Gael Monfils, Peng Shuai coast through matches unscathed on Day 9
NEW YORK -- Day 8 of the U.S. Open belonged to Gael Monfils and Peng Shuai, both of whom are tearing through their respective draws.
Gael Monfils is into the quarterfinals without losing a set: It wasn't supposed to be that easy. But there was Monfils playing focused, drama-free, but dynamic tennis in the steaming heat to suffocate seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov and win 7-5, 7-6 (6), 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals. In fact, that's the type of tennis Monfils has been playing throughout this tournament. He hasn't found himself in long and protracted matches, meaning his tank will be relatively full as the quarterfinals begin. This is the first time in his career he's ever made a Slam quarterfinal without losing a set. The Frenchman is often derided for his flightiness and lack of intensity in matches, but huge props now for the professional effort he's put forth so far. He'll play Roger Federer.
Peng Shuai beats Belinda Bencic to make her first Slam semifinal: When Li Na withdrew from the U.S. Open, there were more than a few Chinese news agencies that chose not to send a reporters to New York to cover what was left of the Chinese contingent. Big mistake. No. 39 Peng Shuai advanced to her first Slam semifinal on Tuesday by defeating 17-year-old Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-1.
Behind some strong serving and a more aggressive stance on her two-handed forehand and backhand, Peng has picked apart her opponents throughout the tournament. She hasn't lost a set and will play Caroline Wozniacki. In 2008, Zheng Jie became the first Chinese woman to make the semifinals in singles at a Slam and Li followed her by eventually winning two Slam titles. Now it's Peng's turn to fly the flag.
Roger Federer cruises into the quarterfinals: He lost in the fourth round to Tommy Robredo last year but he's back in the quarterfinals this year, beating 17th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 64 63 62. Next up: Gael Monfils. The other quarterfinal was also set, as Tomas Berdych completely overmatched 20-year-old Dominic Thiem to win 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. He will play 14th seed Marin Cilic, who outlasted Gilles Simon to win 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in four hours and 13 minutes.
Caroline Wozniacki closed out the night session with a beatdown: The numbers speak for themselves. Wozniacki smacked 26 winners, served four aces, and dropped just one game to 13th seed Sara Errani -- the woman who beat Venus Williams in the third round -- to win 6-0, 6-1 in a little over an hour. To give some weight to how dominant a display this was, the most winners she hit in a match in this tournament before tonight was 22 against Sharapova. And that was an extended three-set match. The win puts the Dane back into her first Slam semifinal since the 2011 U.S. Open.
The Bryans survived an upset scare: The quest for their 100th title continues after they were able to save three break points at 4-all in the third set to beat Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. They'll play Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram in an all-American semifinal.
Serena and Venus Williams lose in doubles: There will be no doubles title this year at the U.S. Open. The Williams sisters lost 7-6 (5), 6-4 to Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. Serena called a medical timeout for her right foot during the match and double-faulted twice to get broken and lose the match.
CiCi Bellis out in the second round of the junior tournament: The top seed in the junior tournament, Bellis lost to Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia 7-6 (9), 2-6, 6-1.
Photo of the day
Video of the day
An old Adidas commercial featuring Peng discussing the heart surgery she had at 12-years-old:
GIF of the Day
GIF: US Open ballgirl makes great running grab of plastic bag blowing over the court (via @CJZero).
Quote of the Day
Q. He says he considers you the greatest player of all time and he tells us this is an opportunity he will tell his children about.
Federer: Okay, great (laughter). Is that a good thing? I don't know. I mean, I like the guy, you know. We always joke around and we always have a good talk. I think it's very fair once out on the court. It's tough but it's fair. I think our games match up nicely against each other. So, yeah, we played a good, tough match against each other just last week. Yeah, let's hope it's going to be memorable for everybody involved, especially the unborn children so far. (Laughter.)
Tweets of the day
ESPN showing Cilic-Simon instead of Monfils-Dimitrov, which is like preempting a highway car chase with a Senate finance hearing.— Chris Chase (@chaztopher) September 2, 2014
Umpire: "Ladies & gentlemen, Dimitrov's shoe broke, he has reasonable time to find a replacement." Off he goes. PA plays 'New Shoes' - nice.— Piers Newbery (@piersnewbery) September 2, 2014
"Why didn't you cut out all the BS and play like this when I was working with you?" -- all of Gael Monfils' coaches ever— Tom Perrotta (@TomPerrotta) September 2, 2014