Murray sets up Djokovic showdown
Originally published on 02/09/14
Murray and Djokovic set for quarter-final showdown
Andy Murray claimed his first victory over a top-10 player since winning Wimbledon in 2013 by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 7-5 6-4 to return to the quarter-finals of the US Open for a third successive year.
Murray has now reached the quarters in his last 12 Grand Slams after avenging his defeat by the Frenchman at the Rogers Cup in August.
“I don't feel like I'm that far away from playing my best tennis,” Murray said. “It’s still obviously a long way from trying to win the tournament, but it's only nine sets now, three matches, maybe five, six days away from potentially winning another Grand Slam.”
To do so, Murray must beat world No.1 and top seed Novak Djokovic in the last eight after the 2011 champion beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1 7-5 6-4. Djokovic is yet to drop a set in New York and has a 12-8 career record over the Scot, but Murray came out on top of their two previous Grand Slam encounters – the finals of the 2012 US Open and Wimbledon 2013.
“We all know his quality,” Djokovic said. “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 centre court, US Open, where he played some great tennis and we had some great matches.”
Stan Wawrinka will take on Kei Nishikori for the chance to face either Murray or Djokovic. Australian Open champion Wawrinka downed Tommy Robredo 7-5 4-6 7-6(7) 6-2, while Nishikori beat No.5 seed Raonic 4-6 7-6(4) 6-7(2) 7-5 6-4 in four hours, 19 minutes.
Krunic wows once more but Azarenka fights to advance
Two-time US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka booked her place in the quarter-finals with a hard-earned 4-6 6-4 6-4 victory over world No.145 Aleksandra Krunic, who defeated Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the previous round.
Krunic, who admitted that the emotional win over Kvitova and the media attention that followed left her feeling drained before the match, recovered from 3-0 down on her Arthur Ashe Stadium debut to take the first set, and established a lead in the second.
But Azarenka, whose season has been blighted by injuries and erratic form, rallied to counter her opponent’s variety and movement to win in two hours, 19 minutes.
“I think she played exceptionally well today,” admitted Azarenka. “She gave a fight, and she wasn't afraid to go big on the important moments. I was a little bit surprised that she's not that tall, and she hits the ball and unleashes her forehand with so much power.”
Bouchard feels the heat against Makarova
Eugenie Bouchard’s record of reaching the semi-finals or better of every major in 2014 ended in the fourth round at the hands of Ekaterina Makarova and the sweltering conditions on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Bouchard, struggling to cope with the near-70% humidity and 30'C heat, received a medical time out midway through the second set but never considered retiring. The No.7 seed reached break point 10 times in all but converted just two as Makarova rallied for a 7-6(2) 6-4 win to match her run to the quarter-finals in 2013.
“I have had a few late, tough matches here, and I don't think I fully recovered from those,” Bouchard said. “I never want to retire from matches no matter what. I was going to play on for sure.”
Makarova will face Azarenka for a place in the semi-finals, with top seed Serena Williams and Flavia Pennetta facing off for the chance to meet them. Williams ended Kaia Kanepi’s strong run in New York with a 6-3 6-3 win, while Pennetta eased clear of Casey Dellacqua 7-5 6-2.
Quote of the day
“Some people tell me, ‘You're so mature for your age’, but then when I have to use [my advice] for me it's like I'm 10 years old. Yeah, now I think I started really using what I know also for myself and started maybe loving myself a little bit more.”
Aleksandra Krunic reflects on her newfound sense of worth after her fourth-round run at the US Open.
Stat of the day
2.26am – The latest finish to a match at the US Open, a staggering three times. Kei Nishikori’s 4-6 7-6(4) 6-7(6) 7-5 6-4 victory over No.5 seed Milos Raonic finished at exactly the same time as Philipp Kohlschreiber’s 2012 win over John Isner and Mats Wilander’s victory in 1993 against fellow Swede Mikael Pernfors.