Not many left now…

Sep 9, 2009

When I saw Murray miss on what was to be his final point at Flushing Meadows, I could only roar ‘I told you so, I told you so!!’ at the television screen, pointing dramatically with all the strength in my travel-exhausted body. Unfortunately, there was no-one with me at the time who thought that Murray could win the US Open. In fact there was no-one with me at all, which was quite good because if anyone had seen the way I was shouting at the television screen, I might be writing this to you from a padded room.

In fact I realised, after I had calmed down, the age-old phrase ‘I told you so’ was redundant in this particular tournament. Even I, along with many other Murray critics, believed that Andy Murray could reach the final and – on a superbly good day with the wind in the right direction – win it. Everybody is surprised. But the Scot just did not bring any of the flair and talent that  to the table, giving Marin Cilic a game with which the Croat could mould and play according to his liking, according to his rules and according to his desire to get through to the quarter finals. Still, more about that later. First, let’s take a look at the eight who did make it through to the next stage in the US Open.

Roger Federer joins Marin Cilic in the final eight, after beating Tommy Robredo 7-5 6-2 6-2 comfortably. Still on track to take the title, it seems…

Novak Djokovic is sneaking back into the thick of things, beating Radek Stepanek in a quick and surprisingly easy match 6-1 6-3 6-3. Djokovic moving slowly but surely through the tournament, and very quietly. Well, apart from his post-match shenanigans with a certain John McEnroe. Those who enjoy Djokovic’s impersonations of his compatriots should check out any video footage they can find of that particular encounter.

Robin Soderling pulled another Soderling and now languishes in the final eight. He was beating Nikolay Davydenko quite comfortably, but the Russian eventually pulled out due to a leg injury, retiring in the third set two sets  to one down.  One Roger Federer stands between the Swede and a semi-finals place.

Juan Martin del Potro has made a name for himself this year, climbing to the world no. 6 spot and overall revealing himself to be a player not to be messed with. Not that many would want to mess with him, seeing as he stands at 6ft 6in (1.98 metres). The wonderful thing about del Potro is that he is simply happy to be here, happy to be doing a little better at each tournament. His serves were  blistering against Juan Carlos Ferrero, and he took the match 6-3 6-3 6-3.

Fernando Verdasco beat the last remaining American in the tournament, John Isner, to book his quarter-final place in a relatively easy fashion 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-4.  

Fernando Gonzalez upset Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to upend him from the tournament. The Chilean didn’t necessarily have an easy time of it, however, with the match stretching to a pulsating five set battle. in true Gonzalez style, he had his temper to contend with as well as Tsonga. As one point, he handed his racquet over to a woman in the crowd to help contain the frustration. Maybe John McEnroe should have done a similar thing instead of breaking it against the tramlines, it certainly would have saved costs…

Marin Cilic blasted away one of the favourites from the tournament, with the tatters of Andy Murray’s US Open hopes still fresh on the court. It wasn’t just Murray’s inability to get his game together, however. Cilic was powerful, determined, and executed some positively beautiful shots to take the match 7-5 6-2 6-2.  

Rafael Nadal’s name was not really expected to turn up in the final eight. He had to call the trainer in his last match with an abdominal injury, and he had to battle through the pain throughout the match. This encounter with Gael Monfils was, however, injury free, and post-match interviews suggest he is feeling both mentally and physically fit.

 

As we move to the women’s side of the tournament, we see that even though many of the big names are gone it doesn’t mean that things are lacking excitement. Kim Clijsters is continuing her amazing run at the US Open, beating Li Na of China 6-2 6-4 and reaching the semi-finals. This is after she booted Venus Williams from the tournament in the fourth round, another piece of evidence showing that despite her break from the game after having a baby, Clijsters is on an impressive route.

Serena Williams has gone a step further than her sister, beating Italy’s Flavia Penetta 6-4 6-3. It’s her fifth consecutive straight-sets win at the US Open, and is considered a serious contender for the title. She will now play Kim Clijisters for a chance to do just that.

Melanie Oudin continues to amaze in America, and is matched up to play Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals. She has made a hoard of supporters at this Open, achieving amazing things for a 17 year old, particularly the mental capability to cope with the stress and attention. A young Tracy Austin?

Yania Wickmayer will be playing Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine for a semi-finals place. Bondarenko has been pulling some amazing performances during the grand slam, and

For this year’s US Open women’s tournament, it’s all about the young blood, the upcoming stars. With the top names gone, few hearts are bleeding, and attentions are being turned to these players breathing new life into the women’s game.

 

-          SophieG  

Written by: SophieG

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