Bryan Armen Graham
Wednesday September 8th, 2010

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils (above) is through to the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the first time after beating. (AP)

 

SI.com’s daily menu of must-see happenings at the U.S. Open (all times Eastern).

No. 17 Gael Monfils vs. No. 3 Novak Djokovic (Arthur Ashe Stadium, third match): The youngest player left in the men's draw, Djokovic is looking to make the semifinals here for the fourth straight year. He'll need to get past Monfils, a first-time U.S. Open quarterfinalist whose sheer athleticism and high-risk approach makes for one of the most exciting packages on tour. Monfils has underwhelmed against the game's elite: He's just 2-14 against players in the top three with a streak of five straight losses. But a lower rate of unforced errors at this year's Open underscores an improved commitment to discipline. Can the elastic Monfils become just the second Frenchman (after Cedric Pioline) to make the U.S. Open semifinals in the Open Era?

No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki vs. Dominika Cibulkova (Arthur Ashe Stadium, 7 p.m.): The top-seeded Wozniacki has dropped just 10 games in reaching the last eight, the fewest games conceded in reaching the quarters since Serena Williams in 2002. She's 18-1 since Wimbledon and playing with full reserves of confidence at Flushing Meadows, having made the final here a year ago. She's a heavy favorite against the 5-foot-3 Cibulkova, the shortest player in the Top 100, the lone player in the Top 50 without a singles title and the lowest-ranked player left on the women's side. The 21-year-old Slovakian is trying to become the ninth unseeded woman to reach the semifinals in the Open Era.

No. 5 Robin Soderling vs. No. 2 Roger Federer (Arthur Ashe Stadium, last match): Looking at the head-to-head record -- Federer leads 12-1 -- you wouldn't think Wednesday's nightcap was a potential hiccup for Federer. But this is fast becoming one of the sport's more compelling rivalries, a feud heightened by Soderling's victory in this year's French Open quarters to snap Federer's record streak of 23 straight Grand Slam semifinal appearances. They've now met in five of the past seven majors. Others to watch: No. 31 Kaia Kanepi vs. No. 7 Vera Zvonareva (Arthur Ashe Stadium, 1 p.m.); Eduardo Schwank/Horacio Zeballos vs. No. 16 Rohan Bopanna/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (Louis Armstrong Stadium, third match); No. 1 Liezel Huber/Bob Bryan vs. No. 4 Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Daniel Nestor (Louis Armstrong Stadium, fourth match).

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