AND just like that, the dream is over.
Roger Federer’s bid for a perfect treble in 2017 came to an end on Thursday when he crashed out of the US Open.
His conquerer was Juan Martin del Potro, who has serious priors at Flushing Meadows.
It was the Argentine bruiser who stunned Federer in the 2009 final after turfing out Rafael Nadal in the semis.
This time he will look to do it in reverse when he tackles Rafa next up.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 7, 2017
The winner of that clash will go on to face either Kevin Anderson or Pablo Carreno Busta – the most unlikely of prospective finalists in a severely weakened draw.
Meanwhile, the usual slaughter of top seeds in the ladies’ section has morphed into a landmark moment in tennis history.
Triumph for the USA was assured when Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens, Coco Vandeweghe and Venus Williams all progressed to the last four.
They make the first all-American quartet in the US Open semis since Tracy Austin, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Barbara Potter in 1981.
The achievement is all the more remarkable because not one of those ladies is Serena Williams, who is at home with her newborn child.
Only two can reach the final, however, and it is our job to figure out who.
(Matches from 12am AEST Friday)
Venus Williams to win – $1.64
Coco Vandeweghe to win – $2.28
Rafael Nadal to win – $1.42
Kevin Anderson to win – $1.42
Sloane Stephens vs. Venus Williams (9)
Stephens – $2.25
Williams – $1.64
Both these ladies had to work hard for their place in the last four, but their form is irrefutable. Fit-again Stephens is looking a million bucks after a lengthy layoff with injury, while Williams is aiming at her third grand slam final for the year. The younger of the pair saluted when these two met at the 2015 French Open, but we reckon Venus has enough in the legs to square the ledger.
Madison Keys (15) vs. Coco Vandeweghe (20)
Keys – $1.63
Vandeweghe – $2.28
It has become plain as day that Vandeweghe is no longer satisfied with making up the numbers. She made the semis at the Australian Open, the quarters at Wimbledon and now has a red-hot chance at a maiden major final. The problem is that Keys has beaten her twice already this year, including in the Cincinnati lead-up event. But this is rarified air for the younger lady, so we are taking the odds on Coco.
Juan Martin del Potro (24) vs. Rafael Nadal (1)
Del Potro – $2.84
Nadal – $1.42
They say Federer is the greatest and Nadal is the greatest player of Federer, but is Del Potro the greatest player of Nadal? It is such a shame that these three were caught on the same side of an injury-hit draw. Big Juan Martin has beaten Rafa six times in 14 meetings and won their most recent bout at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Nevertheless, the elimination of Roger means this is now Nadal’s title to lose.
Kevin Anderson (28) vs. Pablo Carreno Busta (12)
Anderson – $1.42
Carreno Busta – $2.88
Respective rankings suggest it should be otherwise, but there is a good reason Anderson is so heavily favoured to win. These two met at the Canadian Open only a few weeks ago, and it was the lanky South African who triumphed on that occasion. Carreno Busta has enjoyed an absolute dream run at Flushing Meadows and is yet to drop a set, but all signs suggest that streak is about to end.
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