The major schedule for Day 11 included two men’s singles quarterfinals, two men’s doubles semifinals and two women’s doubles semifinals. Of these, the second match of the day between No.2 seed Roger Federer and No.20 Gale Monfils became a great topic for discussion and emerged as the match of the day. In the first quarterfinal, Marin Cilic of Croatia scored a straight sets victory over Czech veteran Tomas Berdych. In men’s doubles, USA’s Bryan brothers inched one step closer towards their 100th doubles victory. But India’s Sania Mirza and her Zimbabwean partner were outplayed in a women’s doubles semifinal match.
It was a little over two years ago, when Roger Federer won his last Grand Slam final at 2012 Wimbledon. In that tournament, Federer trailed 0-2 on sets against another Frenchman, Julien Benneteau in his third round match. But Federer won the next three sets, won the match and went on to claim his 17th Grand Slam title. On Thursday at the Arthur Ashe stadium, the great Federer faced the same predicament against another Frenchman. But this one was different from Julien Benneteau. He was Gael Monfils, a born showman and one of the most volatile tennis players in the ATP circuit at present. In the fourth round match on Tuesday, he frustrated Dimitrov with his brand of histrionics and trademark guffaws, before scoring a straight sets victory. Whenever Monfils takes to the court, his first focus is entertainment. The crowds love him but he is dangerously unpredictable to his opponents. He has a good game with great serve and a wide array of groundstrokes that makes him formidable but he sacrifices all these virtues in favor of showmanship.
Against Roger Federer on Thursday, he raced away to 2-0 set lead. Though Federer won the third set, he was down two match points in the tenth game of the fourth set. It was a frustrating moment for the 33-year old Swiss, who faced a humiliating exit from the tournament. For a while, the normally cool-headed Federer suffered from a momentary loss of composure as he banged his racquet on the net and took out his anger on the umpire but the moment quickly passed. Drawing on from the depths of his resources, the tenacious Federer saved both match points and won the set. This marked a turnaround in Monfils’ game as his usual stamina gave way to a noticeably wayward display. He gave up the fight and Federer steamrolled him in the final set and clinched the match 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2. This was Roger Federer’s 26th win in 27 night-time matches in New York and if wins against Cilic in the semifinal, it would be his career’s 600th victory on hard courts.
In the other quarterfinal of the day, played earlier, 14th seed Marin Cilic became the first Croatian since Goran Ivanisevic to reach the last four at Flushing Meadows as he pulled off an upset straight set 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 victory over No.6 seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Incidentally Ivanisevic, who reached the US open semifinal in1986, currently coaches Cilic. The Croat, who missed last year’s US Open on account of a doping ban, served 19 aces past Berdych. To Berdych’s credit, he managed a tie-break in the third set but lost it.
In a men’s doubles semifinal match, America’s famous duo of Bob and Mike Bryan entered the final by beating compatriots Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, while in the other match, the Spanish pair of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez beat Croatian Ivan Dodig and Brazilian Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-4. In a women’s doubles semifinal, Martina Hingis of Switzerland playing with Italy’s Flavia Penetta ended the challenge of India’s Sania Mirza and Zimbabwe’s Cara Black with a straight set 6-2, 6-4 victory. In the other women’s semifinal, the Russian duo of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina defeated Kimiko Date-Krumm Japan and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-3.
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