|Victoria Azarenka after beating Aleksandra Krunic, at Flushing Meadows, on Monday
New York: Peng Shuai stormed into the semi-final at the US Open, at the Flushing Meadows, on Tuesday. The unseeded Shuai from China beat Swiss Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-1.
Earlier, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic kept their time in blazing conditions to a bare minimum on Monday as they breezed into the quarter finals but Eugenie Bouchard’s hopes of a maiden Grand Slam title melted away in the heat.
Djokovic charged past Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 to set up a blockbuster meeting with long-time rival Andy Murray, who booked his own place in the last eight with a steamy 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 win over ninth seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Serena warmed up for her match in the mid-day sun sporting a black dinner jacket over her pink leopard print dress and then turned back the frustrations of a disappointing season at the majors by hammering Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3.
Gunning for her third consecutive US Open title, Serena made something of a Grand Slam breakthrough for 2014 by reaching the last eight. “I finally made a quarter final this year!” she shouted to the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd with arms upraised. “Glad to do it in New York.”
Third seed Stanislas Wawrinka, 10th seed Kei Nishikori and twice Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka avoided the worst of the heat by playing under the evening floodlights but they were still made to sweat for their wins.
No one work harder, or longer, for their victory than Japan’s Nishikori, who needed five sets and four hours and 19 minutes to tame fifth seeded Canadian Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4. With on-court temperatures hovering near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius), it was another day of survival of the fittest at Flushing Meadows and seventh seed Bouchard was simply not up to the challenge.
The 20-year-old Canadian’s bid for a fourth consecutive Grand Slam semi-final appearance came to a distressing end with a 7-6 (2), 6-4 loss to Russian Ekaterina Makarova.
Makarova will next face 16th seed Azarenka, who overcame an inspired challenge from qualifier Aleksandra Krunic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to end the diminutive Serb’s magical run to the fourth round.
Next up for Serena is Italian 11th seed Flavia Pennetta, a semi-finalist last year, who advanced with a 7-5, 6-2 win against 29th-seeded Australian Casey Dellacqua. Wawrinka fought off two set points in the pivotal third set on the way to a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2 win over Tommy Robredo.
Among Indians, Sania Mirza stormed into the mixed doubles semi-finals besides reaching the doubles quarter finals, but compatriot Leander Paes exited with unexpected defeats in both his events.
Top seeds Sania, alongside Brazilian partner Bruno Soares, beat the Indo-Slovenian duo of Rohana Bopanna and Katarina Srebotnik 7-5, 2-6, 10-5 in the mixed doubles quarter finals. The Hyderabad star made the women’s quarter finals with Cara Black, defeating Czech-Serbian combine of Klara Koukalova and Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-2. The third seeds next play China’s Yi-Fan Xu and Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas. Sania has not won a title yet at the US Open.
However, veteran Paes had a forgettable outing. He and his experienced men’s doubles partner Radek Stepanek lost to Spain’s Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 2-6, 6-4, 1-6 in the third round. The 41-year-old teamed up with Zimbabwe veteran Cara Black in the mixed doubles. The third seeds failed to get going against the American-Mexican partnership of Abigail Spears and Santiago Gonzalez, losing the quarter final 4-6, 6-4, 8-10 in the Super Tie-Break.
In the junior boys round one, Sumit Nagpal got past Viktor Durasovic of Norway 6-3, 6-4. (Agencies)