US Open 2018: Time finally called for two past-gen greats on Day 8

Although both their respective records and the manner of their exits last night differ greatly, we see some parallels with Roger and Maria last night: the final signal of the beginning of the end.

The Swiss is no longer cheating the ravages of time and in a year that resembles 2013 in many ways despite a brief flourish here and there, he looks weary.

It was no shock to me that Federer would succomb to the excellent and comparatively youthful 29 year old John Millman. The Aussie had an answer for everything but crucially had venom of his own too. It was a Djokovic-esque performance mixing stunning defence with a devastating finishing move, usually in the shape of a lethal backhand planted in the corners.

The fact that Federer is very much a relic from the previous generation or two – so often forgotten by us all, such is his brilliance – has this year been all too apparent. Unless he calls time early, 2019 will be his last.

So the same can be said of Masha, who at 31 is hardly ancient by today’s standards, but then the age-defying Williams sisters and the Italians are not really representative of the normal pattern.

Like Roger, Sharapova’s game looks just that little bit slower, that little bit less advanced and less powerful than the tour average.

Last night, she had no answer for Carla Suarez-Navarro’s terrific shotmaking. Similar to Federer, when Maria tried to rally she was overcome by a more solid, patient and ultimately potent foe.

She has of course never really recovered from the time away from tour, the field now so strong and deep is a challenge too far for even her.

This may seem all-too melodramatic, but I invite someone to prove me otherwise.

What happened elsewhere on Day 8?

Keys blew away Domi and Djoko was far too strong for Sousa. The Serb looks very good for the title as I predicted.

Kei Nishikori overcame Philip Kohlschreiber with little fuss too, and Cilic slipped past Goffin after a tight first set breaker.

But we had a superb marathon battle as Naomi Osaka again performed on the biggest stage overcoming many pundits dark horse Sabalenka in three.

On a day when we effectively said goodbye to two greats of the past, this was an encouraging snapshot of the future.

Day 9 picks

DelPo Vs Isner (DelPo in 4)

Serena Vs Pliskova (Pliskova in 3)

Nadal Vs Thiem (Nadal in 4)

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