Monday, September 5, 2011

US OPEN: Day 8 Preview - Tsonga v Fish is unmissable!

Roger Federer SUI (3) v Juan Monaco ARG

The five-time US Open champion withstood a tough challenge from Marin Cilic in the previous round despite hitting nine fewer winners than the Croat.

While Federer’s next opponent Juan “Pico” Monaco is not as adept on hardcourts as Cilic may be, the Argentine gave Federer a hard time in their match in Miami earlier this year, however the world No3 still won in straights and is 2-0 head-to-head over Monaco.
Pico is looking to get past the fourth round for the first time in New York while Federer is trying to equal Andre Agassi’s Open era record of 46 hardcourt titles, should he capture the US Open title this fortnight.

The Swiss hasn’t showed his best so far in Flushing Meadows but it doesn’t look like Pico can deliver the upset against Federer on hardcourts.

Afterall, Federer is 59-6 in New York while Monaco is 6-7 and has lost in the opening round in his last three attempts at the US Open.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA (11) v Mardy Fish USA (8)

This is a match-up between the two men who have stood out the most this season outside the top four.

Since the French Open, Tsonga has won 19 out of 24 matches making the final in Queen’s and the semi-finals in Wimbledon and Montreal, where he twice beat Roger Federer. A run that saw him rise to No11 in the rankings.

Meanwhile Fish has been acting more like a shark this summer and his US Open Series title is proof of how dominant he has been on the North American hardcourts having won in Atlanta before making the finals in Los Angeles and Montreal, and the semis in Cincinnati.

Both players are yet to drop a set in New York and have never faced off on Tour. Their combined ranking is the lowest amongst the four men’s last-16 matches taking place today; a clear indication that it’s going to be a tight clash that is both unpredictable and unmissable.

Serena Williams USA (28) v Ana Ivanovic SRB (16)

There was a reason why many people were calling for Serena’s seeding to be bumped and No4 seed Victoria Azarenka’s third round loss to Serena is precisely that reason. Serena’s low seeding is a threat not to Serena but to her helpless opponents who had to face her early on in the draw.
Ana Ivanovic is next up on the American’s hit list and just in case Serena’s steamrolling frenzy is not intimidating enough for the Serb, Ivanovic enters this match knowing she hasn’t won a single set against Serena in both their previous encounters - in the US Open in 2006 and in Dubai in 2009. Odds are, she won’t win one today either.

Ivanovic is trying to make the quarter-finals for the first time in New York while Serena is gunning for a fourth US Open title and a 14th Major cup to accessorise her trophy cabinet.
Ivanovic is on the rise, armoured by a new coach, but her semi-final showing in San Diego is nowhere close to as impressive as Serena’s back-to-back titles in Stanford and Toronto.

Caroline Wozniacki DEN (1) v Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS (15)

Those two are familiar with each others’ games as this will be their seventh meeting in three years. Wozniacki leads the Russian 4-2 head-to-head and between them, they own a title, two runner-up showings and a semi-final in New York.

While Kuznetsova has gone one better than Wozniacki and has actually lifted the US Open trophy back in 2004, the top-seeded Dane has beaten Kuznetsova in their last three meetings, which were all on hardcourts and included a clash at the US Open at the very same stage two years ago.

Kuznetsova’s build-up to the US Open has been far from ideal while Wozniacki salvaged her preparations for New York by winning the title in New Haven eight days ago after suffering opening round losses in Toronto and Cincinnati.

From the looks of things, Wozniacki has the upperhand and is more likely to clinch that quarter-final spot.

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