US Open: 5 Things to Watch for on Day 10

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIISeptember 7, 2011

US Open: 5 Things to Watch for on Day 10

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    Day 10 at the 2011 US Open is about to begin, and this could easily be the most exciting day at the tournament.

    Rain washed away yesterday, meaning Wednesday will be jam-packed with two days worth of exciting second-week action. Every player remaining in each draw, doubles included, will be in action on Wednesday.

    Every player in the men's top five is faced with a significant challenge on Day 10, and the top-two seeds in the women's draw are both up against top-10 players.

    I've already previewed the matches originally scheduled for Day 10, so here's a look at five additional storylines to watch for on Wednesday.

1. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Gives It a Try

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    If you're reading this, you probably want to know what "it" is.

    In this instance, "it" refers to the near impossible task of derailing Serena Williams at the 2011 US Open.. The 13-time Grand Slam champion has been lethal against her last two opponents, both of which were top-20 players.

    Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has tied her best finish at a major by reaching the quarterfinals, which she did for the first time at this year's French Open. At last year's tournament at Roland Garros, she faced Serena for the only time in her career, losing 6-1, 1-6, 6-2.

    Pavlyuchenkova may have a fighting chance on clay, but she will be no match for the focused American veteran on Wednesday.

    My Prediction: Serena finishes off yet another top-20 player in straight sets, solidifying her spot in the semifinals.

2. Melanie Oudin and Jack Sock Try to Earn Semifinal Spot

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    The unseeded American duo needed third-set tiebreakers in their first two matches, and have used that momentum to carry them all the way to the mixed doubles semifinals.

    In the second round, Jack Sock and Melanie Oudin knocked off the No. 1 team of Bob Bryan and Liezel Huber. Oudin is most well-known for her magical run to the singles quarterfinals in 2009, but she's yet to  advance past the second round in any major since 2009.

    Sock won his first Grand Slam singles match at Flushing Meadows this year, but fell to Andy Roddick in the second round. They're up against the No. 7 team of Leander Paes and Elena Vesnina. Maybe a run in the doubles draw can spark the careers of both American teens.

    My Prediction: Sock and Oudin make it to the finals, winning yet another third-set tiebreaker.

3. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Looks to Make It Three Straight Against Roger Federer

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    At the beginning of the Open, I predicted that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga would get by Roger Federer for the third straight time, and second straight time in a Grand Slam quarterfinal, to move onto the semifinals.

    I've been impressed with the fitness and composure of the Frenchman, especially in his match against No. 8 Mardy Fish. However, it's been the play of Federer that has been the true spectacle.

    Federer has looked nearly as dominant as the Federer of old, but with a slightly different approach to matches. Against Juan Monaco in the last round, Federer was right on the baseline, crushing Monaco with devastating power and accuracy. In the past, Federer would work a point and win longer, more well-constructed points. Now, it looks like Federer is relying on pure ball-striking and confidence to get him through.

    Tsonga has the belief to beat Federer, and unlike Monaco, he can win some free points on his serve and prevent Federer from punishing each serve return. Everyone needs to watch this match.

    My Prediction: I'm going to stick with Tsonga, with the assumption that his shots will affect the timing of Federer and force him to turn down the aggression.

1. Caroline Wozniacki Set to Face Andrea Petkovic

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    Caroline Wozniacki's road at the US Open is not a kind one, with each new opponent providing a new challenge.

    With a huge comeback victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the books, Wozniacki is now faced with No. 10 Andrea Petkovic. The two have played twice, both this season, each earning one win. This is Petkovic's third quarterfinal appearance in a slam this season, and she's looking to make it her first victory in three tries.

    Wozniacki needs to be prepared to show the fitness level she did in her match against Kuznetsova, as Petkovic will be running her all of the court on many points during the match. Wozniacki needs to match the pace Petkovic is going to bring to the contest, or she will be in for a long day.

    My Prediction: Wozniacki battles past Petkovic to set up a blockbuster semifinal with Serena.

5. Janko Tipsarevic Looks to Keep Run Alive Against Novak Djokovic

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    If you've never experienced a Janko Tipsarevic match, then I recommend that you tune in this afternoon to watch him match up with Novak Djokovic.

    Tipsarevic will be sporting his usual sunglasses and odd on-court antics. However, he also carries quite a tennis game, as he's capable of pulling off some spectacular shots and frustrating the game's elite.

    Djokovic will not want to surrender a set to Tipsarevic because it only takes one set for belief to set in for Tipsarevic and doubt for Djokovic. Both players are from Serbia, meaning they've seen each other's games on many occasions in Davis Cup play, especially since Serbia won the last Davis Cup.

    Neither player loves to create their own pace, so expect to see some crafty angles and off-pace shots by both players—more so by Tipsarevic. The winner moves on to face the winner of Tsonga and Federer.

    My Prediction: Djokovic keeps Tipsarevic from winning a set, but the first two are dangerously close.