Each round is taking a chunk out of me. I was really worried again here for a long time and it wasn’t until the double break in the decider that I gave it a “COME ON” followed by a mini fist-pump. I am naturally worried that Serena has had too much court time and this is a quick switch around that will see her play once again later tonight.
I thought that she once again turned the match around nicely against Tsvetana Pironkova. It took her a set and a break to get going, by which time Rena started to get used to the Bulgarian’s backhand down the line and sliced forehands. It is certainly the best form we have seen this year from her in sets two and three. I read that she served twenty (20) aces in her victory yesterday. This is the most she has served in a match since her 2012 Wimbledon Semi-Final win over Vika Azarenka (24 aces that day). A match she won in straight sets! The irony of all ironies is that she will need to put in a similar effort to make the final, as she takes on a rejuvenated Azarenka tonight. These two are close friends, who have so much respect for each other. They have treated us to some classics in the past. It says a lot that Azarenka actually goes in as a slight favourite for the match with bookmakers this time.
Vika has been superb in New York (including ‘Cincy’). She crushed Elise Mertens last night with her opponent often looking like she was caught in the headlights. It was just what Azarenka needed and not what us Serena fans wanted to see. In just under an hour and a quarter, Vika was through 6/1 6/0. She is both serving and moving remarkably well and if Serena wants to win the title, she will have to play her best two matches to do so. No doubts.
Daniil Medvedev is still yet to drop a set on his way to the last four. There was treatment for his shoulder and for cramping late on in the third set of his win over Andrey Rublev. Hopefully, nothing too major but Medvedev said he was very happy to get this done in three. The match was of high quality and Rublev adjusted his normal tactics against his pal and didn’t always give him so much pace. Having led by a double break and 6/3 in the first set breaker he failed to take advantage and Daniil was all over him. Rublev went ballistic after losing the tiebreak and even though he gave it his all thereafter, he knew a big opportunity had gone with it. You felt with the head-to-head record it was a big moment and so it proved. My sole win after my tipping preview, a 10/11 winner. Very shrewd!
It sets up a bit of a blockbuster semi-final with Dominic Thiem, who gave Alex De Minaur ‘a beat-down’. The Dominator dropped just seven games against the normally tenacious Aussie. The fact Thiem was moving around the baseline as well as De Minaur, coupled with the fact the Austrian has much more explosive firepower, meant we were on court for less than two hours here.
It is officially squeaky-bum time now, Serena second on in the evening session against Vika. Expect an interesting blog tomorrow, win or lose!
Andy Del Potro.