The remaining spots in the last four of the 2015 US Open are up for grabs on Wednesday, with four major winners in action today at Flushing Meadows.
Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova all play on Wednesday on day 10 of the final major of the season and Simona Halep and Kevin Anderson are also in action today.
Twitter followers would have noted that there were plenty of rumours doing the rounds yesterday surrounding the condition of Marin Cilic and his ankle ahead of the defending champion’s clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
But it was actually Tsonga that had the trainer on during the match and there were no signs of the problem for Cilic at all, although he did make it harder for himself than he perhaps should have done by failing to take three match points for a 3-1 win, however he got himself back together in time to see out a five set success.
And the 'sure thing' was also a winner easily when Serena and Venus Williams went long and only one game short of the 24.5 games that I suggested as a big-priced alternative.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs Kevin Anderson
Anderson played in his own words; ‘one of the best matches of my career’, in a well-deserved victory over Andy Murray in the fourth round and he’ll fancy his chances again here versus Wawrinka.
In one of the most difficult to fathom head-to-heads at the top of the men’s game Anderson has won the last four matches against Wawrinka and after that win over Murray he’ll be buzzing to make the semis here.
The big South African shouldn’t be that fatigued today, even after a four-hour-plus marathon against Murray, as he had had a day off and in his first US Open quarter final that shouldn’t bother him.
Against Anderson is his lack of experience of playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium Court, while Wawrinka played Donald Young on it two days ago in a typically patchy four set success.
Wawrinka has a very good record against big servers, but for some reason he’s found Anderson impossible to overcome after winning the first three matches in their career series.
Some of that can be put down to a lack of application, but not really, as all four of his losses to Anderson in the last two seasons have been close, with six tie breaks and two 7-5s in those four defeats.
The one this year was on grass at Queen’s and it was a couple of tie breaks there and a lot of this one will depend on Anderson’s serve and if it will be as effective on Ashe as it was on Armstrong against Murray.
Six of their seven career meetings have come at Masters 1000 level and none over the best-of-five and Anderson does look a tad short at 2.20 to win three out of five sets against the Swiss.
Wawrinka’s form hasn’t been much to write home about this tournament so far in what was always going to be a straightforward draw to this stage and he will need to step it up, but that’s something he’s more than capable of.
Anderson certainly has a decent chance, but his recent exploits against Wawrinka and that win over Murray have made him too short for my liking and there looks a hint of value on Stan here for me.
His experience at this stage of majors – this will be his 11th Grand Slam quarter final – could be key, with Anderson in his first quarter final at any major, and playing on an unfamiliar court.
And it’s not just any old court, it’s Arthur Ashe Stadium Court, which is unique, and that puts me off the over 10.5 games bet in set one, which would normally be a good pick between these two.
Their last four opening sets have all gone to breakers, but Anderson has shown many times in the past that he’s a nervy sort and that combined with the conditions on Ashe lead me to the value on Stan here.
The French Open champion’s last four starting prices against Anderson have been 4.55, 3.45, 2.61, and 2.84 and the odds seem to have swung too far the other way in what is a huge match for Anderson.
Petra Kvitova vs Flavia Pennetta
This ladies quarter final appears to be a good opportunity for Kvitova to continue her new found love affair with New York after making the last eight here for the first time in eight years of trying.
It’s always been assumed that the asthmatic Kvitova struggled here due to the heat and humidity, but it’s been both in spades this fortnight and she’s cruised through to the quarters without dropping a set.
Written off by most at the start of the tournament due to her bout of mono and poor record here the Czech produced another controlled display against peaking Brit Johanna Konta on Monday night.
That one was fairly tight, but Kvitova always looked in control, and a repeat of that sort of display should see her ease past Pennetta, who is playing her fourth straight quarter final at the US Open.
The Italian also produced a fine display to beat Sam Stosur for the umpteenth time on Monday and this will be her sixth time in the last eight in New York, but she’s only won one of the previous five.
A fine all-round player on her day and especially here in New York one gets the feeling that a last eight or a last four spot is about her level, while Kvitova is a genuine threat for the title now.
The head-to-head reads 3-3, with Pennetta winning the first three and Kvitova taking the most recent three, but they haven’t met for over three years now, so there isn’t much to be read into it.
Kvitova has a 9-1 record as a 1.20 to 1.30 favourite in majors, with the only loss coming here to Marion Bartoli in 2012 after winning the opening set 6-1.
She’s won the last six in straight sets, including here this week against Anna Schmiedlova, and although it may go three it looks good for Kvitova today.
The second ladies quarter final looks a tough one to call given the injury status of Simona Halep, who has been put in as a 2.90 underdog here, largely due to an obvious thigh problem.
Halep should have been beaten by Sabine Lisicki and if she’s not in better shape here she could get walloped by Vika Azarenka, who Halep hasn’t faced since back in 2012 when the Romanian was number 46 in the world.
Vika though has only won one of her five career matches as a 1.40 to 1.50 favourite when facing a top-10 opponent and that was against Caroline Wozniacki in Cincy a few weeks ago and she doesn’t seem great value today – and especially not if Halep has managed to shake off that injury.
Sure thing: Back Kvitova to beat Pennetta at 1.30
Value bet: Back Wawrinka to beat Anderson at 1.68