You may be struggling to get your rhythm back after returning from a holiday weekend, but the action at the U.S. Open has refused to stop for even a moment.
The women's quarterfinals are set. Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova should now be the favorite to reach the final from the bottom half of the draw; however, she will have to overcome one of the game's new faces in Agnes Szavay, the Hungarian teen with a gorgeous two-handed backhand that Kuznetsova defeated (via a retirement) to win the Pilot Pen warm up title. Two other new talents will face off for a spot in the semis opposite Kuznetsova/Szavay, as the cunning Anna Chakvedatze meets Israeli backstop Shahar Peer.
Those battles will be nothing compared to matches in the top half of the women's draw.
Wimbledon queen Venus Williams will take on third-ranked Jelena Janokovic, a player who has beaten Venus by dramatic and narrow margins in their most recent encounters. More incredible still, all of these matches are overshadowed by the heavyweight bout between top-ranked Justine Henin, the French Open champ, and America's Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open in January. This is the third consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal between the two women, with Henin having won in Paris and London. They are likely the two best players of their generation, but Serena Williams is too good to lose to anybody three times in a row and she will be out to prove it. Many figure their quarterfinal to be the de facto women's championship match.
Not to be outdone, the men's draw boasts several great matches as well. Former world number two, the incredibly talented Tommy Haas, will try to continue his resurgence and defeat ATP Tour workhorse Nikolay Davydenko. When the men's round of 16 matches are completed, it's also likely that Novak Djokovic will have to face off against Carlos Moya, the veteran Spaniard who defeated him easily in the opening round of the Cincinnati Masters warm up tournament. The men's marquee quarterfinal pits the dominant Roger Federer against America's Andy Roddick, a former champion who wants nothing more than to prove he belongs in Federer's company. Interestingly enough, neither man's play has been 100% convincing leading into the contest, although Federer does own a 13-1 career record against A-Rod.
Yes, Labor Day may have come and gone, but the players remaining in the U.S. Open are about to have to work harder than ever! --Wyman Meers