US Open Men’s Singles: Round of 16 preview


Sports Nova brings to you an analysis of the eight matches of the fourth round of Men’s Singles in US Open 2014.

Top Half:

Philip Kohlschreiber has survived Week 1 of the US Open for the third consecutive time, and will look to reach his first quarter-final here in his Labor Day showdown against top-seed Novak Djokovic. The Serb, who currently leads the head-to-head against his German opponent 4-1 (2-0 on hard), is yet to lose a fourth round match in this tournament, and is aiming to reach the semi-finals for the eighth consecutive time.

Whoever wins this goes on to face the winner of the block-buster prequarter-final between Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Murray won his first major here two years back, while Tsonga has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals. But Tsonga won his second Masters title three weeks back at Toronto, including a quarter-final win over Murray, while Murray’s season so far can be described as average at best. Murray is 9-2 against Tsonga, but their only previous meeting at a hard-court major was in the first round of the 2008 Australian Open, which was Tsonga’s only other victory in their head-to-head.

Vying for a spot in the other top-half quarterfinal, we have Melbourne titlist Stanislas Wawrinka go up against veteran Tommy Robredo. Wawrinka made his first Grand Slam semi-final appearance here last year, dismissing defending champion Andy Murray in the quarters. Robredo, who is making his thirteenth Main Draw appearance last year, reached the quarter-finals last year after stunning five-times champion Roger Federer.  Wawrinka, who trails the head-to-head 2-6 (2-2 on hard), won their most recent encounter at the Australian Open this year. They met at this tournament once before, in 2006, when Robredo won in straight sets.

For the other spot, youngsters Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic will play each other in the last prequarter-final of the top-half. Both broke into the Top 10 for the first time this year, and neither has advanced beyond this round at the US Open. Nishikori reached the Fourth Round on debut in 2008, and has never managed to come this far since, while Raonic is playing at this round for the third consecutive year. Nishikori leads the head-to-head 2-1, conceding their latest encounter at the Wimbledon Round of 16 this year, which was also their first meeting in a major.




Main Draw debutant Dominic Thiem has had an incredible Week 1, and now faces 2012 semi-finalist Tomas Berdych in their first tour-level meeting. In the five Fourth Round matches Berdych has played, he has managed to get through only once, against Nicholas Almagro in 2012. Thiem, who turns 21 on Wednesday, making him the youngest Top 50 player at the moment, made his Grand Slam debut at Melbourne this year, but did not progress beyond the second round before coming here.

The winner of this tie will face either Marin Cilic or Gilles Simon. Cilic has had a decent year, making his first Wimbledon quarter-finals, and will look to progress to the quarter-finals here for the third time, while Simon’s best performance here was a Fourth Round appearance in 2011. But Cilic is yet to win a match against his French opponent in four previous meetings, including twice in majors.  The two last met at the Second Round of Australian Open this year, where Simon rallied from a set down after the third to win in five sets.

For the final quarter-final, another Frenchman Gael Monfils will play Grigor Dimitrov in what could be the most spectacular match of this round. The two, both well-known for their on-court flamboyance, have split their two previous meetings. Monfils won their 2011 meeting at this tournament in straight sets, but retired while trailing the first set at Bucharest this year, while Dimitrov went on to win the title. Monfils has one previous quarter-final appearance here in 2011, while Dimitrov had never progressed beyond the First Round in his three previous Main Draw appearances.

And finally, in the last prequarter-final, Roger Federer faces Roberto Bautista-Agut in their first ever tour-level meeting. Federer is playing at the Fourth Round of the US Open for the fourteenth consecutive year, and is 9-4 so far, including his loss to Tommy Robredo last year. Bautista-Agut has had a great season, winning his maiden titles and breaking into the Top 20. He has never progressed beyond the Fourth Round of a Grand Slam tournament.