Del Potro, Wawrinka, Murray And Nishikori Vie For SFs
Argentine wild card continues comeback
Continuing his comeback from wrist surgeries, Juan Martin del Potro is through to his first Grand Slam quarter-final since Wimbledon three years ago. Needing a wild card to make the main draw, the World No. 142 in the Emirates ATP Rankings is the lowest-ranked US Open quarter-finalist since No. 174 Jimmy Connors reached the semi-finals in 1991.
In 2009, del Potro snapped Roger Federer’s 40-match US Open winning streak, having dismissed Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, to claim his maiden Grand Slam title. The Argentine has spent much of his time since 2009 healing the wrists that lifted the championship trophy on Arthur Ashe Stadium seven years ago.
He will need to defeat his fourth-seeded opponent of this year’s US Open when he meets Australian Open and Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka for a place in the semi-finals. The 27 year old has beaten the Swiss No. 3 seed in four of six FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters, including in the second round at Wimbledon this year.
Where del Potro has cruised into the last eight without the loss of a set, Wawrinka has had a tougher time of it, saving match point in a five-set third-round match against Daniel Evans before holding off Ilya Marchenko in four sets to progress to his fourth straight US Open quarter-final.
In Wednesday’s other semi-final, second seed and 2012 champion Andy Murray takes on 2014 runner-up, No. 6 seed Kei Nishikori. Murray is 26-1 since finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros and he has advanced to seven straight finals on tour, including a title run at Wimbledon.
The Scot dropped just five games in the fourth round against Grigor Dimitrov, the fewest he has dropped at the US Open since the 2007 first round (d. Cuevas 6-2, 6-3, 6-0). He has won his past six Grand Slam quarter-final matches and will carry a 7-1 FedEx Head2Head record into his clash with the 26-year-old Japanese player.
Nishikori landed his first straight-sets win of the tournament when he defeated Ivo Karlovic in the fourth round. He will look to continue his solid run of form on North American hard courts this season, following a fourth straight Memphis title in February (d. Fritz) and runner-up appearances at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Miami and Toronto (l. Djokovic both times).