Only 14 players from the men's and women's draws remain in contention to win the coveted 2014 U.S. Open title. On Wednesday, that number will decrease to 10 after four more quarterfinals matches take place.
We've already seen a bevy of upsets over the first nine days of the year's final major, but both No. 1 seeds—Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams—remain in contention. Each will take the court on Day 10 in an attempt to earn a berth in the semifinals and creep one step closer to one of tennis' crowning achievements.
Each match Tuesday will surely be jam-packed full of compelling action. Before Day 10 of the tournament gets underway from Flushing, New York, let's take a look at the schedule and predict the winner of each match.
|2014 U.S. Open Day 10 Schedule of Play and Predictions|
|Arthur Ashe Stadium - 11 a.m. ET||Predictions|
|No. 16 Victoria Azarenka vs. No. 17 Ekaterina Makarova||Makarova|
|No. 3 Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 10 Kei Nishikori||Wawrinka|
|Arthur Ashe Stadium - 7 p.m. ET||Predictions|
|No. 1 Serena Williams vs. No. 11 Flavia Pennetta||Williams|
|No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 8 Andy Murray||Djokovic|
|USOpen.org / Sean O'Donnell's Predictions|
All Day 10 viewing information can be found at USOpen.org.
(1) Serena Williams vs. (11) Flavia Pennetta
Williams may have struggled in major tournaments this year, but she hasn't showed a single sign of slowing down during the U.S. Open. A five-time winner of the event—and defending champion—she's no stranger to creating success for herself in New York.
The No. 1 seed rolled past the surging Kaia Kanepi in Round 4, winning in two sets. While Williams' opponent was efficient—she only committed 13 unforced errors during the match—she couldn't match the top seed's brilliant serve. Williams recorded eight aces and won 84 percent of her first-serve points, and her aggression paid off as well, winning five of seven net points.
SportsCenter noted Williams' impending first appearance in a major's quarterfinals this year:
During a press conference after the match, Williams spoke of the difference between the year's earlier majors and this one, via USOpen.org:
Well, you know, I'm a perfectionist, I always want to be the best, do the best. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well, particularly in the slams, to do really well. Had a couple nagging injuries that definitely didn't help. But other than that it was just that. Now I'm more relaxed. I feel like I don't have to win any more.
Pennetta earned her most recent victory in nearly the same way Williams did. She racked up four aces while winning 79 percent of her first-serve points and recorded just 18 unforced errors in her Round 4 victory over No. 29 Casey Dellacqua.
One statistic from that match might show what will be Pennetta's undoing against Williams. The No. 11 seed allowed her opponent to win all six of her possible net points. If Williams shows similar aggression, she could take this one quickly.
Prediction: Williams wins 6-4, 6-3
(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (8) Andy Murray
While Djokovic came into the 2014 U.S. Open as the world's top player, he did struggle at times in prior events. Well, it appears that is all behind him now, as he's blown through four rounds of tournament play without dropping a single set.
That streak remained intact after Djokovic defeated No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber in Round 4. With great ball placement on his serve, the No. 1 seed ran his opponent all over the court, leading to 78 percent of first-serve points won and 36 unforced errors for Kohlschreiber.
SportsCenter noted yet another win in straight sets for the No. 1 seed:
During a press conference, via USOpen.org, Djokovic described his upcoming opponent:
The other hand, you have Andy who we all know his quality. He's already has been Grand Slam champion, Wimbledon, US Open, Olympic Games. So he has a lot of success behind him and a lot of experience behind him. He knows how to play center court US Open where he played some great tennis and we had some great matches. You know, the last one was in finals in 2012 in five sets.
Djokovic and Murray have had some great matches, indeed. The 2012 match the top seed referred to was Murray's victory in five sets in the final of the U.S. Open. While Murray won that one, Djokovic currently leads the career series 12-8.
Murray will certainly be a test on Wednesday. He defeated No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in three sets in Round 4 thanks to a brilliant serve. He recorded 11 aces and won 84 percent of his first-serve points. Adding to his domination, he won with aggression, taking 28 of a possible 31 net points.
While Murray looked good, Tsonga was his own worst enemy, racking up 43 unforced errors. That shouldn't be expected against a player of Djokovic's caliber. Expect Murray to keep this one close—and take a set from Djokovic—but come up short in the end.
Prediction: Djokovic wins 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3