Familiar faces like Roger Federer, who was eliminated from the tournament, and Rafael Nadal, who withdrew from the tournament will not being there. Will a new player step up to the plate and capture their first major or will Novak Djokovic defend his title from a year ago?
In the first semifinal, Andy Murray will take on Tomas Berdych. Many people had penciled in a Federer-Murray semifinal before the tournament started. Most figured Federer would hold up his end and it would be Murray who struggle. The latter seemed to be true as Murray was down a set and 5-1 to Marin Cilic during the quarterfinal match on Wednesday.
Murray found another gear winning the second set 7-6 in a tiebreaker. Murray would continue to play at a high level and take the next two sets with ease defeating Cilic in four very tough sets 3-6 7-6(4) 6-2 6-0. When asked by a reporter about a possible meeting with Federer in the semifinals Murray said, “Berdych was a good player and do not underestimate him because he has the game to pull an upset.”
Who knew Murray could see into the future and could be so right? Tomas Berdych pulled the upset at Arthur Ashe Stadium Wednesday night defeating Roger Federer in four sets 7-6(1) 6-4 3-6 6-3. Berdych found confidence in his game early, and Federer showed rust after having four days off as his fourth round opponent Mardy Fish withdrew for health reasons.
Berdych owns a winning record of 4-2 over Andy Murray going into their semifinal clash on Saturday. Berdych is a player who needs to play with confidence and after early exists at Wimbledon and the Olympics; Berdych is starting to gain that confidence again. Murray will have his hands full in this match but will Murray have enough left in the tank after the Cilic match?
If Murray wants to be on the same level as Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, he is going to have to win a major. Murray is playing well since winning the gold medal in singles, but he will need to get off to a fast start. If Murray keeps Berdych around in the match like Federer did, he could be in for a rude awakening.
The second semifinal features David Ferrer going against Novak Djokovic. When the draw came out many people figured this would be the matchup in this half of the men’s draw, but it did not look that way yesterday.
Ferrer was battling Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia for a right to go to the semifinals. Tipsarevic was looking to reach his first slam semifinal while Ferrer was looking to reach his fourth semifinal at a Grand Slam. It was a back and forth contest with shot making on the court that was masterful. Ferrer would ultimately defeat Tipsarevic in five grueling sets 6-3 (5)6-7 26 6-3 7-6(4).
Ferrer’s reward for a great victory will be the defending champion Novak Djokovic, who defeated the 2009 U.S. Open Champion Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets 6-2 7-6(3) 6-4. The match was billed as a battle of former champions, but it was Djokovic who would get revenge on Del Potro for his loss in the bronze medal match at the Olympics.
This semi–final match will be a tough matchup for Ferrer. Djokovic is looking like the player who won the three slams last year along with the Australian Open this year. He has yet to drop a set in the tournament.
The match on Saturday will be the 15th match between these two opponents as Djokovic leads 9-5. The last time these two players met was in Miami in March where Djokovic won in straights 6-2 7-6 in a best of three set format. Ferrer has spent more time on court for his matches than Djokovic’s . Can he muster enough energy to take three sets off the defending champion?
Odds are against him, but that is why they play the game on the court and not on the stat sheet. The edge will be with the defending champion, but if Ferrer can pull the upset it would be the first time since 2003 that four different men won the four different Grand Slam Events.
Action for the men’s semifinals begins Saturday around 11am and the winners will play on Sunday in the afternoon.
Note: It is first time since 2003 that Federer was not in the semifinals of the US Open. Berdych is going to his third semifinal and first semifinal since going to the final of Wimbledon in 2010. Djokovic reached his 10th straight Grand Slam semifinal.