We review the two completed matches of Day 9 as well as the handful of games played in the other four encounters. Scanning the forecast, another day of chronic delays should lie ahead on Wedesday.
Azarenka d. Stosur: For those familiar with their history, the first set confirmed expectations when the top seed dropped a breadstick on a feckless defending champion. To her credit, Stosur rallied bravely from that ghastly start to win her first set ever against Azarenka with an avalanche of timely forehands that skidded off the fast court. But Vika continued to threaten in most of her return games, subjecting the Australian to pressure that eventually bore fruit with a break early in the third set. Continuing to muster impressive resistance, though, Stosur recaptured not only that break but another later in the set before holding serve with her back to the wall to force a tiebreak. There, Azarenka surged ahead yet again to build a 4-0 lead, only to drop five of the next six points. A pair of fortuitous ball bounces, one on the net and one on the baseline, ended a match in which little separated the two competitors over the last two sets. Although Azarenka reaches her first US Open semifinal and third major semifinal of the season, the greater headline perhaps belongs to Stosur for battling so vigorously against a perennial nemesis of hers. This US Open title defense ended as well as she could have expected, while her opponent should fancy her chances to reach a second straight final at a hard-court major.
Ferrer d. Gasquet: Like Azarenka and Stosur, this pair had not produced any encounter of excitement before. Also like Azarenka and Stosur, they managed to collaborate on their most closely contested match to date, although much of the intrigue stemmed from Ferrer’s struggle to finish off the Frenchman late in each set. Each of the first two sets reached 5-5 as both men squandered several opportunities to charge ahead, and both men struck second serves slower than many WTA second serves. Despite serving below 50% with eight double faults, Ferrer again managed to win the key points and return from a lengthy ran delay without losing his focus. He has reached the quarterfinals at every major this year, a remarkable achievement for anyone outside the top four.
Sharapova vs. Bartoli (susp. 0-4): Having led their previous meetings 4-0, the 2006 champion quickly trailed their fifth by the same score in games. Through the first four games, Sharapova won just seven total points as lethargy afflicted her footwork. By contrast, Bartoli began where she ended her previous upset over Kvitova, brimming with energy during and between points. The rain intervened not a moment too soon for Sharapova, who used a similar delay to regroup in the fourth round against Petrova. If the match does start according to plan at 11 AM, an unlikely possibility considering the forecast, she may struggle to rouse herself at an hour much earlier than she normally plays.
Roddick vs. Del Potro (susp. 6-6): When the umpire finally decided (much too late) to suspend play, the 2003 champion had won the first point in a first-set tiebreak from the 2009 champion. Roddick probably should have closed out the set well before then, starting with almost flawless serving and even swinging through his backhand with confidence. Soon trailing 2-5, 15-30, Del Potro looked listless and lost for ideas—until a flurry of untimely errors brought him back into the match on serve. Once at 5-5, he began to seize the initiative with precisely measured forehands and more efficient returning. As the tiebreak began, then, one would have handed the favorite a slight edge. The home hope must recover from the disappointment of failing to secure the first set when he served for it at 30-0, not a situation in which he usually falls short.
Djokovic vs. Wawrinka (susp. 2-0): On court for less than ten minutes before the rain intervened, the defending champion escaped a slightly shaky opening service game and then won five straight points in a return game that he initially trailed 40-0. The impending weather interruption appeared to distract the players, both of whom rely on a more rhythmic style. For Djokovic, should he win, awaits the prospect of possibly contesting three best-of-five matches in four days. Fortunately, however, the elements appear likely to forestall that nightmare and require a fifth straight Monday final.
Tipsarevic vs. Kohlschreiber (susp. 5-2): The forgotten match of the day, this understated Grandstand encounter moved in the expected direction without much ado. Seeking his second straight quarterfinal in New York, Tipsarevic survived a difficult opening service game and broke the German not long afterwards. When the rain arrived, Kohlschreiber tottered within two points of losing the set, serving at deuce. The winner will find himself at a disadvantage against Ferrer in a projected Thursday quarterfinal, not that the Spaniard needed any external assistance against one of two opponents clearly below his level.