Here are the storylines and matches to watch on Day 9 of the U.S. Open. ESPN2 and Tennis Channel begin their coverage at 11 a.m. and ESPN2 continues through the night session at 7 p.m. Click here for the order of play.
Semifinal clash looms for Serena Williams and Li Na: They’re the two most in-form players in the tournament, with neither dropping a set or even being pushed to a tiebreak en route to the quarterfinals, and are one win away from facing off in the semifinals. Li, who has never made the semifinals at the U.S. Open, is up first against 24th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova (second match, Arthur Ashe Stadium). Makarova, who defeated Sabine Lisicki and Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets, has never beaten Li in three meetings. Williams will start the night session (first match, Arthur Ashe Stadium) against Carla Suarez Navarro, who is into her first U.S. Open quarterfinal. Williams is 2-0 against the Spaniard and shouldn’t have much trouble.
Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic play catch-up: A lengthy rain delay affected Monday’s schedule and led to the cancellation of the fourth-round match between Azarenka and Ivanovic in order to ensure all the men’s singles matches were completed. “Today’s weather forecast called for intermittent rain until 8 p.m,” a USTA statement read. “The tournament’s priority was to complete all matches that were in progress and to complete all men’s singles matches scheduled for the day. With the unpredictable weather forecast, the decision was made to release both Ivanovic and Azarenka early enough in the day in order to bring them back as the first match tomorrow morning, Tuesday, September 3, at 11 a.m.”
The decision means the winner of the match will come back Wednesday to play a quarterfinal against Daniela Hantuchova, who advanced Monday. The lack of rest shouldn’t affect either player, as the women are used to playing back-to-back best-of-three matches in WTA tournaments.
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray keeping things drama-free: Roger Federer fell to Tommy Robredo on Monday night and Rafael Nadal dropped his first set of the tournament before coming back to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in four sets. Djokovic and Murray face weaker opposition in their fourth-round matches, so I expect them to get through with more ease. Djokovic takes on 43rd-ranked Marcel Granollers (third match, Arthur Ashe Stadium) and Murray faces 65th-ranked Denis Istomin in the evening (second night match, Arthur Ashe Stadium).
More matches to watch
Tomas Berdych vs. Stanislas Wawrinka (fourth match, Louis Armstrong Stadium): In what is likely to be the most competitive men’s match of the day, the fifth-seeded Berdych takes on ninth-seeded Wawrinka. The 28-year-old Wawrinka leads the head-to-head 6-5 and the two have split their two meetings this year, with Wawrinka winning on clay and Berdych winning on hard court. This one has five sets written all over it.
Lleyton Hewitt vs. Mikhail Youzhny (second match, Louis Armstrong Stadium): Hewitt hasn’t made the quarterfinals of a Slam since Wimbledon 2009. At 32 and ranked No. 66, the Aussie followed up his five-set win over Juan Martin del Potro with a four-set win over Evgeny Donskoy. He’s logged a lot of miles on his body this tournament but he says he feels fit and ready to go. Hewitt is 5-1 against Youzhny, 31, with his sole loss coming in 2009 in Tokyo.