US Open 2020: Quarter Finals preview

As if 2020 hasn’t been a strange enough year already, so now does tennis inject it’s own cocktail of controversy and confusion.

The first major tournament amidst the pandemic had so far been notable for some ‘firsts’. There’s the unique atmosphere of a players’ Olympic village of sorts, with fans now replaced by the world’s elite munching on sushi whilst observing their peers. We’ve had performances undeniably affected by Covid testing, bubbles and the mental strain this whole thing can cause.

And, of course, there has been Djokovic’s default from the tournament in Round 4. The Serb had accidentally struck a line judge in the neck with a wayward ball after being broken in the first set. It was accidental and Novak – who seems determined to be THE headline-grabber of 2020 – shouldn’t be lambasted for this. We should instead collectively sigh at the familiar feigning injury and momentum-disrupting antics that preceded the incident.

Importantly, this will now guarantee us only a NINTH different men’s champion in the past 15 years.

Like any decent slam fortnight, we’ve had upsets aplenty and stirring comebacks too. Tsitsipas, Kvitova, Kerber, Keys and Kenin (K names?) all departed earlier than expected. We’ve seen impressive showings from the homegrown contingent, not least on two occasions from Serena Williams who looked down and out against the frustratingly inconsistent former champ Stephens.

So Serena looks like she could make history here, but with Azarenka, Osaka and a host of inspired Americans still kicking it will be no sure thing.

As mentioned, the men’s competition now feels refreshingly unpredictable. Zverev has looked very comfortable, Medvedev reached the final last year and Then is downing big names with ease. But Shapovalov is playing blistering stuff too, who knows?!

QF predictions

Shapovalov to beat Carreno Busta
Zverev to beat Coric
Medvedev to beat Rublev
Thiem to beat de Minaur

Putintseva to beat Brady
Rogers to beat Osaka
Serena to beat Pironkova
Azarenka to beat Mertens

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