Friday September 9th, 2011

Weather has wreaked havoc on the U.S. Open schedule, so the bottom half of the men's quarterfinals will wrap up Friday, weather permitting. In addition to the men squaring off on Ashe, keep your eyes on a few other matches on the schedule.

John Isner vs. Andy Murray (first match, Ashe): The big question here is whether Isner will be able to hold serve. Get it into a tiebreak and the big man has a chance, but with Murray being one of the best returners in the game, and Isner having had to play a tough four-setter against Gilles Simon on Thursday, you have to tip the Scot to come out on top. If Isner can hold his serve and force tiebreak after tiebreak, he's got a shot. But I expect a fresher Murray to take care of business fairly quickly. The American has to be wiped.

Andy Roddick vs. Rafael Nadal (second match, Ashe): There's just something about Roddick's run here that reeks of destiny. He came into the tournament nursing an injury and he's been sublime, both on and off the court (he's been killing it in his press conferences). That said, Nadal has grown in confidence with each match, and if Roddick is not willing to take the match to Rafa by attacking the net and hitting out on his forehand, you get the sense that the defending champion will steamroll him. But there's a calmness about Roddick that intrigues me, and with that big serve, an upset isn't out of the question. I'm going with Nadal in three sets, but we'll have to see.

Jack Sock/Melanie Oudin vs. Gisela Dulko/Eduardo Schwank (mixed doubles finals, third match, Ashe): The young Americans find themselves in the finals of mixed doubles against two Argentine veterans. Despite their youth, the American pair is clicking, with Oudin describing their chemistry as one of "an old married couple." It's working so far. Even if it's just mixed doubles, it would be nice to see Oudin in the winner's circle. She's had to endure so much since her U.S. Open run in 2009. Let's get the kid smiling again. Esther Vergeer vs. Annick Sevenans (wheelchair women's singles semifinals, second match, Court 6): Vergeer is one of the more remarkable stories that few have heard about. The last time she lost a singles match was in January 2003, and she's won more than 400 consecutive matches since then. Unfortunately, the weather has forced tournament organizers to front-load all the matches in the morning, so she'll likely be playing at the same time as Roddick-Nadal, depending how quickly the earlier matches play out. If you can't get out to Court 6 for her morning singles match, you'll get another chance when she plays her semifinal doubles match in the fourth match on the same court. And probably more chances when the finals roll around.

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