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US Open Tennis: The 4 Biggest Takeaways from Thursday at Flushing

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIISeptember 9, 2011

US Open Tennis: The 4 Biggest Takeaways from Thursday at Flushing

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    Day 11 at the US Open is over, and after two days of rainouts, tennis was finally played at Flushing Meadows.

    With every player remaining in both the men's and women's singles draws set to play, the stadiums were flooded with people. More importantly, the courts were full of players that wanted nothing more than to player their matches.

    Every athlete in action was well rested, making things even more interesting for all the fans in attendance. No men's matches went to five sets and only one women's contest went the distance, but the competitiveness of each match was obvious to those watching.

    Here's a look at the four best stories from Day 11.

1. Roger Federer Is in the Zone

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    Roger Federer is playing the most powerful hard-court tennis I've ever seen him play.

    I've mentioned more than once that I believed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was going to make it three straight against Federer when the two matched up in the US Open quarterfinals. Tsonga was on an absolute tear coming into this match and looked to be a formidable opponent for the 16-time Grand Slam champion.

    However, Federer is returning unbelievably well and his aggression with each and every shot is incredible. He kept Tsonga from taking the offensive by pulling the trigger every time he got the chance, leading to a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 win.

    Tsonga wasn't at his best on Thursday, but he was far from bad. Federer's performance, combined with Novak Djokovic's struggles against Janko Tipsarevic, have many tennis fans, myself included, counting the minutes left until Djokovic and Federer hit the court for the semifinals.

2. Caroline Wozniacki Gets Her Shot Against Serena Williams

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    Both Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams and fought through tough quarterfinals to reserve a spot in the semifinals of the Open.

    Wozniacki dominated during the first set, and edged out No. 10 Andrea Petkovic in a second-set tiebreak to move on to a featured match with Serena. She stepped up to the plate, being aggressive when she needed to.

    Serena played her first shaky set against No. 17 Anastasia Palyuchenkova but continually broke back after being broken. Her effort was enough, and after squeaking out a 7-5 first-set triumph, she only needed 30 minutes to take the second set, 6-1.

    Serena showed her first sign of vulnerability, but Wozniacki will have to attack the American if she expects to stand any chance of winning.

3. Andy Roddick Has the Look of Someone Playing To Prove Something

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    Andy Roddick controlled his match with No. 5 David Ferrer from start to finish, disproving many doubters throughout the four-set match.

    Roddick began the continuance of the match complaining about the condition of the court in Louis Armstrong Stadium. After the match was moved to Court 13, Roddick regained his composure and played a strong match against a feared opponent.

    Ferrer is a grinder who will never simply give a match away, as he forces every opponent that he faces to beat him if they want to advance. On Thursday, Roddick was good enough to pass the Ferrer test.

    Next up for Roddick is No. 2 Rafael Nadal, who has won six of nine matches between the two. However, both players have earned three wins in the series on hard court, which indicates it should be a pretty even battle.

    Nadal has been under the radar for the better part of the tournament, but if he's on his game, he's the better player. If Roddick wants to make the semis, he'll need to pick up his hitting even more than he did against Ferrer.

4. John Isner Is the King of Tiebreakers

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    Tack on three more sets won in tiebreakers to John Isner's total in this tournament and how many does that make?

    The answer is six.

    Isner has won all six tiebreakers he's played in during the 2011 US Open, and if he keeps serving like he has been, there may be a few more left for the tall American. Although Isner is getting lots of media attention, it seems like many expected him to make a run like this.

    Yes, Isner came into the Open with a hot streak, but more heads should have been turned by his run to the quarterfinals. By defeating No. 12 Gilles Simon on Thursday, Isner has added an upset to his already impressive tournament resume.

    It makes me wonder what the reaction would have been if Isner had lost already. Would any performance short of the quarters be deemed a failure for the big man, whose previous best performance in a slam was the round of 16?

    Whatever expectations may have been, Isner has taken some serious strides in his games this summer, but will it be enough to knock off No. 4 Andy Murray? Murray is spectacular at returning serve and mixes it up better than almost anyone on tour.

    Can Isner get the job done and qualify for his first Grand Slam semifinal?

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