat her already, so I have a great memory. I have a great feeling of that match. Definitely [have] to stay aggressive, because she’s so aggressive. And I need to be a little bit more aggressive than she is.
As expected, Williams hasn't had any trouble advancing this far in the tournament. Like her opponent, the American has failed to lose a set in singles since she began play on August 26.
Makarova has already exceeded expectations by advancing this far, and there's no doubt she will be happy regardless of the result Friday after making her first Grand Slam semifinal.
But if her recent play is any indication, Williams could be in for a fight to stay alive in the year's final Grand Slam.
Shuai Peng vs. No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki
Makarova might have more marquee victories, but Shuai Peng is the one taking the nickname of Cinderella in the women's draw. The unseeded Chinese standout has made the semifinal, and she'll look to continue her improbable run against No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki.
Peng's only top-10 victory thus far in Flushing Meadows came early, in a straight-set second-round win over Agnieszka Radwanska. Since then, she has continued winning in straight sets and gave up just three games in her quarterfinal romp of Belinda Bencic.
Who will advance to the women's final?
She wasn't the only one in this upcoming match who faced an improbable run, though. Wozniacki herself had to pull off the three-set upset of No. 5 Maria Sharapova in the round of 16, and she whooped Sara Errani in the quarters by giving up just one game in two sets.
Friday's match is especially intriguing just based off the recent form each player has shown. Wozniacki has been unstoppable and playing some of her best tennis since she was the world No. 1, but Peng is playing the best tennis of her life.
One thing is certain—the winner of the Williams-Makarova semifinal will have their hands full in the championship.