2012 US Open Day 7: Five Matches To Watch

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The fourth round of the women’s tournament begins and the men continue to battle in third round encounters. These are my top five picks for today.

[19] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [9] John Isner (USA) Arthur Ashe Stadium (H2H John Isner 3-0)

No.1 American John Isner finally gets scheduled for the night session this tournament and takes on a similarly big server in opponent Philipp Kohlschreiber. It is clear that Isner is a fan favourite in America and despite the criticism by some of his game, there is no doubt that his matches are often dramatic due to the nature of the tiebreakers that his matches often contain. While many feel that a deep run for Isner is reliant on not playing long matches early, he could suffer here. Neither of the pair’s first two matches ended in straight sets with Kohlschreiber needing five to defeat Benoit Paire last time round. A tiebreak does look a certainty too – Isner and Kohlschreiber have played seven already in four matches here while the three previous meetings also saw them play one each.

[3] Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs [19] Nadia Petrova (RUS) Arthur Ashe Stadium (H2H Maria Sharapova 8-2)

Since winning the tournament in 2006, it would be fair to see that Maria Sharapova hasn’t had the greatest of success in New York. She has failed to go any further than the fourth round in the 5 years since her 2006 title. However, it would be reasonable to say that Sharapova is in her best form since recovering from injury a few years back, having made three slam finals in her last five attempts. While the opposition hasn’t been all that great, Sharapova has been dominant in the early rounds dropping just seven games over six sets. I expect a rejuvenated Nadia Petrova to pose much more trouble if her serve is working properly. She saw off tricky opponents in Lucie Safarova and Simona Halep in straight sets to get here.

[WC] Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) vs [4] David Ferrer (ESP) Louis Armstrong Stadium (H2H 1-1)

After fellow Australian Bernard Tomic’s alleged ‘tanking’ antics in his defeat to Andy Roddick, Australian fans will be hoping for much better from the number two Aussie and former US Open champion when he takes on David Ferrer. Hewitt has fought back in both matches to win, from 1-0 down against Tobias Kamke and from 2-1 down against Gilles Muller. He won’t be able to afford to drop the first set against a far superior opponent. While nowhere near his former level, Hewitt has still shown glimpses of the talent that saw him to No.1 a long time ago including taking sets off Novak Djokovic in London and Melbourne.

Laura Robson (GBR) vs [7] Samantha Stosur (AUS) Louis Armstrong Stadium

It seems bizarre that someone beating three grand slam champions in a row just to make the quarter finals could occur, but this is what Laura Robson has the chance to achieve when she takes on defending champion Sam Stosur. After ending the singles career of Kim Clijsters, Robson then took out one of the pre tournament favourites in Na Li in three sets. While her talents have never been in doubt, her composure and nerves often falter at key moments and it was incredibly impressive to see very few lapses from her in either of these matches. Meanwhile, Stosur has come through her matches with the minimum fuss winning all three in straight sets. It could well be one match too far for Robson but she has already won against the odds twice now.

[11] Marion Bartoli (FRA) vs [5] Petra Kvitova (CZE) Grandstand (H2H 2-2)

This could well be the match of the day as US Open Series winner Petra Kvitova takes on a tricky opponent in Marion Bartoli. As a confidence/streak player the two titles Kvitova picked up in New Haven and Montreal will help her massively and she is a definite challenger for the title if she keeps up this form. Bartoli has yet to pick up a title on the year and struggled past lowly ranked opponents in the earlier rounds, making hard work especially of Romina Oprandi. Kvitova has took the last two meetings including Montreal where she dropped just two games and definitely is capable of doing so again if she gets off to a fast start. While at times the level of tennis was poor, Bartoli showed excellent fight in the Oprandi match to grind out a victory when she wasn’t playing all that well and will need to be similarly strong tonight.

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