Dave Worsley: Fearless US Open quarter-final predictions

OPINION: It's quarter-finals time at the US Open, so here a few bold predictions, which will either confuse you or send you on a path of enlightenment.

Starting at the top of the men’s draw, where surprisingly top seed and defending champ Novak Djokovic is no longer around. In fact, it's little wonder why.

His draw had him facing former champ Stan Wawrinka, in-form Russian fifth seed Daniil Medvedev and then probably Federer in his fourth round, quarter-final and semi, before most likely taking on Rafa Nadal. Talk about difficult.

But in the meantime, Wawrinka and Medvedev will clash in what really could be a fun match to watch. Medvedev could get booed by the crowd again and he’ll love it - again. Wawrinka hits great shots and has a beautiful backhand, all while looking like he’s just got out of bed after one heck of a night out on the town. What’s not to like?

It’s a 50-50 match with either player giving the crowd something to watch. Flip a coin, and maybe drink some vodka.

Then there’s Fed against the former ‘Baby’ Fed - Grigor Dimitrov. No wonder the Bulgarian hated the nickname. He’s always struggled to beat Federer and should do so again, especially since he’s fallen out of the top 50 and the Swiss master appears to be hitting his stride.

On the bottom side of the draw is big Italian Matteo Berreittini up against the slightly erratic Gael Monfils.

The Italian has had a great year, including reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon, and now he's in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

But Monfils has tasted success at the majors in the past, although he's still a tad shaky. Count this one as a ‘whoever wins will lose to Nadal’ match.

The final men’s quarters match is three-time winner Rafael Nadal against Diego Schwartzman. Nadal has a 7-0 record against the Argentine and don’t expect anything to change now.As much as everyone loves the little guy (he’s only 5ft 7in), Schwartzman just hasn’t got the guns to damage an in-form, pumped-up Nadal.

Can Williams keep her cool in the quarters?
Can Williams keep her cool in the quarters? Photo credit: Getty

Over to the women’s quarters, where Serena Williams has 23 Grand Slams titles to her credit. The rest of the field has… zip. Zero. Zilch.

Williams takes on Wang Girang, who was coached by the late Aussie great Pere McNamara. The Chinese player is better than you think, but not good enough to beat Williams. The American is hitting form and only another brain explosion will destroy her chances of making the semis.

Then there’s the battle of the 'quirkies' featuring Elina Svitolina, who is attached to men’s player Gael Monfils and just happens to be a very good tennis player, who has never achieved what her ranking has suggested. She plays Brit Jo Konta, who some days scolds media and the next won’t shut up with some of the most random stories you'll ever hear.

Will actor Tom Hiddleston be in the crowd for her match again? Are they more than friends? Actually the care factor is close to zero.

So, who is going to win, rather, whose brain will go walkabout and not return until they're facing match point. It’s that sort of game. A three-setter, which neither player seems to be able to win.

'Swiss Miss' Belinda Bencic takes on Donna Vekic at the top of the women’s draw, with the latter having to come back from two set points down to advance past the round of 16. Bencic can consider Naomi Osaka her bunny, she’s beaten her three times in a row.

Meanwhile, Elise Mertens from Belgium is good. Really good. She reached the semis at the Aussie Open last year and has lost only 16 games in her four matches up to the quarters. She’ll play either the unorthodox Taylor Townsend or the very talented, but possibly in need of a rest, Bianca Andreescu.

In this case, Mertens could be the goods against either of her tactical opponents.

Disclaimer: Anyone who puts money on these predictions is silly. Unless they all come true.

Dave Worsley is a Newshub sports producer, in New York City covering his 14th US Open.

 

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