Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Robin Soderling (SWE)
Federer was able to fight off the pesky Austrian, Jurgen Melzer, in straight sets and he has still not dropped a set throughout this tournament. Federer’s incredible streak of reaching the at least the semis in Grand Slam tournaments came to an end earlier this year at the French Open and then he lost in the quarters of Wimbledon. He needs a win here to show everyone that he can still be the best player in the world on the biggest stage.
Soderling dropped the first set to Albert Montanes in the fourth round, but bounced right back and won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarters for the second straight year. He summer started out well as he reached the quarters at Wimbledon and the finals at Bastad, but then he lost early at Canada and Cincinnati. A win here would turn that around quickly!
Soderling is 1-12 against Federer and beat him earlier this year in the quarters of the French Open. They did meet last year in the quarters of the US Open and Federer beat him in four sets. Soderling has proved to himself and the world that he is the real deal. He knows he belongs in the top ten and in the finals of majors and it is showing on the court. He has a big forehand and even though he has a big swing, he is able to keep the ball in play because of his athleticism and foundation. His backhand is consistent, he has an excellent serve and he moves tremendously for a big guy. Federer’s playing at his peak level right now and it even shows during the warm-up. He is brimming with confidence and using his full arsenal on shots. There is nothing these two don’t know about each other and I fully expect Soderling to make this a very competitive match. I have to give the edge to Federer, but this is going to be a long match.
Nick’s Pick – Federer in 4 or 5 sets
Gael Monfils (FRA) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Monfils won the all-French battle between he and Gasquet in the fourth round to reach the quarters of the US Open for the first time in his career. The only thing you can predict about Monfils is that he is going to do something you’ve probably never seen before on a tennis court. He is a wildcard and the fans love seeing him play!
Djokovic handled Mardy Fish fairly easily in the fourth round and definitely played some of the best tennis I’ve seen from him in a while. After a first round scare from Viktor Troicki, Djokovic has settled down nicely and hasn’t dropped a set in three matches. He’s been to at least the semis the last three years and I am sure he doesn’t want that streak to end!
Djokovic is 4-0 against Monfils and hasn’t beaten him three times on hard courts in the past (including a win over him five years ago in the first round of the US Open). This is going to be a very interesting and entertaining match. No matter what anyone says, Monfils is going to stay way behind the baseline and get to just about everything. This hurts him though because it allows his opponents to breathe easy when he hits offensive shots because they know they have time to get to them. On the other hand, Djokovic is going to try and take the ball early and control the court. It’s really a big contrast in styles. Both men are playing excellent tennis and I could see this match going either way. It’s supposed to be a little more humid tomorrow and there is a chance of rain, so if the heat turns up I give a little edge to Monfils. Overall, Djokovic’s constant pressure and his consistency should enable him to win so I am going with the Djoker!
Nick’s Pick – Djokovic in 4 sets