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By Erik Gudris | Wednesday,September 3, 2014

Djokovic US Open

Wednesday's night matches will be the focus as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Serena Williams all seek wins under the lights.

Photo Credit: AP

Day 10 at the US Open features several intriguing quarterfinal matches including one that was highly anticipated when the draw was announced. Here's a preview.

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (8) Andy Murray, Ashe Stadium

One of the most consistent rivalries on the ATP Tour renews itself in this clash of friends from their junior days. While both players have struggled at times in their day matches due to New York's steamy heat, thankfully for each this is a night match under the lights.

Murray continues to be the big question mark in this one. The pressure will be on him to raise his level from his previous rounds. He certainly proved in his straight set dismissal of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga he can, but he'll need to be even much better against the World No. 1.

Djokovic, meanwhile, needs to stay razor sharp and avoid any mental lapses, especially if Murray stays close. Djokovic also will want a good serving night and keep Murray's return game at bay. If he can do all that, and keep the crowd who will want a five-setter from amping up Murray too much, Djokovic should navigate his way into the final four.

Pick: Djokovic

(1) Serena Williams vs. (11) Flavia Pennetta, Ashe Stadium

Williams owns a 5-0 record against the veteran Italian and again enters as a big favorite. Though Pennetta has recently tasted some of her best results on North American hard courts the last few years, she doesn't have any huge weapons to truly test Williams. Pennetta will have to rely on chasing balls down and using some of her guile and fine net play to disrupt the top seed.

Though she tweaked her ankle in her doubles loss with sister Venus the other day, Williams should be ready to go for this one. She wants another US Open title and will do all she can to achieve it.

Pick: Williams

(3) Stan Wawrinka vs. (10) Kei Nishikori, Ashe Stadium

The Australian Open champion hasn't been talked about much here in New York. That's probably suits Wawrinka who is playing himself back into Grand Slam contention after a ragged post-Melbourne season.

Nishikori, who won a marathon night match over Milos Raonic, certainly earned his spot in the elite eight. But just how physcially fresh the often injured Japanese star will be key here.

Pick: Wawrinka

(16) Victoria Azarenka vs. (17) Ekaterina Makarova, Ashe Stadium

Last year's finalist Azarenka continues fighting and grinding her way past her opponents. But how much longer can she keep that up considering she still is very up and down in her game right now.

Makaraova, who is enjoying a good summer, is on one of her solid streaks that she is known for. The tough lefty beat Azarenka in their last meeting in Madrid and will not be intimidated by the occasion. If Azarenka lifts her game, she should win. But don't be caught off guard if the Russian ends up as the second surprise semifinalist in this event.

Pick: Makarova


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