As the second week of the U.S. Open gets underway in NYC on this holiday Monday, many intriguing stories have developed. However, Serena Williams and her chase of the Calendar Grand Slam remains THE story. It has taken a turn that if pitched to the most creative writer in Hollywood, even he or she wouldn’t believe.
It is not so much that Serena and her big sister Venus are meeting yet again on one of the biggest stages in the sport, in this case a Grand Slam quarterfinal. It is all the subplots that make this so unbelievable. Mainly the fact the Venus may be the only one left with a real shot at stopping Serena’s race to tennis immortality. Imagine for a moment if the player to deny Serena the Calendar Grand Slam and tying Steffi Graf’s 22 majors is her sister… Awkward. Also, with both well into their 30s now, who knows how many more times we will see these sisters do battle. Serena has had two tough battles to get here, Venus has coasted. Serena took a set and a half to get going in the third round against Bethanie Mattek-Sands. If she comes out flat tomorrow night, she is toast. This really is too close to call. It is always difficult for Serena, Venus, and the fans when they play. However, given what is on the line, this will be torture. I would like to think this is a match no one wants to see, at least from a human perspective. It all happens tomorrow night 7 ET on ESPN2.
On the men’s side most of the usual suspects still have a shot at this title. Federer has looked the best to this point, not dropping a set. Djokovic and Murray have each had minor scares. In fact, Murray is working his way into quite a hole against big serving South African Kevin Anderson as I type this. Defending champ and 9th seed Marin Cilic has done well to reach the last 8, but plays Djokovic next. I see no issues for the top ranked Serb on his way to another U.S. Open final. Federer will likely be the opposition, but powerful American John Isner cannot be taken lightly by the Swiss master tonight. French Open champion Stan Wawrinka and streaky Frenchman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga are both still in the draw and have a shot if they can catch lightning in a bottle on the right day.
Other week 1 stories have included the dismissal of seven of the top ten ladies seeds before round three, a shocking third round collapse by 14 time major winner Rafael Nadal, another dramatic and unfortunate turn in the twisted tale of Eugenie Bouchard that will get its own blog post later this week, and a slew of mid match retirements due to heat illness. Happy Labor Day to all and enjoy all the action from NYC as it continues to unfold each day/night on ESPN family of networks.