The last four men in contention for the title of US Open men’s singles title are in action on Friday in New York trying to book their places in the championship match.
And the timings have changed after incessant rain put paid to the day’s singles play at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre on Thursday.
So, Friday’s schedule sees the two women’s singles semi finals start from 16:00 UK time (11:00 local), so the men’s semis should begin at around 22:00 UK time (17:00 local).
We saw two big upsets involving Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic a year ago in the semi finals here at the US Open when the Swiss was beaten by 3.82 chance Marin Cilic, who Djokovic faces today, and the Serb was stunned by 5.72 shot Kei Nishikori.
There should be no problems with the weather today, with a sunny and occasionally cloudy day with no chance of rain expected, and the temperature should be around 25C this evening.
Roger Federer vs Stanislas Wawrinka
It’s another all-Swiss clash in the latter stages of a major and this will be the sixth straight time that Federer and Wawrinka have met at a quarter final or later since last April.
Wawrinka has won two and Federer four in that little part of their head-to-head, which overall stands at 16-3 to the elder Swiss star, who is yet to taste defeat on a hard court against the younger man.
It’s 11-0 on indoor and outdoor hard to Federer, but a great many of the older matches are more or less totally irrelevant, as they are so long ago and both men are very different players in 2015.
Stan came within a point of beating Roger in their last hard court clash, which was at the end of last season at the World Tour Finals in an acrimonious clash involving yelling from Mirka Federer on the sidelines.
Since then Federer thrashed Wawrinka in Rome on clay, but was then handed a straight sets defeat himself at the hands of Wawrinka in the French Open quarter finals in their last meeting.
Wawrinka is a different proposition these days to the man who was cowed by playing his superior countryman and with two major titles under his belt these days his approach is a much more confident one.
We had a good winner with Wawrinka over Kevin Anderson the other day and again that match was a good example of Stan raising his level at the business end of major tournaments after mediocre opening weeks.
He’s used to being at this stage in Grand Slams now, with four prior major semi finals contested and he’s only been beaten in the ones he lost in five set matches against Novak Djokovic.
Federer has cruised through to the last four with a draw that worked out easier than it first appeared after injury to Marcos Baghdatis and a loss for Tomas Berdych and he’s taken full advantage of it.
It could certainly be argued that he’s played tame opponents, with the exception of the tricky John Isner, but he’s been hugely impressive in a stroll to the last four.
I think we’re all set up for a really entertaining match here, with both in good form and hopefully fit and ready for what I expect will be a closer match than the odds suggest.
Federer has lost six of his last nine semi finals in majors and he hasn’t won one on a hard court since the 2010 Australian Open and despite his majestic progress this fortnight the doubts over best-of-five sets linger in my mind.
If this goes long I would really doubt the ability of Federer to see it through, given that he hasn’t won a match 3-2 against a top-five opponent since the 2009 French Open against Juan Martin Del Potro.
His best chance lies early and a 3-0 win for Federer at 2.50 or 3-1 at 3.80 look better than the skinny 1.28 on the match odds on Fed here.
But I prefer the 11.0 about Wawrinka taking a 3-2 win in this one, with his ability to battle it out over five sets superior to my mind than Federer’s, and that looks the one for ‘long shot’ backers.
‘Sure thing’ backers will look to the over 31.5 games at 1.32, but I just think that the layers have put too much emphasis on Federer’s impressive recent form here, and he’s shorter by quite a way than he was in the French Open in June.
Fed was a 1.44 shot that day and I think that’s a more accurate reflection of the likelihood of a Federer win here, so for me the value is on Stan’s side of the net tonight.
Federer backers should look to a 3-0 or 3-1 win and therefore the 1.58 about Federer -1.5 sets is the call, but we haven’t really seen a five set battle between the big names yet this year and just feel that we’re due one.
A year ago we had Federer and Monfils and Nishikori and Wawrinka produce thrillers in the latter stages and this looks the one to get the pulse racing again.
Long shot: Back Wawrinka to beat Federer 3-2 at 11.0