New York, NY – September 5, 2018: Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns ball during US Open 2018 quarterfinal match against John Millman of Australia at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (Photo: Lev Radin/Gildshire)
As any Grand Slam unfolds we are treated to increasingly spectacular displays of tennis and the US Open 2018 Quarter Finals did not fail to deliver. Novak Djokovic, always a crowd favorite, won his match last night at the Arthur Ashe Stadium against 29 year old Australian John Millman, in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Djokovic, will face Kei Nishikori in a repeat of their 2014 semi-final here at the US Open. Djokovic’s real challenge however, came from the boiling New York temperatures, and he was quick to make his feelings known:
“I have never sweated as much as I have here, I have to take at least 10 shirts for every match. I asked the chair umpire whether they are using some form of ventilation or air conditioning down at the court level, and then he says ‘Only what comes through the hallway’. This tournament needs to address this. Because whether it’s night or day, we just don’t have air down there. It feels like a sauna.”
We’re sure glad he did not lose, but while he has a point, summer in New York is summer in New York, we know what to expect. In a statement, a tournament spokesman said:
“We will explore ways of stimulating air flow in the stadium following the 2018 US Open.”
Kei Nishikori from Japan reached the semis by beating Croatian Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4. Nishikori scored 19 aces in the match and kept the crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium enthralled for just over four hours.
Rafael Nadal won his match against Dominic Thiem in an epic five set battle, 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5), a 4:49 marathon that ended at 2:03 a.m. on Wednesday. Thiem took the first set in just 24 minutes, stunning a packed crowd at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center but in the end he was no match for the World No. 1. Yet at the start many thought it was all over for Nadal as this was just the fourth time in 282 career Grand Slam matches that Nadal lost a set 6-0, and the first time he won a match after such a lackluster start. He came back in spectacular form and that shows the mark of a true champion, he will face Juan Martin del Potro in the semi finals.
Juan Martin del Potro advanced to his third semi-final at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday, recovering from a set down to beat John Isner 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2. The 2009 champion reached his second straight US Open semi-final after three and a half hours, but will he be able to get past Nadal to reach the finals? Del Potro and Nadal have met in three of the past four Grand Slam events, with Nadal triumphing on each occasion.
In the Women’s quarter-finals, Serena Williams defeated No. 8 seed and 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday. The six-time U.S. Open champion is looking for her 24th Slam singles title and seventh U.S. Open. It would be Williams’ first major since she won the 2017 Australian Open. Williams plays Anastasija Sevastova in the semi-finals.
Sevastova, who retired in 2013 for nearly two years because of back and muscle issues, has impressed since her return. The Latvian made her third consecutive trip to the New York quarter-finals this year and knocked out defending champion Sloane Stephens to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final.
Williams has never faced Anastasija Sevastova before but is familiar with the 28-year-old’s tactical, all-round style of play.
“I’ve seen her play a lot. She’s been playing really well for actually a long time. So obviously I know her game really well. She clearly knows mine,” said Williams, the 17th seed.
Last year’s women’s runner-up, Madison Keys pummeled Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-4, 6-3. On Wednesday, 23-year-old Keys hit 11 forehand winners (out of 22 overall) and dropped just nine points on her first serve against Navarro. Keys, seeded 14th, is the highest-seeded woman left in the draw, she will face Naomi Osaka in the semi finals.
No. 20 seed Naomi Osaka moved from Japan to New York at age 3, and now may be on track to win her first Grand Slam after defeating Lesia Tsurenko on Wednesday, 6-1, 6-1.
“Well, it definitely means a lot for me, and I always thought if I were to win a Grand Slam, the first one I’d want to win is the U.S. Open, because I have grown up here and, like, then my grandparents can come and watch,” she said.
As we are looking forward to the semi-finals, players will be getting a slight break from the heat as temperatures expected to drop for the rest of the week.