Red Hot Favourites
Roger Federer is the reddest of red hot favourites as he takes on the German, Bjorn Phau, who is ranked at number 83. Put simply, Federer does not lose these matches. The last player from outside the top 30 to beat him at a Grand Slam was Luis Horna way back in 2003. Phau will chase down a lot of balls, but has no weapons that will make even a dent in Federer’s armour. In two prior meetings, Federer has not dropped a set and it would be a major surprise if he does in Flushing Meadows.
Second seed, Agnieszka Radwanska, has gone under the radar in the build-up to this tournament. She has been struggling with her fitness and injury problems, but hammered Nina Bratchikova in the first round, and Carla Suarez Navarro is unlikely really to cause her any stress. The Pole leads the head-to-head 2-0 without dropping a set, and she is a superior player now than she was in either of those matches.
Serena Williams is the strong favourite to lift the title and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez is unlikely to prove much of a test for the American. The bigger concern is that she appeared to twist her ankle during her doubles match yesterday and the most interesting aspect of this match is likely to be whether that seems to affect her movement at all.
Ana Ivanovic has an excellent opportunity to reach her first quarter-final since she lifted the French Open back in 2008. She came through her first round match with relative ease and the head-to-head would suggest that Sofia Arvidsson should not prove too difficult. Ivanovic leads 4-1 with Arvidsson’s only victory coming way back in 2003. Victory here will likely set up an intriguing third round encounter with Sloane Stephens.
Sara Errani has been one of the success stories of the year. A wonderful clay court season was the highlight, but she has successfully transferred her form to the hard courts with solid victories over Marion Bartoli and Daniella Hantuchova. She struggled through the first round, but Vera Dushevina, who has never passed the third round here, is unlikely to trouble the much improved Italian.
Milos Raonic has made great strides over the past two years, but he should have been eliminated in the first round by Santiago Giraldo. He was struggling with his serve and his ground strokes, and it was only a fourth set collapse from Giraldo that allowed him to continue. Paul-Henri Mathieu battled well to come from 2-0 down against Igor Andreev and he has the ability to trouble the young Canadian. Raonic should win this, but Mathieu is certainly not without a chance.
Roberta Vinci came into this tournament off the back of a title in Dallas, albeit against a poor field. However, her record in Flushing Meadows is very poor, having failed to pass the second round on all bar one visits. She faces the talent Kazakh, Yaroslava Shvedova, who is finding her best form against after injury. The head-to-head is 1-0 in favour of the Italian, but Shvedova is playing much better now, and she could cause a slight upset tomorrow.
Match of the Day
The highlight of Day 4 is undoubtedly the final contest on Arthur Ashe as Angelique Kerber takes on Venus Williams. The German has had a stunning rise up the rankings over the past 12 months and comes into this event as the sixth seed. Her run to the final in Cincinnati saw her dispatch Venus’ sister and Kvitova and she is in excellent form. Despite the fact that Venus is down at number 46 in the rankings, she is always a threat as she showed in reaching the semi-final in Cincinnati. The two-time US Open champion is far from the force that she once was, but she will be hoping to roll back the years. They have played twice already this year with Kerber winning in straight sets on both occasions, but in front of her home crowd, Venus will be a different proposition.