Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
COME BACK FOR LIVE SCORES & LIVE BLOG FROM 26 JUNE
Stan Wawrinka d. Juan Martin del Potro 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
At 1-1 in the fourth set, with Murray leading two sets to one, the Brit was in control of the rally on break point when one of the digital audio sound processors on Arthur Ashe malfunctioned, sounding out a loud gong which reverberated around the stadium. The umpire stopped the point and ordered it to be replayed, a move which Murray strongly disagreed with and when he netted a shot on the next play he let his frustrations spill out into the next point, the next game and ultimately the remainder of the set. Even a lingering butterfly felt Murray’s wrath early in the fifth when he took a swipe at the floating insect.
All the credit must go to Nishikori though. He was connecting beautifully with the sweetspot on his forehand and his drop shots were magnificent. He played some nerveless, aggressive tennis down the stretch but the most impressive aspect was when he did make an error - like the basic forehand volley he pushed into the net at 40-40, 4-4 in the decider - he swept it aside, clearing his mind in time for the next point.
“I think especially today I did great, you know,” said Nishikori. “Especially during the fourth and fifth set I tried to stay tough. It was a really difficult match. There was many up and downs, but I tried to [stay] calm.”
Nishikori has now faced five Top 10 players in his eight visits to Flushing Meadows, winning all five.
VERDICT: After a slow start, this was a fine performance and a fine win for Nishikori. At times in the fifth set you had to wonder if he really believed he could get over the line, but after he broke in the penultimate game and served out the win with ease, he had convincingly dispelled any concerns. It’s a stat that Nishikori doesn’t get much credit for, but he sits atop the all-time leaderboard for percentage of deciding sets won, with 78.9.
For Murray, it was a bitterly disappointing way to bring the curtain down on what has been a golden summer. “I could have won the match for sure,” he said. “But, you know, I have also won some over the last, you know, few months I should have lost. I have had a good run.” With 26 wins in his last 28 matches - including a Wimbledon title and an Olympic gold medal - it’s hard to disagree.
Karolina Pliskova d. Ana Konjuh 6-2, 6-2
In her 25th Grand Slam, Karolina Pliskova finally negotiated her way past the third round for the first time. Now she’s into the semi-final after a thoroughly efficient win over young Ana Konjuh, who was also playing in her first major quarter-final. Both big hitters, Konjuh didn’t look entirely comfortable on the biggest stage of her career, hitting 27 unforced errors in 57 fast minutes on Arthur Ashe. Bigger days lie ahead for Konjuh, an extremely talented 18-year-old, but for now Pliskova, with six more years of experience behind her, marches on.
VERDICT: With the Grand Slam hoodoo finally off her back, Pliskova has begun to play with a certain level of freedom. With one of the biggest serves on tour for company, she has blasted her way to a final four spot. Her match-up with Serena will make for an intriguing watch, with the serve, that all important point starter, central to the plot. If Pliskova can find her range and rhythm behind the first serve she will make things interesting, but a good serving day is a must.