photo credit:Kenneth Hong
The 2010 US Open men’s quarter final main draw singles matches are now complete. Of the 4 seeds that were seeded to win through to the semi finals three of them have lived up to expectations. The semi finals provide the opportunity to play-off for a spot in the 2010 US Open Men’s Singles Final.
No.1 seed Rafael Nadal, No.2 Roger Federer, No.3 Novak Djokovic and No.12 Mikhail Youzhny are all set to fight it out in New York tomorrow. Nadal has never won the US Open before and has not made it to the final before either, so will be playing the biggest US Open match of his career. Nadal is going for his 3rd Grand Slam singles titles in a row after winning both Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year. If he is successful he will become part of a very small club of superstars who have won the complete set of 4 Grand Slams.
Here we take a closer look at the 4 semi finalists:
Nadal – 24 years old from Spain, he is 1.85m tall and plays left-handed with a double handed backhand. His current World No.1 ranking is his career best ranking and he has been ranked No.1 for 61 weeks in total from 2 stints at No.1. He has won 8 Grand Slam singles titles (5 Roland Garros, 2 Wimbledon and 1 Australian Open) and been a runner-up twice (Wimbledon 2006 & 2007). At the US Open he has equalled his best result by making the semi finals for the 3rd straight year.
To get to the semi finals Nadal has not lost a set in 5 matches although he was pushed to a tie-break in 3 of those 15 sets. Nadal has conceded 61 games thus far and played for 12 hours and 20 minutes which is 2 hours and 16 minutes less than his next opponent.
Youzhny – 28 years old from Russia, he is 1.83m tall and plays right handed with a single handed backhand. His career best ranking is No.8, which he first achieved on February 2 2009. His best Grand Slam results are his two semi finals at the US Open this year and in 2006 and his two quarter finals at the 2008 Australian Open and Roland Garros this year.
To get to the semi finals Youzhny has lost 5 sets in 5 matches including coming back from 2 sets-to-one down in his quarter final match against No.25 seed and conqueror of No.4 seed Andy Murray, Stanislas Wawrinka. Youzhny and Wawrinka went head to head with their HEAD racquets for exactly 4 hours. Wawrinka uses the HEAD YouTek Prestige MidPlus and Youzhny uses the HEAD YouTek Extreme Pro. Youzhny has played 20 sets, conceded 83 games and played for 14 hours and 36 minutes.
Djokovic – 23 years old from Serbia, he is 1.88m tall and plays right handed with a double handed backhand. His career best ranking is World No.2, which he first achieved on February 1 2010. His best Grand Slam result winning the 2008 Australian Open, being a runner-up at the US Open in 2007 and this will be his 9th Grand Slam semi final and his 4th straight US Open semi final.
To get to the semi finals Djokovic has not lost a set in his past 4 matches although he had to come back from a 2 sets-to-one deficit in the 1st round against fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki and was pushed to 3 tie-breaks from the 17 sets he has won in a row. Djokovic has conceded 64 games thus far and played for 12 hours and 1 minute. Djokovic will be desperate to break Federer’s streak of knocking him out each year at the US Open.
Federer – 29 years old from Switzerland, he is 1.85m tall and plays right handed with a single handed backhand. His career best ranking is World No.1 and he has been ranked No.1 for 285 weeks in total from 2 stints at No.1. Federer is 1 week short of equalling the all-time record for weeks spent at No.1 held by Pete Sampras.
To get to the semi finals Federer has not lost a set in 5 matches and has only been taken to a tie-break in 1 of those 15 sets. Federer has conceded only 52 games thus far and played for 8 hours and 52 minutes, which is 3 hours and 9 minutes less than his next opponent. Federer has been the most impressive thus far with far less time spent on court and conceding 9 games less than his closest rival.
Federer has won 16 Grand Slam singles titles (6 Wimbledon (2003-2007 & 2009), 5 US Open (2004-2008), 4 Australian Open (2004, 2006-07 & 2010), 1 Roland Garros in 2009 and been a runer-up 6 times (3 Roland Garros and 1 of each of the other 3 Grand Slams). At the US Open he is going for his 7th straight US Open final. Federer made 7 finals in a row at Wimbledon before Tomas Berdych prevented him from No.8 this year.
The Head-to-head match ups for the semi finals:
In the 1st semi final Nadal and Youzhny are at 7 wins for Nadal and 4 wins to Youzhny. Youzhny has four very powerful past results that he can take into this semi final match. He has already beaten Nadal on 4 occasions, in their last meeting on hard courts Youzhny won the singles final in Chennai 6-1 6-0 and he has won 3 of the last 4 matches on hard courts including having beaten him at the US Open before (2006 quarter final).
At Wimbledon in 2007 Youzhny let a 2 sets-to-love lead against Nadal slip in the round of 16. Youzhny has been very mentally tough throughout this tournament winning 2 of 3 tie-breaks and the only 7-5 set. In the past he has totally lost it on court, including a well known occasion where he cracked himself on the head with his HEAD racquet until he was bleeding. To see what happened click here -> Youzhny Smashes His Own Head with his Racquet. Youzhny is having the best year of his career so there should be plenty of great tennis in this semi final!
In the 2nd semi final Djokovic and Federer meet for the 16th time with Federer holding the advantage 10-5, although they are 3 wins each over the past 2 years. Djokovic has beaten Federer before in a Grand Slam semi final on hard court at the 2008 Australian Open and he uses the HEAD YouTek Speed Pro tennis racquet. This year they have only met once and Djokovic had break points against Federer’s serve at 5 games all in the final set before Federer came back to win at the Canadian Open 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 in Toronto last month.
Djokovic is pictured above during practice at the US Open on August 27 getting into position to make contact with the ball to play this double handed backhand ground stroke. Djokovic needs to play from an aggressive court position, dictate the points during the ground stroke exchanges and attack Federer’s forehand intelligently as much as possible in order to beat Federer a 6th time. Djokovic has not been as composed, mentally strong and positive with his on court presence and body language this year, which could be his downfall again in the big matches.
The player’s name that is bolded in the semi finals singles draw below is OCA’s prediction of who will win each match. The schedule of play for the semi final matches on Saturday 11 September is:
- 12 noonon Arthur Ashe Stadium: (1) Rafael Nadal and (12) Mikhail Youzhny
- NOT before 2:45pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium: (3) Novak Djokovic and (2) Roger Federer
Stay tuned to this tennis website for full coverage of every Grand Slam tournament and every major women’s and men’s tennis tournament on the WTA Tour and ATP Tours. Click this link for further details about the US Open including the schedules of play -> US Open 2010 August 24-September 12.