The U.S. Open is entering the business end of the tournament and as expected there is a lot to discuss. Many things happen during the week. Maria Sharapova made her return and defeated number two seed Simona Halep in an instant-classic night match. The usual rock-solid men’s draw was turn up on its head when top players dropped like flies. There are many things to examine. Here are the three major topics heading into the second week.
American Women Show Up
At this year’s U.S Open the American women are showing they are a force to be reckon with. First, five American women made it to the fourth round, something that hadn’t be done since 2002, and then they decide that wasn’t enough resulting in three American women in the quarterfinals (Sloane, Venus, Coco).
The group is led by Venus Williams who continues to have a strong year. Following Venus is a group that includes ladies of a different generation. Sloane Stephens, who is having a spectacular summer and impressive comeback. Coco Vandeweghe, who is also having a solid season. Jennifer Brady, who is making her name for herself. Lastly Madison Keys, who was out much of the year due to injuries but is now back to her great form from last year.
Being that these ladies are in different halves of the draw it is possible that the semifinals will feature all Americans, which would then mean all- American finals.
Venus and Sloane have done their part by both making it to the semifinals
An unlikely first-time finalist will make their debut
With the withdrawal of Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka, Raonic and Nishikori it was very clear from the beginning that there would be many opportunities for some new faces to make a deep run. However, as the tournament progressed the draw began to open wider and wider.
Alexander Zverev was the heavy favorite to make the finals. Zverev won two hard court tournaments leading into the open and was seeded fourth. He, however, lost to one of his peers Borna Coric in four tight sets. Former U.S. Open Champion Marin Cilic then was knocked out in the third round by Diego Schwartzman, further opening the draw.
For a brief moment many believed teen sensation, Denis Shapovalov, would be able to make a finals run. Denis had a strong showing in his home country tournament in Canada. Denis made it to all the way to the fourth round, defeating opponents such as Tsonga and Kyle Edmund along the way. But it was in there that Denis met a steady Carreno Busta, of Spain, who took him out in a tight three set match.
Though it is still up in the air, American Sam Querrey (who is the last remaining American man in the field) has a chance to make it to his first final. Sam became the first American male since Andy Roddick to reach a grand slam semi at this year’s Wimbledon. He now can once again be the first American man since Roddick to reach the final if he wins two more matches.
Rafa and Roger remain on pace to meet in semis
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer played some epic battles over the years. However, they have yet to grace the people of New York with a match. With both men reaching the quarterfinals, this year appears that it might be the time they do so. The road for the two has not be easy.
Roger and Rafa struggled in the early rounds. Roger played two straight five-set matches before finally finding his form in the third round. Showing his vulnerability, Rafa played two straight four-set match in the second and third round. Like Federer, he too, seems to have found his game.
If the two are to meet in the semifinals (most fans wish they’d meet in the finals), they’ll have to get pass some tough opponents. On paper, it Rafa has an easier path to the semis. He will take on teenager Andrey Rublev, who is making his debut in a grand slam quarterfinal. Though Rublev is young and inexperienced he beat quality players such as Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin along the way. He is a powerful kid and his hunger is crystal clear. If Rafa is off his game for a second this kid, might pull off the upset.
Roger Federer has a much tougher task, having to face former U.S. Open, who he lost to, Juan Martin Del Potro. Del Potro made an unbelievable comeback against Domini Thiem in the fourth round. Del Potro was down two sets and look at moments ready to collapse from the virus he had. But with the help of the crowd, came back to win the match in an air tight five-set match. Having looked death in his eyes (on the tennis court) Del Po will be feeling free and motivated to stop a Roger, Rafa collision (In 2009 Del Po defeated Rafa in the semis to prevent a Nadal, Federer final).
This is truly shaping up to be a great last couple of days at the Open. With a Roger, Rafa semi possibly looming along with the possibility of an all-American semifinals and finals on the women’s side, fans are in for a treat. Don’t miss out!